I used to write and write and write. All I needed was to be left alone in a room, and I could churn out reams of wonderful madness. Poetry. Prose. Stream-of-Consciousness. I could enter strange new worlds, explore the alien within, my pen / pencil speeding across the page like lightning.
Now, not so much.
Now, sitting alone in my lockdown suit (PJs, dressing gown, comfy slippers), I struggle to keep thoughts in one piece, and it feels as though each idea is a fine china bowl which has been shattered into a thousand pieces, and I’m doing my best to hold all of those pieces together in the shape of a bowl. But then, for me to write well, I’m going to need more than one bowl.
This is my experience with Long Covid. This has been my ‘new normal’ for a year now and, like so many others, I just want it to be over, so that I can go back to thinking in full sentences. To speaking out loud for more than a few seconds without needing to pause to think or breathe.
I find myself torn between allowing myself to rest and recuperate, and forcing myself to work through the sludge-thick mental fog which hinders my mental processing. On the one hand, I’d love to relax, to heal, and to come out the other side feeling rested and match-fit, but on the other hand I don’t want to waste my days doing nothing when there’s no guarantee I’ll ever get back to my (mental) fighting weight. Mixed metaphors, just because.
This new plague is different to most which have come our way over the centuries. Where once we faced boils and buboes, were scarred physically by leprosy or the pox, and either died or recovered, now we face a disease which can tear at the mind, leaving different scars in its wake on those who survive.
But I can’t not write. So, every day I come, wrapped in my lockdown suit, and do my best to create something which didn’t exist before I sat down.
We are Writers. We are Immortals. That’s how we roll.