I’ve been calling myself a writer for the last several years so I guess that means that when the apocalypse hits I’m supposed to be writing. Newsflash, I haven’t been. Once I finished my book last April, I had to take a break for awhile. Then that break turned into a year. I’ve written a few poems since then, some essays here and there, even started a couple different short stories, but sitting down in front of this screen on a daily basis has not happened for a long, long time. Not that I think you have to write every single day to call yourself a writer, but at this point I’ve definitely been treating it like more of a hobby than a calling.
And calling is a tricky word, too. I used to think I had a story to tell, that it was my duty to tell it, that somehow my telling would help me, as well as others who read it. I guess I still think that to an extent, but I did my part. I told my story, but I haven’t been able to get it to too many people to read, so I can’t say for sure that it’s helped anyone besides me. And that’s discouraging. But it did help me. That much I do know, and I’m thankful for it. I need to keep reminding myself of that. So now, what do I do?
I guess I start recording the days as they go by. God, that’s a terrifying sentence to publish. Because I am notorious for not doing that. The most I’ve ever posted on any site has been, what, three times a week? And that was very short lived. A couple years ago I committed to write 500 words a day for a month, and I couldn’t even do that right. I cheated at least three times, if not more. But here I am whining, right in the middle of a freaking global pandemic. Could I be any more self-absorbed?
This morning John sent our 17 year old out to pick up sausage biscuits from McDonald’s for breakfast. Because he just really wanted one. It was really good, but I forced myself to not eat all of the biscuit. Because those things are full of grease, and I’m trying to eat healthy right now. I mean I’ve been trying to do that for several months, and exercise; but this forced confinement with four other people just makes you wanna eat chocolate donuts and watch Gilmore Girls twenty-four-seven.
But I must say that I’m thankful for the break in bad weather. It’s day three of sunshine and pleasant temps here in east Tennessee, and it sure does help to be able to go sit out on the deck for a while, or take a good long walk around the neighborhood. Of course all the Spring blooming irritates my sinuses, which constantly makes me think I’m coming down with the big bad virus, but I’m trying to ignore that particular brain siren whenever it wails.
Which is what this whole thing feels like honestly, a constant battle to stay sane, and it takes all of my faculties, and I’m so, so tired all the time. Whenever I get online it wears me out. Whenever I try to absorb the latest data I become terrified. Whenever I talk to people I worry about them, and whenever I do nothing, or try to relax for a little bit, I feel guilty for not actually doing anything. Ugh! It’s enough to drive you to drinking, or doing something else really stupid. Like share your honest feelings on a website with your real name at the top.
But this is where I’m at today, folks. Even though I know I’ve got it easy, comparatively speaking. I know that there are thousands upon thousands of refugees out there--sleeping in makeshift housing, or even living on the lam--who still have to worry about this virus. I know people who lost their homes the week before this crisis hit. I have friends who are dealing with chemo, or very sick children, on top of all this. I know that my particular baggage is not all that heavy right now, and yet my arms are still tired from carrying it for the past two weeks.
So I guess the main point of this post is to tell you that if you feel like me today, you're not alone. Even though it might feel like it. And as cheesy and unhelpful as it might sound right now, I encourage you to look out the window. Lift your eyes up to the hills. That's where your help comes from. Even if it's rainy and grey and you can't see any hills where you are. Your help is still out there. Even if the peace only lasts for a minute or two. You can keep going back to that well as often as you need to. And perhaps we'll all meet each other there someday.