Hey all you writers out there in your apartments, kitchens, bedrooms, offices, and bathrooms! Good afternoon!
I had my day off today and I might take one tomorrow because I can, but for now, it’s just today. I spent the first part of my morning certifying my unemployment.
…Or Hardly Working
For nearly two decades now, I’ve gotten my paychecks bartending at a pizzeria in downtown Chicago until I was furloughed (hence my minimalist and numerically advancing titles) about three weeks ago, which means I am not let go or fired but simply on stand-by until this whole thing blows over (aaaaand as I do the math, it’s not been three weeks but little over two weeks ago. Oh this is going to be a bumpy ride.)
I won’t go into all the initial strain and deep breathing I had to subsequently do filling out all the necessary forms and info to get it, but I will say that it’s been a humbling experience. With any luck, I use this for a month tops.
So I have not been working. When I’m not writing, I’ve been keeping busy. One thing I’ve been doing (duh) is reading. But it was only yesterday after these seven weeks (two weeks, sorry sorry) that I actually picked up a book I wanted to read.
I went through phases with my reading preferences. There was the phase where I simply tried to continue what I was reading. Then there was my F*ck it phase of just reading wherever my eyes landed. Then there was the phase where I began reading guiltily all of the books I had borrowed from people. Then I went the academic route, in all of its pompous obscurity.
Then I picked up Stephen King’s, The Shining. I know, I know–a story about a family locked up in a claustrophobic space for a long time which leads to violence and horror because the writer can’t write—not the most laid back subject. But hear me out.
I picked it up because I wanted to. I’d wanted to go back to reread some King because, a long long time ago, it was the first non-academic book I picked up.
And I loved it. I enjoyed it so much that I wrote a short story, my very first one. It wasn’t submittable, but I got my hands on a copy a few months back, and it’s not bad.
It was called Duel, and it was set in this post-apocalyptic time where members of these male tribes settled disputes by having duels where they stone each other to death in a very precise and cruel way (influenced by the story The Long Walk, written in King’s pseudonym, Richard Bachman. Check it out, it’s cool.).
Point is, it may take awhile to figure out who we are, where we’re going, who we’re supposed to be and all, but try not to struggle too long and hard on it. It’s okay to be childish, once in a while. In fact, it should be honored. Get to that inner child, and do childish things with them. It’s called Play. It’s called Creativity. It’s called Wonder. It’s called Remembering Why You’re Doing What You Love In The First Place. And who wouldn’t want to spend time being a kid (wasn’t I a cutie?).
I spent the rest of my morning sipping my coffee, eating my oatmeal (no, sorry yogurt. Oatmeal is tomorrow) and listening to an informative talk by Dr. Randgan Chatterjee’s on his podcast Feel Better Live More where he interviewed Peter Crone.
Peter Crone is amazing, definitely in the same class of people I’m currently into now–Tara Brach, Cheri Huber, Michael A. Singer–but with a little more science to him. I highly recommend it. It was an inspiring and awakening talk on what makes us human and the subconscious programs that keep us from our freedom, our love, and our peace.
I am leaning into all of this. We must remember that this is a war, so please stay at home when you can. We are all new at this. I hope each and every one of you is safe and healthy, and that your family and friends are as well. If you are sick or hurting, if you do have a loved-one or even loved ONES that have fallen ill or even sadder have died from this virus, my condolences, my love, and my prayers to you all.
I am immensely grateful for all that I have. That’s the one thing that has really stuck with me through all of this—our lives are so uncertain anyway, but this is a huge example of how life is what we make of it. Nothing is guaranteed. We don’t know what will happen. So please spend your time as best you can.
Be patient, be gentle, be safe, be healthy, and forgive yourselves. Accept it all. You are all human beings trying your best and I love you.
Finally, a salute to those who go out there every day and put their very lives on the line. To your strength, your endurance, your passion, your energy, your force of will, and your dedication, I cannot thank you enough.
Everyone, be here and now.
Create and Complete.