On not writing in a pandemic

I haven’t been able to get to my desk for a while. With young kids at home, unable to see their friends in school or visit grandparents and other family, I find myself tending to them before anything else. Writing has fallen to the wayside.

I forced myself to sit down at my desk this afternoon. I stared at the light, straight lines in my notebook, chewed on my lips, twirled my pen. I looked out the window and didn’t stop looking.

Instead of closing my notebook and walking away, I picked out a passage from a book that I love and copied someone else’s words. I let them sit above those light, straight lines in my notebook.

Other days I’ve been reading poetry, copying out the poems that speak to me into a different notebook. It’s starting to fill up now, A Notebook of Poems I Love. There’s something about the succinctness of poetry, the deliberate arrangement of lines, the tight sentences, the bold words, that draws me towards the genre. So much depth and emotion can be packed into a page, or a page and a half. The density of poetry, the heaviness of it, seems to match what I’m feeling inside.

I don’t know when this anxiety will pass, but at least I have the words of other writers to sustain me when my own will not come.

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