Every week I sit down and come up with a topic to share with you. Some weeks are easier than others. Sometimes an idea comes to me – something great that happened this last week, something new I am writing, or some connection my writer brain just made that I want to share.
Some weeks, nothing comes. This is one of those times.
Mark and I are entering the third week of our personal chapter of what I call “The Great Pause,” and I am sitting here in my writer cave, waiting for clarity.
It’s been a hard year – starting with an auto accident that totalled our car, and continuing with some financial issues and then this mother of all crises, as Covid-19 sweeps through our communities and our world. I find myself checking the New York Times map with the same regularity I used to check the political news on FiveThirtyEight,com.
This moment is more than any of us should have to bear.
And yet, here we are.
I count myself luckier than most. I have a place to live, some savings, and enough food in the pantry to put on the table. I have a man who loves me, and (so far) my health.
Usually at night I get some respite, but my dreams last night were filled with testing for the Covid-19 virus. I wake up every day and remember where we are, and take a deep breath before diving into it all once again.
I spend hours wondering how we got here–how we plummeted from stock-market heights and full unemployment and a normal life to rock-bottom so quickly. Then I wonder if we’ve actually hit rock-bottom yet.
As they say, these are the times to try our souls.
At this dark hour, writing remains a key outlet for me. I am just about finished with not one, but two new short stories – one set in the same world as “The Last Run,” and one called “Rise” that jumps ahead to a hopeful event 50-60 years into the future.
Writing hope is a lifeline. It feels empowering to shine a little light out into our dark world. To take darkness and turn it into light.
Hope is my new touchstone, even though it’s in short supply right now. I see glimmers of it in the apparent flattening of the curve here in California, where we locked down our lives fairly early on. I see flickers of it in the heroic work doctors and nurses and everyday citizens are doing in the face of this horrendous pandemic. And I see it in the people that flood my “Daily Check-In” posts on Facebook to support each other, every single day.
I know there will be more darkness, more pain, more inhumanity before this pandemic is over. But I also know we will come out on the other side of it eventually.
I hope we will become a better people for it, chastened for our pride and more compassionate toward our fellow man.
None of that is certain. The demons have been unleashed, and they prowl the streets among us. We may not have a choice in how the next few months unfold, beyond the simple decision to stay at home to protect ourselves and others.
But we do have a choice in how we respond to this crisis – with darkness or with light.
I choose to hope for something better.
I choose light.
To my writer friends – has the Great Pause stilled your voice? Or are you finding ways to write in the face of it? Are you writing hope?