Wednesday 27 May 2020

In a virtual world

Many organisations are showing remarkable ingenuity in presenting events that would have been live, in alternative forms. In the last week I've been to the Hay Festival and the the Chelsea Flower Show. I've never been to the former IRL, although I've been a regular at the latter - so virtual life can provide experiences that you would not otherwise get. In Zoom get-togethers too I have connected with friends who can only rarely attend normally, because of distance. I'm looking forward to a Romantic Novelists' virtual conference too in July. 

Those are the plus points - but of course there are losses in staying at home, notably in the three senses of taste, smell and touch. At the moment I have vases of flocks and roses that are providing scent, and jasmine in the garden and the honeysuckle is about to bloom. The scents are lovely. Taste comes by way of whatever meals I can concoct with whatever arrives in the spasmodic deliveries - which presents an interesting challenge. M&S are much fonder of bananas that I am, and there are many many bananas in my fruit box, but it is worth it, as I don't have to carry heavy stuff from the weekly supermarket raid and can buy the other heavy stuff, like porridge. I've found I like bananas cooked. I'm currently contemplating
what I might be able to do with a squash. Touch is okay, as long as it is not human, which is rather sad.  My pink unicorn gets a lot of cuddles. If I had a cat, the poor thing would probably be bald. But it can also encompass the feel of sunshine on skin, the softness of fallen rose petals and the crispness of a cotton sheet.

Writers are told to remember the senses, and I always take care to ensure that I have that covered, for the reader, but also for me. It's part of my enjoyment too. At the moment, writing about the South of France, I have lots of scope for all the senses. It's different kind of virtual reality - the one that goes on in the writer and reader's heads.

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