My friend A. Catherine Noon asks: What do you want to change when we come out of lockdown, and what do you want to leave behind? What do you want to make (assuming you had energy and no stress)? (Make includes write.)
Wow, that’s a big question.
Some of my answers come easily – like the first things I want to do when this is all over:
- I want to hug my friends tightly.
- I want to go to Starbucks and get a trenta mint java-chip frappucino and drink it until my brain hurts.
- I want to have dinner out at a restaurant and forget to be afraid.
- I want to pick up mail at the post office without holding my breath until I get back outside to the clean air
- I want to go to a movie theater or a play and laugh and cry with others in a shared human experience.
Some answers are harder, more introspective:
- I want to become better about helping others around me, both people I know and people I don’t.
- I want to be more aware of my own privilege – as a white cis man. As an American. And as someone who has a job that let me work at home during the pandemic.
- I want to do more to advance the Black Lives Matter movement and the rights of everyone who has been marginalized by my society.
- I want to do more to fight climate change, both in my own personal life (as much as Mark hates the idea, there WILL be composting at some point) and in the world at large.
- I want to continue to build communities where we can support one another.
- I want to be observant of the ways that the pandemic has changed me, both for better and for worse.
- I want to be kinder and gentler with everyone I know.
As to what I might make? In my writing, there have already been changes, and I hope they will continue after the plague:
- I am relearning how to write, to streamline my work, and to really make it move from start to finish.
- I am taking control of my own work, rereleasing all of my novels over the next six months under my own press.
- I am planning for the future – what it might look like if I were to snag an agent, and what will happen if I don’t.
Once this is over, I will move ahead with my career, in the hopes that it will reach new heights as I move into a new phase of my life.
I turned 50 in 2018, and most likely there’s now more of my life behind me than there is ahead. But that doesn’t mean I have run out of stories to tell. Far from it – I feel more creative now than I have in decades.
This pandemic will touch every aspect of our lives before it’s over. Businesses will close and new ones will open. Old ways of living will be discarded and new ones discovered. It’s a shock to the system, and we haven’t even started grappling with the changes it will bring.
It’s a worldwide re-set, a great awakening. For too long we have pushed and pushed and pushed – at each other, at nature, and at the world at large. Now nature is pushing back.
Here in the United States, we’re in the middle of an immunological response as the country struggles under a second viral attack – one of intentional ignorance and proud stupidity.
But change is in the air, on the streets, and moving through our hearts, minds and souls.
My writing after the plague will be different – how could it not be? New ideas will course through my mind, and new stories will flow through my fingers and onto the page.
I don’t know exactly what it will bring, but I am ready for a change. Ready for the Great Pause to end. Ready to be transformed.
Just let me get a frappucino first.
To my writer friends, what will you change after the plague? And how will it change you?