By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
Who would have thought a captivating read during these trying days of lockdown living would have been a book about lockdown living. I mean, after trying to live with this for weeks, shouldn’t that be the last thing one would want to do?
But that’s exactly what New Zealander Laura Bruce has accomplished with Lockdown Living: 101 Ways to Stay Positive During the Pandemic.
Bruce, a former Welland girl (love that hometown connection, a little more about it later) has written a breezy, lighthearted, idea-laden, project-pregnant 128-page book that has me asking: ‘Now why didn’t I think of that? I might not be feeling lower than a rattlesnake in a wagon wheel rut right about now.’
I considered doing a long, long-distance interview with the Christchurch resident, but a media release she sent along is so polished and media friendly it provided just about everything I wanted to know. A writer and public relations consultant, Bruce probably wrote it herself.
One sentence, “From encouraging readers to pick up the musical instrument leaning in the corner of their living room, to tidying the junk drawer, and from developing material for a stand-up comedy debut, to having “locktails” with friends via Zoom, the book has something for everyone,” shows the rich diversity of Bruce’s ideas to be found between the covers.
Her 101 “tips, tasks and tactics” will keep readers “physically active and mentally agile,” according to the release. And based on what I’ve read, I have to agree.
Bruce, who wrote the book during her first three weeks in lockdown, hopes its content will get readers “over the hump”, keeping them “engaged and positive until we get back to some semblance of normalcy.”
As for the local connection referred to earlier, Bruce was born in the Rose City and attended St. Mary elementary school and Notre Dame College School. She describes herself as “the youngest, and funniest, in a family of eight.”
Her bio also says she studied at McGill University, Montreal and graduated from Brock University. She was President of the Niagara Symphony from 1998 – 2001, including during its 50th anniversary celebrations and worked as a teaching assistant and seminar leader in the Communications Studies program at Brock.
Her first job in PR was a job share at St Catharines Museum in September 1994.
Bruce joined OEB International in St. Catharines as a Consultant in 1995, was promoted to Senior Consultant in 1998, and worked there until 2002 when she emigrated to Northern Ireland. She founded her own firm in Belfast in 2006, then moved to New Zealand last year. Prior to the lockdown, she was performing stand-up comedy almost nightly.
According to the media release, Bruce is donating $1 from the sale of each book to women’s shelters: “Being in lockdown is bad enough if you’re in a happy relationship. I can’t imagine what some families are going through, stuck inside with a violent or abusive partner.”
Lockdown Living is available from Amazon in Canada as a Kindle or e-book. Bruce is looking forward to receiving the hard copies in New Zealand once international shipping resumes.
I have a shortlist of favourite tips, tasks and tactics but, save for one, won’t spill the beans about them here. The ‘one’ is number 29 in Bruce’s list of 101, titled Daydream. It’s amazing.
Bruce writes: “When you were a kid, you daydreamed. When I was a kid, I daydreamed. I believe that the daydreaming we did as kids was the early version of the visualising many of us do now. Because what is a visualisation other than a positive construction of the future we would hope to experience? I believe that all our accomplishments, all our best achievements – these things are born in visualisation. That is where the seed of success is sown. Sorting and sifting an infinite number of variables to create the ideal outcome. So get daydreaming. Think about the future you would like to have. Think about the next trip you would like to take. Think about the person you would like to marry. It all starts with daydreaming.”
Now why didn’t I think of that?
Nice work, Laura Bruce.