A year in quarantine: How a writer has coped.

It’s a year in quarantine.  Young(er) poets, writers & creatives may have transitioned more or less without much difficulty to Zooming with others–families & friends, peers & colleagues, strangers & might-be-more-maybes.

Contrary to popular belief, ‘elders,’ Baby Boomers, ‘dinosaurs’ (as some derogatorily refer to my generation), maestras/os, your parents or grandparents aren’t all tech-challenged.   We’re not going around with ‘Jitterbug’ phones, emailing on desk top computers on our original AOL accounts, or prefer long distance calls on our landlines.  We don’t all put our eyeballs on the screen on Facetime.   We stay in touch, earn income and offer our services using the conveniences and wonders of new technology.

Speaking for myself, I kept up with family & friends, long distance.  Over ZOOM I gave free virtual writing workshops,  accepted a wonderful academic award, gave a graduation commencement address, spoke at a couple of colleges.  Kept up, in other words, stayed relevant, so to speak.

But after an entire year of necessary near seclusion, we are all challenged at this time by COVID-19 and its variants.  We must quarantine.  If you know (versus ‘suspect’) that you had the virus you may or not be still be susceptible.  There are a lot of unknowns.

Politically speaking and regarding society–it has been chaotic, tumultuous and sometimes terrifying over the last years of the past administration.

Speaking for myself some time after the 2016 election and the beginning of 2017 my state of mind hit a wall, a virtual writer’s block.  By 2018, I had done a lot of ‘self-care’ and pushed myself to get back to the life of writing I’ve not only always enjoyed, but was devoted to since forever.

I’m glad to see others get books done and published during this time. But personally, in my case for the first time in life it felt insurmountable–as part of an underlying depression that came with political times moving to the right, White Supremacy surfaced, Climate Change & catastrophes, marches and riots–en fin, the world going to hell in a hand basket.  By the end of 2018, however, I decided to get back to it.  The route that felt doable was to finish the poetry collection I’d started in 2012.

I’ve worked almost entirely on my own.  I’m grateful to the colleagues/individuals who responded long-distance to give an eye to poems here or there, to the editors who published a few of the poems–especially the editors who nominated my poems for awards.  And now, I’m grateful to UNMP that whole heartedly embraced my submitted manuscript.  MY BOOK OF THE DEAD will be released in the hard cover edition on September 1, 2021.  (If you are a professor and would like to get a peek at it for possible class assignment, I’m told the copies will be available in August.)

Stay safe, be smart & always mask up. Even if you have been vaccinated, mask up.