Artist in Residence: The Quarantine Diaries

Episode 2

I’m falling prey to an odd sort of… paralysis.
I pick up something to do and then I discover that I had unconsciously lain it down because I’m staring at the computer screen where dire news is scrolling by, or I am simply sitting there thinking, “I have nothing but time… I’ll finish it later…”

Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado, Unsplash

I have a half-tidied office. I have a half-written story. I have a half-edited another story. I have a half-planned book promo for the new novel coming up in the summer.
It’s as though I’m mired in a lethal mixture of “I have time on my hands – if I finish it now I will have literally NOTHING to do later” and “it doesn’t matter anyway because who knows if summer will come at all and if it does if anyone is going to be interested in buying a new novel anyway”.
And they’re talking about more of this. Weeks more of this. Maybe months more.
I have to figure out what we’re going to EAT by that time, a much more existential thing than the stuff I’m fiddling with now. Me, my husband, my elderly mom, my cats. Stores are shuttering; grocery stores that used to be open 24 hours – was it only last week? – are now opening at 6 am and closing at 10 pm, and others are opening at 10 in the morning and closing at 6. Even when you DO go shopping for essential these days, now you have to carefully plan the trip – and you don’t know if you’ll find what you need if you DO get in during the new hours.

One-time payment $1200? To replace a weekly paycheck?

The US government has decided that a one-time payment of $1200 – to some people, there are strange gradations to this if you look at it closely – is enough of an “incentive” payment for the people out there. Of those what ARE going to get the money, some get it relatively quickly (in two or three weeks…) and others might have to wait a month, or six weeks, or more. For $1200. In sum total. To replace steady income work pay.
In the meantime, hospitals are running short of everything (including staff). Streets are empty (someone posted a photo of an empty downtown Manhattan and it’s frightening…). Old people, particularly less than wealthy old people, are supposed to want to flock to euthanasia points so that the stock markets might continue to support the young(er), rich(er) and ultra-rich segments of the population.
We’re in a dystopian novel. And honestly if any of writer had penned this and submitted it to a publisher it would probably have been rejected. There are some truths which are simply too unbelievable to write fiction about.
I suppose I should go finish at least one of my half-begun tasks. I suppose I should go get myself another cup of coffee – while I have some, anyway. I suppose I should start thinking about how to rewrite all of this as a better story.
It’s a challenge.
I’ll get to it. As soon as I… finish… SOMETHING.


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