Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Keeping sane in an insane world, by Saviour Pirotta

I was hoping to post about my new play at the Stephen Joseph Theatre this month but as all theatres are currently dark, there's not much point. My version of Little Red Riding Hood will take to the boards at some point. Meanwhile, I am self-isolating. Three weeks of school visits for wbd plus a weekend literary festival had left me exhausted and with a wracking cough. Two weeks later I am, thankfully, right as rain but have decided to stay indoors for the foreseeable future.

But how to keep sane in this scary new world? As a single person, I am constantly out and about with my notebooks and laptop. One of the reasons I moved to Scarborough nearly four years ago was the abundance of seafront cafes. I always start a new project in one of them. It's not only the view and the coffee that I find invigorating and inspiring; it's the interaction with baristas and cafe owners some of whom I now count as friends.  Since my play Granny's Exploding Toilet played to packed houses last year, I am recognised on the streets and the glow of conversation in shops and on the beach often see me through the many silent hours at home.

The only way to beat the isolation, I decided, is to keep in touch with people through social media (now if I can only convince my octogenarian parents in Malta to get SKYPE), and to keep busy as much as possible. I've made a to-do list and I'm going to try and stick with it. I shall come out of this frightening experience both empowered and more focused. Here's the list.

Being freelance, I've always plumped for the jobs that had the best chance of coming true. Now's the time to tackle a longer-term project that needs all my attention.

I've always been a cook. I love messing around in the kitchen although I hate the washing up. As my career took on more and more of my time, though, I learnt to rely on ready cooked meals and takeaways. That's going to change. I've made a list of favourite dishes eaten on holiday, and I'm going to learn to recreate them. I've already mastered the delicious split pea soup I had on tap in Istanbul. Tonight it's the prawn Saganaki from Corfu. Hopefully, I'll carry this newfound enthusiasm for healthy eating to the times when I can pop over to Sainsbury's at the drop of a hat again.


I'm lucky to have a garden. There's not been much time to look after it since I've moved in but this year I'm going to try and grow flowers and vegetables from seed. I've planted a buddleia too, which should attract a lot of butterflies.

I started reading this forty years ago on a train from Paris to Munich. Somehow, I left my copy on the train and I've never had the time to get back to it. Now's the perfect opportunity.

So, I'm aiming to read and write more, listen to music, cook and bake and garden. Let's all share the fruits of our self-isolating endeavours online. As the Italian proverb says, 'canta che ti passa'. Sing and it'll pass.


LynnHC said...

Sounds like great plans are afoot :)

Saviour Pirotta said...

Thanks, Lynn. I'm hunkering down as they say in the USA.

Stroppy Author said...

Thanks, Saviour, and good wishes to you. I'm doing the much same here. Also, as a single person, I usually work out of the house and it will be odd speaking to no one at all. But we have social media to keep us in touch. Enjoy your garden and food x

Enid Richemont said...

Will do a final (umpteenth!) edit on my perennial adult novel, and maybe this time self-publish it. Scarborough links to a close friend's family - two delightful grandchildren she won't be able to touch/hug for quite a while. Never known North London to be so quiet - I could set up a picnic in the middle of my main road!

Saviour Pirotta said...

Thanks, Stroppy Author. Can't wait for when I can cafe-hop again.

Saviour Pirotta said...

Enid, the idea of having a picnic in the middle of a road sounds like the beginning of a very good story. Good luck with your adult novel.

Moira Butterfield said...

That cooking sound yummy, Saviour. So share recipes online if you fancy! My grown-up son is back with us - feel a bit sorry for him forcibly back with Mum and Dad - but he went out on his 'one walk' today and came back with a bag of wild garlic leaves. Made them into pesto. He can stay!

Sue Purkiss said...

Good luck with all that - especially War and Peace - now there's a challenge! Love the sound of the seafront coffee shops. I really miss going out for a coffee.