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The Literary Corner: Renegade Writers Guild

Grateful

By Linda H. Barnette

What a perfect topic for 2020.  With the upcoming contentious presidential election and the COVID-19 happening at the same time, this is the true “annus horribilis’ that Queen Elizabeth might have meant in her 1992 speech to Parliament. Although we all probably have personal situations that fit those words, the virus is a situation that affects the entire world.

Even though I remember the polio quarantines of the 1940s, life was simpler then, so the quarantine was not such a big deal because we were not out and about like people are today.  Of course, a vaccine was soon available, and all of the school kids lined up for a pop from Mrs. Rachel Stroud, our local health department nurse.  As far as I know, there was only one case of polio in Mocksville.

Now, however, life is much more complex, and we all miss doing the things we love, such as going to church, club meetings, dinner with friends, vacations, and many more. This particular virus is highly contagious, and it appears that we will have to live with this way until a safe vaccine is developed.

As for the election, I have never seen anything like it.  Television ads are non-stop, and they are brutal. I believe that this situation is unique in our history. I am old enough that the first president I ever voted for was John F. Kennedy.  Now I just want this one to be over with.

Yet even with all of these situations, I find that there is still much to be grateful for, such as life itself, family, friends, health, faith, modern technology that allows us to keep in touch with others, great books, classical music, food, medical care, and much more. I am so happy to have hobbies that allow me to use my time well—writing and genealogy are gifts that I cherish, especially having lost my voice. I am especially grateful for my Kindle, which has allowed me to keep reading during these months of isolation!!  And I said that I liked to hold a real book.

I do believe that God is in charge of everything, and I recall in the Bible that when his people went away from Him, He sometimes caused them to experience bad times so that they might return to him.  Even now He is giving us another opportunity.

Escaping the Stuck

By Kevin F. Wishon

Getting stuck really stinks. Whether it occurs in a tree or the crawlspace of a house, it doesn’t matter. It all stinks. The feelings of frustration and helplessness tear at your nerves as they scream within you to wrench yourself free. Still, the fear of injury holds you back. Despite the strong likelihood of escape, your mind reacts as though it is life and death. The part of the brain that influences this reaction is called the amygdala. It is responsible for the fight or flight emotions we experience under stress. Thankfully, most of these situations end in escape or rescue after a short time, but what about being mentally stuck for long periods?

Often, we know when we need to make a change. Whether it’s a taxing job, an unhealthy relationship, or ugly wallpaper, you know what needs to happen. However, there are times in our lives when we feel something needs to change, but we aren’t sure what it is. This situation is problematic, because as time goes on, the amygdala responds to this issue as though it’s a physical problem. Unlike the job, relationship, or wallpaper, the solution isn’t always as straightforward.

The root causes of mentally feeling stuck are more than I can list here. The issue can revolve around the need for a creative outlet or difficulties with getting motivated. Sometimes we desire more variety in our lives or interactions with people to resolve our feelings of stagnancy or loneliness. Whatever the cause, if it’s not apparent, then how does an individual deal with being stuck?

These four tips may help you shake the stuck feeling but aren’t necessarily the only things you can do. Try several sessions of controlled breathing while meditating to quiet the mind. The answer to why you are stuck may come to you in your stillness. Another option is to ask for help. If you are having trouble getting motivated, find someone to hold you accountable with daily texts or phone calls to keep you inspired. Another option is volunteering. Volunteering encourages you to meet new people and take on meaningful tasks, which bestow a sense of worth. Lastly, another option is the one percent technique of change. Begin by steadily making small changes or improvements in your habits, home, or routines until the stuck feeling eases. Shortly, using one or more of these tips, you may find that you feel less stuck, or better, it’s vanished.

Clearly, I can’t cover everything that may have us stuck in life in this writing. Furthermore, certain problems that have us stuck can be complex, requiring far more help than these four tips can offer. Yet, for the everyday feeling of stuck, give one or more of these tips a try. No one should feel mentally stuck for too long. Life is far too short for that.

RWG Literary Corner

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