It was the Summer of Lockdown here at Chez Greenfield. And it looks like it’s going to be the Autumn of Lockdown, too. Technically, we’re still allowed to gather in groups of up to six, but if you have a wonky immune system, as I do, it seems wiser to stick close to home.
Here’s what I’ve been doing to keep myself from climbing the walls:
Walks. Lots of them. Mostly through local fields. I thought I knew this area pretty well before, but I truly had a lot to learn. Now I know where the skylarks sing, and where to find the best damsons and sloes, and where the wild orchids grow. I’ve even learned where the rabbits play tag at dawn.
Reading. War & Peace is one of those books I always said I’d read when I had more time. And then lockdown rolled around, and it was time to put up or shut up. So I buckled down and read at least 15 pages a day, and I’m glad I did, because it was terrific. I even liked the parts where Tolstoy bangs on about the nature of history. I know they bore lots of other readers, but I’m always up for a good discussion about history and how we tell it.
Now I’m reading Kelly McCaughrain’s Flying Lessons for Flightless Birds. Also terrific, in a completely different way. It’s graceful and raw and funny, with impeccable timing. (And there’s even some history in it, too—about trapeze artists and circuses and the Flying Wallendas.)
Writing. Early on, I went over proofs for RA #3, The Crocodile Caper, which comes out in November. But otherwise it was all Elizebeth, all the time. Elizebeth being the subject of my next book, The Woman All Spies Fear. Elizebeth Smith Friedman was a brilliant code breaker who solved mysteries, fought gangsters, and helped win two world wars—while also raising a family, fighting for women’s rights, and dealing with the duplicity of J. Edgar Hoover. Talk about a trail blazer! Writing about her life been a wonderful ride, and I’m glad it’s not quite over yet. I’m now doing photo research for the book and waiting for copyedits to come through.
Going gray: It’s been nearly a year since I last saw a hairdresser, and it dawned on me a while ago that it could be another year till I see one again. So I’ve been letting my hair do whatever it wants to do. And that’s meant letting it go gray.
Years ago, when those silver threads started showing up, people told me that I should do something about it. You don’t want to go gray at your age, they said. I took their advice, and I know they meant it well. But lockdown gave me the time and space to rethink this. And you know what? I like those silver streaks. So I cut everything back, and this is me now:
Chalk it up as another lockdown discovery.