What a weird and wacky summer it’s been. Hard to believe it’s over already and that we've flipped the page to September.
I don’t know about you, but when I think back to March and the start of this whole pandemic thing, it feels like both a million years ago and yesterday. By now many of us have adjusted to our new reality, wearing masks, keeping our distance, limiting our social contacts, etc. But it still feels cruel and unnerving to sidestep someone on the sidewalk, or back pedal when too many people jockey their carts around the grocery aisles.
(Of course, there are those who refuse to acknowledge the dangers of Covid, or even its very existence, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.)
I do miss socializing and having people over like we used to, but there has been a surprising silver lining to the situation.
As literary events and festivals were cancelled, many moved to hold them virtually. What was previously inaccessible because of distance and expense, now turned into opportunities to attend workshops, speaker series and other writing experiences online. And most were free! I took advantage of as many as I could and gained some wonderful feedback, and made amazing connections.
Also because I’ve had more time at home, I’ve been able to explore online writers’ sites that in many cases offered opportunities to submit queries, hone creative skills, or connect with publishers, agents and editors. These experiences have been invaluable. I’ve learned so much from these people who have been incredibly generous with their time, their experience, and their wisdom.
At the same time, it’s hard to dwell on the positives when so many people are suffering. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for those who are sick, or who have lost someone to the virus. The economic hardship brought to millions, especially women, people of colour, and others who are already marginalized in society, has been devastating.
So by no means do I want to minimize the horrible impacts this pandemic has wrought. I’m incredibly grateful to be healthy (knock on wood), and living in a rural area where the beauty of the natural world is right outside my door. I try to focus and remember this every day.
But there have been opportunities for writers I never would’ve expected and I’m also grateful for these.
What is life going to look like in the fall and winter? As it turns cooler and we retreat inside, how will we find ourselves coping with this continued reality? No one can say whether further opening up of businesses, sending kids back to school, or cold weather will create surges in the virus or not. All we can do is take care of each other and try to stay safe. It’s not always easy, but I’ll continue to focus on the positives and seize opportunities to learn to tell a better story.
Go easy on yourself and those around you. Keep wearing those masks and washing those hands. If you’re inclined, I’d love to hear what you’re doing to keep the darkness at bay.
Until next time, happy reading!