I have not done much creative writing to speak of in the last seventeen months. No poetry, and only one brief story on Day 71 of my lockdown.
This morning, I was wondering why.
I think my creative mind has been stunned into silence by all that has happened to me personally during the lockdown. I think all of us have had the wind knocked out of us to one degree or another. Everything is different. There will be no going back to “normal”. Even if the day comes when we are all vaccinated (I know, wishful thinking), and we don’t have to wear masks anymore, and we can go to theatres and schools and churches and baseball games, some of us will always be hesitant to get too close to strangers or be obsessively looking for the hand-sanitizing stations. Some of us will be in constant fear of another pandemic and lockdown.
The fact is that another pandemic WILL happen again. This virus is already mutating and will mutate even more. I predict that we will need to get new vaccinations every year for this virus, just like a regular flu shot.
Furthermore, as the climate changes and the ice caps melt, ancient viruses even more devastating than this current one might emerge from the melt. Some might argue with me about this, but it doesn’t matter if that actually happens or not. The point is I will constantly be living with the fear that another Plague will happen.
Even worse than the fear of getting sick and dying, I am no longer able to trust the reasoning power of others. I know so many people who are downright crazy in their fear of science and common sense to the point where they will not get vaccinated. It is almost like a mass psychosis, a group mental illness. Seriously, do some of you really think you are being micro-chipped by getting a vaccine? Get the damn vaccine, alright?
So how is this going to affect my creative output? I know some creatives wont include a mention of the pandemic in their work. How can they ignore an event that created such a foundational crumbling of all that we have thought safe and secure? Is it a form of denial? I suppose writing and reading creative fiction and poetry is a form of therapy for many creatives, a refuge in a time of trauma. Well, I guess I have some sympathy for that. I just spent the last year and a half posting photos and drawings of safe things like flowers, fruit, fish and birds.
But eventually we creatives will need to address the elephant — er, rather the big gray and red spiky thing in the room. I cannot see how we can’t.