Yeah, so, trying to avoid any weird-ass AI censorship with that title. LOL
How are y’all? It’s been a minnit and I apologize profusely. The truth is, this whole pandemic shit has basically wiped writing off the face of my earth, because guess what? Life gets in the way.
During this pandemic, I have been taking care of some elderly relatives in addition to myself, and our world shrank to a microcosm during pre-vax lockdowns. I’m in the States, and some jerkwad state governments have loosened restrictions this year, which means a tidal wave of the unvaxxed amidst Delta variant creating problems for those of us who are vaxxed and who, like me, are still living like we’re in lockdown. I’m masking when I have to go out and still social distancing because I don’t want to bring cooties home to the older folx, you dig? Even though we’re all vaxxed.
And let’s just clear this up now — just because you’re vaxxed (hopefully) doesn’t mean you still can’t get COVID. The difference is, the vax will hopefully decrease your symptoms and keep the majority of the vaxxed out of the hospital, and that’s a primary purpose, is to free up hospitals/healthcare resources and hospital workers so they’re not burning out/dying.
Getting a vax is community love. Continuing to mask is also community love. It shows that you care, and that you don’t want to spread cooties to your community and friends and family.
A lot of my fellow writers have confided to me that they’re experiencing writers’ block and other issues with regard to writing, and they’ve been experiencing this since lockdowns and, between you and me, the anxiety engendered by the previous US administration.
Y’all, that’s legit. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not able to write. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not able to deal with all the apocalyptic bullshit going on and you just can’t do X, Y, Z or whatever. That’s fine. Say no to loading your plate. Set your boundaries. If you are a creator and you’re having trouble creating, it’s okay. Everything has been a hot mess for months (who are we kidding–centuries), and in this country, at least, we’ve all seen the cracks in our infrastructure and the systemic inequity undermining everything. We’re also seeing a surge of anti-rights movements and people who have no problem resorting to violence against their fellow travelers to get whatever weird conspiracy-addled crap they want.
So be gentle and kind to yourself as you start navigating this new world. Because the truth is, the pandemic is not over and COVID is not going to go away. It’s another disease that we will have to learn to live with, and until we have managed to build up natural immunity as a species, we need to be careful and protect ourselves and others. We are not ever going to go back to pre-COVID life. And that’s not entirely a bad thing.
Here’s what I’ve been doing to get the creative coffee percolating:
- Reading. I’ve been reading a fuck-ton of fiction, including nutty Florida stories by Carl Hiaasen; another Florida thriller writer Randy Wayne White; a historical mystery series set in New York City by Victoria Thompson; a translated dark Swedish thriller by Stefan Ahnhem; the new Star Wars novels in the new ‘verse, and lots of nonfiction, including Lillian Faderman’s The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. I pretty much read every day, now, and it not only provides an escape, but also inspiration.
- Watch some TV. Go ahead. If you can, binge watch your guilty pleasures. I’ve been watching the Brokenwood mysteries on Acorn TV and Murder, She Wrote on Peacock. I find that watching stuff I enjoy helps me unwind and also inspires me to create.
- Work out. I have a regular workout regimen, so I work out 4-6 days a week via workout programs on TeamBodyProject.com. But it doesn’t have to be that way; if you take a mile walk every day, you’re getting good exercise and it helps clear your head. Just be careful out there and always carry a mask. 🙂
- Garden. This is something I picked up during the pandemic and it brings me a lot of joy and peace to be working with plants. I have flowers and veggie plants, now, and I find that working with them and learning more about how to be a better cultivator is really meditative.
- Doing jigsaw puzzles. By hand. Over the past year I’ve worked dozens of these on an old card table. I really like the thousand-piecers for a challenge. I do landscape images, seascapes, and Americana. It’s really relaxing and meditative for me.
- Therapy. Yeah, I said it. I’m in therapy (again — I’ve done therapy quite a few times during my life). I started back up last year because I realized I needed some extra help on working some shit out, and I am a huge proponent of therapy. Just make sure you find the right therapist for you, within your means.
- Podcasts. JFC, people. I’m a podcast addict. I listen to several true crime podcasts but also this great oral history podcast called Making Gay History. And I listen to some excellent news podcasts including In The Thick (news from a POC perspective). Stay away from news channels. All kinds. And do NOT get your news from social media. Podcasts, legit blogsites, and newspapers (indie and LA Times enewspapers) are, I’ve found, the best way for me to stay informed and absorb information and mull it over without the constant bombardment of reality-show news. That shit is designed to fill you with fear and dread, which contributes to the divisiveness around us. So remove yourself.
Those are a few of the things I’m doing and you know what? I actually am writing again. I’ll be posting some fanfic soon and I’m finishing up expanding a short story into a novella that I hope to publish soon. It’s different — YA teen detective kinda stuff.
So, yeah. There’s a lot of horrible shit going on, and you are totally legit in not feeling very creative if that’s where you are. But try to find a little bit of joy in each day, and remember to be kind to yourself and others. There seems to be a dearth of that.
Love and peace! And I think I’m gonna make this blog shit a regular thing again. MUAH!