Edith/Maddie here, self-isolating like everybody else I know.
No, that’s wrong. Health care providers, grocery store workers, my friend who works for TSA, garbage collectors, and many, many others don’t have the luxury of staying home and away from everyone except family.
But let’s start with The Good. All my many in-person spring events are no longer on the calendar. And that means I can relax, stay home, and write the next book. This is good (for me). So much more available time to read is good. Neighbors offering to take care of the elderly and neighbors in need is good. This crisis is not without the proverbial silver lining. I have flour, beans, chocolate, and wine in plentiful supply. I can last for a while, as long as the electricity doesn’t go out.
The Bad. Library is closed. Favorite restaurants are closed. Schools are closed, so parents trying to work from home with children at home are losing their wits. I can’t go visit my squishy delightful great-goddaughter and my bestie, her grandma (see This is Not a Snow Day). None of my guests think they should come for our annual cherished Easter brunch. When my son and his wife popped in for a quick visit last weekend, we all acted responsibly and DID NOT HUG. All my six in-person book launch events are canceled. And, sniff, Malice Domestic is postponed and the Edgars banquet canceled. It’s all bad – but necessary.
The Ugly. People are sick from this virus, and people have died. Almost everyone is fearful. Businesses small and large, local and national, are worrying about going bankrupt. The stock market has tanked. Those who are homeless and (or) with precarious health are at much higher risk. There is no vaccine. Medical equipment is in short supply. Doctors, nurses, home health aides, EMTs – all are in danger. And some people…are ignoring the danger and continuing to gather in crowds, which is even more scary. This is a tremendously terrifying time with many unknowns.
So – back to the Good. What can writers who are able to stay home do with all this? We can capture feelings of fear and frustration – ours and those of others – and bring them into a story. We can use real acts of radical generosity and communities pulling together in our fiction. We can be generous to our peers whose appearances have been slashed. We can appreciate beauty around us.
And seriously? We can buckle down and write our brains out, getting ahead of deadlines. Maybe we’ll try some new creative venture. Writing dark short fiction when we usually pen lighter and funnier? Working up a proposal for a series outside our comfort zone? This is a rare opportunity.
Whatever you do with your self quarantine – or your public service job, many blessings upon you – I wish you the best, and continuing health.
Readers: What are you doing during your own social distancing? Writers: plans for productivity, or is it just too hard to focus? Anybody else stress baking?