About Those Gaps – Covid Edition

elizabetholdhamMusings2 Comments

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The astute reader will notice a gap, or at least a slowdown.

From March 27 to April 28. That gap, between stories I wrote and posted.

I call it the Covid gap. But I was not stricken by the virus.

I just stopped writing. Just stopped. Life was flowing along quite nicely – busy but manageable – an enjoyable balance of work and play. Then March came along, and BAM, life turned upside down.  I found myself stuck in the constant news cycle and stymied in my attempts to get my daughter to voluntarily return home from her university in the east. She wasn’t, for some reason, keen on coming back to self-isolate with parents.

Where I live, we were told to lock down relatively quickly. It should have been easy. I’ve worked from home for the past 13 years, self-employed for almost as long. Work ebbs and flows naturally, and I’m used to the challenges of staying on task and ignoring social media or the home duties that naturally beckon.

But what the hell? As soon as I was told to stay home, my focus vanished. I got sucked into a whirlpool of news that offered no answers despite an impressive array of facts, opinions and bat-shit craziness. I searched obsessively for some indication of how bad this would get and how long we’d be holed up. I began checking my social media posts way too frequently, hoping, futilely, to find some answers there.

This went on for two weeks. I felt lost and incredibly sad. I tried to write creatively, but with no focus, I just made myself feel worse. Why? For what? I don’t know. I just know that I felt overwhelmed and distressed.

Grieving, I read.  The internet is full of articles telling us that we are grieving. We are going through a collective trauma and grieving the losses that are piling up.  Loss of freedom, for me.  For others, loss of loved ones, loss of income, loss of companionship, loss of weddings or funerals or significant events like graduations. Loss of the world as we knew it.

I suppose it’s true.  It’s for an intangible loss, my grief. Unlike the raw animal grief of losing a parent, this grief lies below the surface – haunting, insidious, and threatening to pop out and remind me that despite the invisibility, it’s very real.

Thus the gap.

As the weeks continued, as my daughter returned home, as life kept moving forward, I began to recover from the initial shock and grief. I started several shorts and musings and posted one last week, but since then, in my world of feast and famine, work has kicked into high gear and left me with hardly enough time to write creatively.

I am a writer in another realm – grants – and my skills are needed to mediate what this pandemic is doing to populations at risk. My creative writing has become a temporary casualty of the pandemic, but that’s okay.  I am working when many others are not. I am trying, as so many others are, to help get us all through this. I’d rather have too much work than be out of work and wringing my hands.

There will be more gaps between posts, which makes me ponder other gaps in my life, big and little. Some planned, some not so much. Gaps between schooling. Gaps between children. Gaps in faith. Gaps in routines.  Gaps in memory.

For now, I post this, a reminder of how much has changed in so short a time. But in the next month or so, I won’t be contributing much to my site. Work deadlines beckon, and as this is a labor of love, it must wait while I labor for cash.  I may go back and post some old stories or musings, and maybe I’ll be inspired to write a quick short, because that happens. And perhaps I’ll fill the space by musing about the many other gaps in my life and what they’ve meant.

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