Anna Solomon’s Quarantine Routine

A sidelined novelist copes with deadlines, dread and family in quarantine

By Anna Solomon

The Times asked authors to track what they do in isolation. Anna Solomon tries to manage the COVID-challenged rollout of her third novel, “The Book of V.,” builds a raft inspired by “Treasure Island,” dances to Lizzo and works on a new novel with a little help from Flaubert.

Tuesday, April 7

My alarm clock pings at 6:30. Part of me can’t believe I’m doing this to myself, but I’ve got two kids, freelance work, and a novel that will launch in a month, and it will be a struggle to write with sustained focus later. I write until 8, when I transition into helping my son make a schedule for his day. My husband helps our older daughter with hers, and then away we go.

At 9 I’m with my son as he signs into this morning’s Zoom with his second-grade class. He can do it himself, except not really. He “leaves” the room, ostensibly by accident. So I check the day’s first emails while listening to his teacher. She reads poems, talks about red-winged blackbirds and asks the kids what emotions they’re feeling today. I manage a couple responses before the call is over and my son and I head outside.

We left our apartment in New York City almost a month ago for Cape Ann, Mass., where I grew up — a fraught choice but one that’s given us more space and brought us closer to my family. Our plan today is to build a raft. The idea is inspired by “Treasure Island,” which my mother and her husband have been reading to my son over FaceTime. As we gather sticks, I remind myself to feel the sun, feel your health, watch your son as he runs. I also worry about deer ticks — I found one behind his ear last night — and my mind wanders to my computer, which I long to be hunched over, attending to myriad tasks large and small. Read the full piece at The L.A. Times.

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