Yeah, I was gonna do this whole COVID Diaries thing, wasn’t I? If you’re a writer who knows you’re living though history, it would be a good idea to capture some of that daily history along the way, am I right? ESPECIALLY if you’re a blogger who kinda specializes in doing lightweight socio-cultural analysis.
(Here’s the place where I’d usually hit the “read more” command to put the rest of this post behind the jump.* Of course, I can’t find that command in the new editor, nor can I find a way to get back to the classic editor. 2020, why you gotta do me like this? I am seriously gonna step away for a bit to regain my composure before continuing.)
Okay, I haven’t yet found the “read more” tag in the new editor, but I did find my way back to the antiquated editing layout.** So here we are.
So, yeah, I had some sort of best intentions about documenting the history in process I’m living through these days. And yet. No blogging since May, and I haven’t written anything in my private journal since June.
The clearest thing I can say about my silence is that I found myself pretty well maxed out just trying to get through the days, this past spring, summer and fall. So many of these big-picture trends have had direct expressions and impact in my little little life.
Our company did some belt-tightening early in the pandemic and laid off some department colleagues, so I’ve had a bit more water to carry at the office. The shift to emergency remote learning also just upped the intensity at work for all of us at my non-profit—something that shows no sign of slowing down, 8 months in. The resurgence of public awareness for #BlackLivesMatter after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery dovetailed with efforts in my company and my family to do better in being anti-racist. And, by the way, my company’s commitment to justice almost got us investigated when Trump went off on his incoherent crusade against “critical race theory.” So yeah: there’s been a lot.
(There’s also been a couple other life events that are less connected to these Big News Trends of the day. As such, I’m leaving them out of tonight’s post whilst acknowledging in passing that they’ve had their own impact on my writing life. Another story for another day.)
What all this shakes out to is that I’ve been working long hours for the job, and that effort on its own has been pretty much emptying my gas tank. Evenings and weekends have been a lot more about self-preservation than much else. The escapism of watching TV—we’re almost all the way through re-watching the MCU films. The self-soothing of reading—whether Shakespeare 2020, more catching up from my missed 2019 goals, or reading about current events.***
Also, full disclosure: a hell of a lot of sleeping. That’s one of the primary flavors of my case of depression—sleeping longer in the morning, wanting naps in the evening, sometimes sleeping away much of a Saturday to recover from the work week. So I’ve pretty much been giving myself free rein on the sleeping thing of late. I figure we’re all living through some intense cultural trauma right now, so if I need some extra sleep, I need some extra sleep.
All in all, this sound like a nice airtight case for “of course I haven’t been doing any writing!” And if I was really 100% cool with that in my heart of hearts, then that silence would be peachy keen.
But the true truth is that I’ve been feeling stifled in the last few weeks. Late September, mid-October? I’m not exactly sure when it started, but I’ve been looking at my journal a lot in the last few weeks. Wanting to form words, wanting to express myself: but feeling like the window had closed on any aspirations I might have had to capture history in the making.
But then two things happened today.
One was us talking about the different creative ways our friends and families had delivered candy to trick-or-treaters yesterday, including the now-famous candy slide. And my MIL mentioned that it was exactly these sorts of details that we should be writing down for the future.
Second was my dear friend Hannah letting our friend circle know that she’d started her own blog.
Those two things happening together put me in a different feeling-space. Like maybe I haven’t completely missed the window to write about history in the making. And even if I’m rehashing topics others have written about, my perspective is still going to be unique and worthwhile.****
And in an even more basic, inarticulate way, it came down to this. If my Hannah can be brave and write, then I can too.
* Hmmm: I’d thought this was a common phrase, but I can’t find a single site to link to that uses the term in a writing/blogging context. Guess I made up my own secret language without knowing it.
** Yes, I’m old. #GetOffMyLawn
*** I was all-in on Trump exposes and anti-racist books for spring and summer. I’ve backed off temporarily, but will certainly be back in my social justice bookshelf before too long.
Image credit: Photo taken by the author, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.