Every day, at the moment, is an exercise in gratitude. I’m an introvert, so I’ve always felt immensely lucky that my career and interests allow me to work from home. So staying at home is what I do most of the time anyway.

My income comes from books, which accessible both electronically and via online shopping. The cancelled publicity trip may mean less books are sold that would have been otherwise, but my income won’t be too badly affected. And people may even buy more books than usual, too.

Australia has a good health care system. I’m not in the most at-risk demographic, though my parents definitely are. I’m currently reasonably healthy… well, apart from some bad sinusitis and asthma lately – so I’m reasonably confident that I would be okay if we caught the virus. Same for Paul.

And yet, I am exhausted.

Sleep is either elusive or doesn’t refresh. I worry about family, friends, acquaintances, local business people, the disadvantaged, the disabled, this country, other countries, people in general, and, ultimately, the planet.

A friend reposted an article on Facebook (so, of course, I can’t find it now) about why people who suddenly have lots of time to be creative are finding they lack drive or focus or energy. The reason, if I interpreted it right, was that people are in survival mode. The brain is alert and watchful, and has turned auto-pilot turned off. Everything requires concentration and attention, like getting into a car and needing to think about every step of driving.

It seemed like a good explanation of where my brain is at. The article recommended being kind to yourself and doing simple and repetitive tasks for now. Well, I had already decided to haul a giant bag of flannelette scraps I bought at a destash into the kitchen and start sorting them, and I realised this was the perfect task to tackle.

The scraps were all in bundles.

First I untied them and sorted the scraps into piles based on size. I needed long pieces to weave into rag rugs. The small pieces could be turned into a rya rug, but I’m hesitating to do another as it was a very slow process. The middle size is the ‘maybe’ one and the long pieces should be fine for rag weaving. A sewing friend dropped by with two handmade face masks for me, so I showed her what I was doing and she said she could use the small scraps to make pet beds, so they won’t go to waste.

I sorted the longer pieces into colour families and/or possible combinations for rugs. The bag in front is a normal sized striped bag, and is full to the top of the small scraps.

And now I’ve started cutting the scraps into strips.

All this seems to be having the desired effect, as I’m a bit more relaxed and slept a little better the last two nights. It’s certainly easier on my back than all the gardening I’ve been doing! I feel like I’m getting something done, but it’s not mentally taxing. And I always enjoy designing with colour.

I hope you are all well and coping in this extraordinary moment in history. We are, essentially, in the midst of a global natural disaster, but we are an intelligent species (though it might not seem so sometimes!) and we will not just survive, but hopefully outwit it in the long run.