On Social Distancing for the Writer
With all seriousness, the COVID-19 crisis with the coronavirus is affecting people in ways that make it all too clear that, with a crisis of not enough access to healthcare, sanitization and hygiene products, and generally affecting those who are immune-compromised, disabled, and elderly/very young….
Isolation and self-imposed quarantines are the way to protect us from a developing disease that the public doesn’t completely understand yet (we only know we must avoid it and contain it).
So, note, this post does in NO WAY intend to make light of a highly serious situation.
However, I’m a writer. And as a writer, we often write to escape, yes?
I’ve seen a lot of young artsy types (me included) discuss the “plague isolation” aesthetic. That it’s a mixed blessing and a curse to be cut off from the rest of the outside world. Like Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody heading with the rest of the band to write music in the countryside. Or the classic Emily Dickinson (still corresponding with letters to the outside world despite history labeling her as “reclusive”). And John Keats and other poets, artists, musicians, and more who created to avoid a drearily lonely existence.
The internet gives us the opportunity to create just as much as it does to consume new content. It allows us to feel alone even as we connect with millions, instantly, across the world. There’s something romantic to think of text messages as letters carried by messenger pigeon. As clandestine social media affairs like love letters passed up ivory towers. It’s nice to romanticize things which, otherwise, might feel…
We’re artists and creatives and creators, and if you like to create things, odds are, you inject the world with your own special worldview. The world outside is uncertain, and that which is uncertain stirs up fear in our hearts. We’re scared of what we do not know.
Creative types, we create things that make the dull seem romantic. We gives faces to the monsters that we cannot see. We create stories to escape like sailboats made of words and ink. We craft our words and paints and music and emotion into elaborate tapestries that create magic carpets. Threads that spin out into an interconnected tunnel that connects us all.
Imagination can be just as much a blessing as a curse. Turning the shadows on the walls into beautiful dances or into horrifying creatures.
The romance of isolation. A blessing and a curse.
I hope these words help you remember that you have great power within you. To create. To connect with others even if the internet might not feel like much of a connection. You are still every bit as interesting and amazing a person as you were before all this, when life was normal. When our “new normal” wasn’t this anxiety-producing, uncertain time it is now.
I see you. I care for you.
Here’s to creating beautiful things.
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