Finding time to blog during a pandemic can seem not only futile, but also pointless or even insensitive. Many people are juggling telework, schoolwork and childcare, all from home. Many people are experiencing indescribable suffering, from the loss of income, from illness, or from illness or death in the family. Writing about books may seem silly at best, offensive at worst. How can the world go on pretending everything is normal?
I know I have had less time to read and to write in recent weeks. My situation is better than most, yet I struggle to find the opportunities to do what I once loved. I also struggle to find meaning in it all. I try not to obsessively watch the number of cases and deaths in the U. S. and the world rise, but I cannot help but be affected by the shutdown, and what it could mean for the future. In such a time of uncertainty, musing over literary techniques, cheering on fictional romances, and falling into fantasy worlds simply seems hollow.
However, I still think it is important to try to go on and to recover some semblance of normalcy. The pandemic and the shutdown are likely to continue far longer than anyone had predicted. It is no good sitting on floor and staring at the wall, trying to shut the world out. It is far better to try to accept the world as it is now and to find a way forward. So far, I have been doing that by attempting to maintain a routine, making sure I eat healthy, and making sure I get outside at least once a day for a socially-distanced walk and some exercise. A sense of anxiety never fully goes away, but I get by.
As I reflect on my way forward, however, it seems important not only to maintain a healthy schedule, but also to return to some of the activities I love. Staying at home will be the new normal for some time, and I know I need to do more than simply get by. Finding comfort in reading, in writing, in connecting with others online, is not merely escapism. It is a necessity.
Trying to find happiness in times of misery is sometimes viewed as inappropriate. But wallowing in fear ultimately helps no one. It only makes things worse. Reading and writing are activities that help me relax, give me a mental break from the tragedy around me, and help me process my thoughts. So I’m making a new commitment to continue blogging. Because being at home does not have to mean losing the activities I love.