Don’t give up, this is not forever. Interestingly, this was the opening line to a song that came on just as I began to type this piece. Today has been a long day of contemplation as messages came in from friends who are beginning to tire of our lockdown and evening curfew, which is about to mark three months in Morocco.
In the papers this afternoon it was suggested that perhaps, and I note I am writing a speculative ‘perhaps’ as its not confirmed, we will enter another three weeks of curfew when the next announcement about our lockdown situation is made next week, on the 10th of June.
We can only hope that things will ease as time passes, and it is heartening to see little roller doors half up as shop owners and café proprietors ‘check’ their businesses each day. A clever way, it would seem, to make a quick dirham just in case someone ‘happens’ upon their open door.
As I walked home from the weavers early one morning this week, the man who runs the café downstairs almost fell out of his half open door waving madly as he shouted ‘Good Afternoon Madame!’ which I loved because it was 10am on a Tuesday morning. He was quick to let me know he was very well (I love this about my neighbours I don’t even have to ask how they are, they’re quick to tell me) and would I like a coffee?
I waved a big hello and suggested I’d better keep moving because I had a full day ahead.
When we first went into lockdown on about March the 16th, I spoke to my friend Jane Webster in Normandy. France had entered into a state of health emergency at almost the same time as Morocco, and as we sipped on a gin and tonic over WhatsApp we came to a conclusion that this would pass, just as all things do.
‘Shall we write to each other each day – little 500 word postcards from Tangier to Normandy to pass the time?’ we mused as we hung up, and so began our daily 500 words.
Not a day passed when one didn’t write to the other – we agreed this wasn’t to be ‘dear diary,’ we just wrote. As France emerged from her lockdown on about May the 10th, six weeks after we’d started our daily writings, Jane wrote, ‘Pin, I think we should keep going, I’d really miss this,’ to which I quite agreed, and Morocco had just extended it’s lockdown for a further month. I wasn’t going anywhere, and I too would have missed it if we’d stopped.
Three months have passed, and we now have over 100,000 words and counting.
Jane always writes in the morning and I usually respond in the afternoon. Some nights I sit up late and I write my 500 words in the dim light of my kitchen just as the city turns in for her nightly slumber.
No matter what, we write. There have been days where one is having a bad day or a slow day, and the other will respond with an account of a situation from long ago which sees us laughing quite hysterically when we catch up for our 5pm gin and tonic, every single Tuesday.
Like our daily 500, this is also a firm fixture in the diary and not to be missed.
Writing daily has long been a passion of mine and for those of you who have subscribed to this blog from day one, will remember that I used to post a piece every day when I was living in Paris. Sometimes I read over those writings of a more frequent nature and see that similar themes have reappeared in my writing to Jane.
During one of our recent ‘on screen’ catch ups, Jane and I decided to write a book about our daily writing process. We’ve beavered away day and night since that conversation and launched the ebook on Instagram last week. This is one of the most exciting things to have come out of my time in confinement which looks set to never end!
The two of us quite often discuss how this daily exercise (in the absence of actually being able to go out and do too much) has been beneficial during a time where we are both a long way from our families and many of our friends. Whilst I didn’t have immediate plans to return home to Australia having travelled back just before Christmas last year, it is strange to think that we can’t just jump on a plane as we once could.
Now, in these more simple times, we focus on the day that I might be able to travel to see Jane in Normandy and she and her husband Pete, will hopefully one day visit Tangier.
If you’re reading this and you feel that you have someone in mind you’d like to write to on a daily basis, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and order our new ebook which is a detailed guide full of handy tips for daily writing.
Whilst nothing is forever, just as the opening line of the song that launched me into the is piece of writing reminded me, I hope that Jane and I will continue to write to each other each day until we’re grey and old.
It’s the most cathartic thing this keen over thinker who loves to talk to herself, has ever done.
Pictured: the sun bouncing over a neighbouring flat at sunset tonight.