My brief as a writer, as I see it, my emotional acre, to borrow a metaphor from Anne Lamott’s excellent book Bird by Bird, is a certain intertwining of spirituality, sexuality, and creativity. This intertwining or overlap or interconnection fuels my poetry; it has dominated the spiritual seeking I’ve begun to try to document in this month’s blog entries; it’s the thematic territory of my fiction. It’s what makes my engine tick.
So I don’t say much about, for example, ecology, or feminism, or current affairs, because they’re not part of my emotional acre. Other people have the gifts and the drive to write about those topics, and the many others on which I don’t comment, and that is a good thing. I assume that after people have been reading me a while, they either like the kind of thing I write and stick around for more of it, or go somewhere else to read another writer with a different focus.
The fact remains, though, that while I haven’t mentioned it, I’m living in the United States in the middle of a global pandemic. I am, to quote a useful Twitter post, not so much “working from home” as home and trying to work, to put in a few hours a week toward my paying job, in the middle of a crisis. I am at somewhat higher risk than average because I’m over fifty, diabetic, and hypertensive. I also have depression and anxiety, which I manage with medication and with therapy.
So I’m writing to you from a small studio apartment that I share with my companion of twenty years, my cockatiel Rembrandt. In three weeks I’ve seen very few people other than the cashiers at my grocery store. I just saw my therapist for the first time in over two weeks; he’s been out of the office on family business that was planned well before we knew we were having an epidemic. I’ve missed our sessions, and honestly, there are times when I just curl up on the bed, pile my stuffed animals on top of me, and try to breathe, because it feels like the depression has got me again.
It hasn’t, though. I have the good fortune to have what everybody ought to have–a secure job, healthcare, enough money and food. I have the comfort of my bird friend and connections with online friends, although I miss seeing people face to face. And I’ve been able to keep writing.
Tonight I don’t have any reminiscences to offer you, no stories or poems. Only a snapshot of life in the time of pandemic, a reminder that we’re all in this together. I will try to keep on writing.