This month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group question will be a loaded one for many of us: with everything that’s happening due to the coronavirus, how are things in your world?
Sometimes it seems to me like the world has turned into a Charles Dickens quote: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
People have shared the most beautiful stories from around the world: Italians singing to their quarantined neighbours from balconies; Parisians cheering the healthcare workers every night; Chinese and Cuban doctors and nurses going to help other countries; teddy bears in windows and people walking the streets in dinosaur costumes to cheer up housebound children.
Sadly, there’s been plenty of ugliness too. People hoarding. Selfishly putting each other at risk by refusing to take this virus seriously. Nurses having to let people die because of a ventilator shortage. Nurses getting sick themselves due to a lack of protective equipment. Daily battles on social media as people strive to one-up each other or tear each other apart over the most ridiculous things.
Through it all, I’ve tried my best to keep my spirits up. I’ve focused on the small acts of kindness as much as I can. I was one of the lucky ones–I had my home, my family and friends are safe (for now), and even though my trip of a lifetime was cancelled, I had hope I might be able to go next year instead. I was still teaching, though online, and felt grateful both for my students and for the fact I was still employed.
But then I lost nearly $10K of teaching contracts. I’m terrified even more will be cancelled. The conference I’d planned to attend in the UK refused to refund my deposits of over $1200 CAD, even though the event was pushed to much later in the year. And, worst of all for me, one of my beloved cats died suddenly, and horribly, last Friday. Because of the pandemic, I had to be alone for her last moments, and no one was allowed to comfort me.
I’m not sure how everyone else is feeling, but I’m not someone who turns to writing fiction when I’m worried, depressed, or sad. Maybe journalling, at times, but not working on a novel. I can barely text without multiple typos right now, and to be honest, writing just seems so darn pointless at times. Other writers promote their books and it makes me cringe–everyone needs to make a living, but it just seems so wrong right now when the world is reeling. I don’t feel like anyone currently needs or wants my dark fiction, and I’m still teaching. There’s marking and class development to do, and the converting of in-person classes to online ones.
I know that there will come a time when I can write again. There are still moments of hope and optimism–the loved ones who have been there for me and who are helping me through this; the conference deciding to refund my money after all; one more teaching contract to help me make it through these tough times. There are still good people in the world; there is still community. Those closest to me are healthy and safe (for now). There will come a time to smile again.
I hope you are safe and healthy too. I wish you all the best.
The purpose of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. To see a full list of IWSG authors, click here.