This morning, the kids had online orientation sessions with their teachers for the start of virtual school next week. I confirmed to the board of ed that my son would rather continue occupational therapy virtually than do it in-person at the school. And I’ll be taking him “school shopping” for clothes that his classmates will only see part of, onscreen.
And the weirdness continues.
There are no good solutions here, and there are no winners. In-person classes raise the risk of the virus. Remote classes don’t let kids socialize. Parents aren’t qualified teachers. Teachers and school staff shouldn’t have to risk their lives (or their families’ lives) for their jobs. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between their kids or their jobs. Families shouldn’t have to worry about loss of income because they don’t have child care. None of this is right.
But normal isn’t an option. We don’t get normal until we beat the virus.
If you walk around silently seething at the world under your mask, trust me, you’re not alone.
So we do what we can. We make school work, in whatever version of it we have. We get our work done, by whatever means necessary. We order out to support local restaurants and go shopping to support small businesses and we take walks on nature trails because we’re still not comfortable with fitness classes. And we write at midnight because that’s when the house is quiet.
(Okay, all of that was me.)
How do you stay creative during an endless crisis, or rolling series of overlapping crises? Cut yourself lots of breaks. You’re tired, take a nap. Your mind’s shut down, have ice cream and watch “Galaxy Quest.” Stuck on writing one thing? Write something else for a while.
I’ve spent a lot of this year revising my middle grade novel, to the point where I wasn’t ready to work on another novel. So in between rounds of revision, I started writing short stories again. They came out much better than I thought, and switching around loosened up my brain so that I was better able to focus on revising the novel. I like feeling productive, and that’s what keeps me going.
So much is wrong with this moment in our history. The way we get through it is by acknowledging that nothing is normal—shouting it from the rooftops if necessary—and by taking care of ourselves and each other.
Happy holiday weekend. Wear a mask, stand up for what’s right, keep writing. And however you’re voting this year, GET IT DONE.