This is my second attempt at writing this post.
The first one… well, I fear it came off as whingy, or misplaced, or over-wrought – just generally tonally askew. So I’m having another go.
Thing is, I need to talk about the pandemic and explain a little about how it’s affecting me – because this blog is, at its heart, about me and my writing.
But it’s very difficult to moan about my small difficulties when people are dying. When there’s genuine suffering in the world, my small problems don’t amount to a hill of beans. But I’m immunocompromised so I’m at extreme risk of contracting the virus. I’m therefore in isolation for all of twelve weeks, dependent on my wife for all shopping and necessities – and also for all of my social contact.
That doesn’t matter half as much as the fact that my daughter is home from nursery all the time.
A few weeks ago I set out my typical writing week, which basically comes down to this: I write when the little one’s in the care of others. Now all that is worth so much hot air. She’s always here. And though I’m timesharing with my wife, she’s supposed to be working full time so I’ve lost my breathing space.
That’s before we get to the fact that I’m a really bad dad and don’t know how to properly stimulate or educate my child. That’s another issue entirely.
See? Whingy and over-wrought. This is a tough piece to write.
What it comes down to is this: writing has suddenly sunk down my list of priorities. This feels like a bunker situation; we just have to hunker down and get through. Previously I managed to balance paying editing work with my own creative writing. Now I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to write at all.
For the next few months my WIP is on hold. This blog may be on hold as I don’t know if I’ll have anything to write about. All that was solid has melted into air.
I am absolutely certain that I’m not alone in this. I don’t doubt that there are hundreds of artists who are suddenly having to down tools and focus on the immediacies of life.
Hopefully in a week or two I’ll have found a new routine but for now it feels like shutting down. I’m sure I will adjust but there must be many more out there who can’t. To all you creatives out there who are struggling let me just say that I see you, that you’re not alone.
Shakespeare may have written King Lear whilst he was in quarantine but he had servants, financial security and no children to look after. It ain’t the same for us, folks.
But we will get through this. There will be another side. Them pesky kids will go back to school at some point.
Until then we just get through as best we can. Anything we manage to get done is a bonus.