A year ago, our Governor asked us to change up our lives to avoid the spread of COVID-19. We canceled dinner with dear friends. We were going to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with corn beef and cabbage, and fun desserts. Since that time, my beloved and I embraced curbside groceries, and have made a lot of masks for friends and strangers.
We haven't socialized with friends except for a few distanced conversations while walking our dog. Just before Christmas, we had a short porch conversation with the friends we were supposed to see on St. Patrick's Day. Walker-girl peed in an inappropriate place as if to say, "I don't know why you don't come see me anymore."
Vaccinations help us all, two- and four-legged beings. Walker-girl will be the happiest dog to offer her ball to her human friends again.
Keeping to the main road is simple, But people are easily distracted. —from Chapter 53, Tao Te Ching, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane Engish
For me, working on the novel was very difficult, even before the pandemic.
Amidst the rise of white nationalism, chaos, cruelty, overt political crimes, breast cancer, moving to a new state.... and then the pandemic... the re-write came in spits, stops, and starts.
In 2021 that model shifted, and the writing has returned with much relief and joy.
Why's my writing consistent again? What's changed?
I could point to things like the Orange Man has left the White House, but that is too simple. Our American problems run deep. We are engaged in an undeclared civil war against white nationalists, the pandemic isn't over, and a global recovery from it awaits.
My novel often felt utterly important.
Nearly every writer I know was struggling to focus. We were not, are not, special in that regard.
A friend labeled the problem quite well: grief, plain and simple, whether due to chaos or the pandemic.
Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross named the stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Perhaps I've reached acceptance. Nothing is as it was, nor will it be again. The point is to keep on, keep living fully in inspired ways, keep fighting in whatever ways I'm able.
The weird thing about creativity is that all that non-writing time was not wasted, and the novel will likely be better because of its delay. I've got a personal deadline set, and it looks like I'll finish well before that—one day at a time.
My beloved often quotes the powerful adage that we need both bread and roses to survive. Stories and art serve not only as an examination or illumination of humanity but deliver needed sustenance for its—for our—survival.
Next month, I promise to write about what inspired the novel I'm writing, Reckless Joy. There may be a sliver of news to share by then.
Stay safe, and stay kind and curious about the world, my friends! Thank you for reading.—JD
My stories often explore loss, grief, interconnectedness, and how—or if—we come back together after we've been driven apart. I'm deeply interested in life in all its forms (human, animal, feathered, not); concerned about our humanity and our survival.—JD Eames
1704 Llano St, Ste B-1483 Santa Fe, NM 87505 United States
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