Writing while the world’s on fire…
I have most definitely not been one of those writers who thrived during lock down. I hardly produced more than a handful of sentences in the last six months. With two businesses to close and then re-open and then try to keep open in the midst of a pandemic, protests, wildfires, and global chaos, I have not found much brain space for creative pursuits. And to make it worse, I’m not even bingeing any good (or even trashy) shows. I’ve felt in a bit of a holding pattern.
But about a week ago I had a bit of a come to Jesus moment about that strategy. Covid isn’t going anywhere, the work for racial justice is just beginning, the repercussions of the wildfires (and the climate change that contributed to them) is just beginning. If I’m waiting for things to calm down, I’ve got a long wait ahead of me. So I’m writing again. Just a little, but almost every day. No pressure to make anything good, or even anything at all. Right now it’s just chop wood and carry water kind of writing. I just need to start making something again, because I’m not okay unless I do that consistently. Some days I journal. Some days I type in stories I started months ago. Some days I write fiction, others essays. Nothing has to be anything. For now it’s just the act of doing the thing rather than the feeling I have to make something someone else can or should see. Chop wood. Carry water. Repeat
P.S. I did write two things this year, one an essay called “Lists,” written within days of shuttering our two businesses (Published in The Inlander). The other was a short story titled “Fissures,” set forty years ago on the day Mt. St. Helen’s erupted. (Part of the Spokesman Review’s annual Summer Stories).