This week, CWC member Jean Grimsey reflects on the strange situation we’re in at the moment, and how it’s affected her writing.
“Author? That’s a misnomer for a start – I am writing this under false pretences as I don’t think I can claim to be an author at the moment. Lockdown has put paid to that. Words do not flow, with a few exceptions.
My creativity has been limited to the production of some rather snazzy face masks and lots of tiny baby hats for the hospital in Bristol where my son and grandchildren were born.
One exception to the non-writing: April saw me attempting to take part in A-Poem-a-Day for the month – I managed five scraps, bones to be fleshed out at some future time. I’ve just re-read them and actually quite like them so have added ‘edit poems’ to my to-do list.
As an aside – I use an app called Teux Deux to try and keep myself organised. I actually pay for this one. Yes, I know there is probably an equally good, totally free version available but I am a softie – every time I have to contact them, they tell me they are waving from Brooklyn, so I wave back from Devon. I like that.
The second exception: on the second Monday in March, just as the words ‘virus’ and ‘distancing’ were becoming part of our everyday vocabulary, I started to write about 500 words a day. This was not meant to be a lockdown diary and hasn’t happened every day. But there are 14,000+ words written by me, for me and not meant for the censorious eyes of anyone else unless I choose to share them. There’s a lot of whinging in there, together with fear and anger and sometimes a little levity.
Fear because I am in the age-range which makes me an endangered species.
Fear for my son who chose not to lockdown with us but is a classed as a vulnerable adult.
Fear for the effect this will have on children’s schooling, and young people’s higher education and job prospects.
Anger, blazing anger at so many things – I will no going into them now. This not the place for politics or comments on society.
Levity. I wrote back in early March about the beginnings of social distancing:
‘Do I hug those who demand to be hugged? Elbow bump or back pat? Blow kisses very gently in the vague direction of the person needing affection or make heart shapes with my hands? Bow and murmur “namaste” or wave my arms in the air?’
‘I spent fifteen minutes today on a Teignmouth street chattering to Sophia on my phone and waving frantically as she did the same through the window of her first floor flat. Right pair of eejits.’
Lockdown should have given us the chance to catch up with parts of our lives, to get in touch with old friends, to read and read and read, to re-connect with nature. It has done some of that for me – our tiny garden and backyard have never looked so lovely or been so productive. And I have read – a lot.
But the days have seemed to merge, even weekends are nothing out of the ordinary now. Somehow time has shifted, tilted like a globe on its axis.
Forgive my meandering words – I just wanted to give you some idea of how it has been for me. So far.”