Creativity in Chaos

As I write this, we are entering into month six of social restrictions and I am coming off of a tense couple of weeks as fires rage near my father’s home in the States (he was evacuated and is safe) and the news abroad and in my adopted country is so bad, I’ve had to look away for a minute.

I haven’t sat down to write out my thoughts in months because, to be honest, they seem unimportant at the moment. I’m not denigrating myself, there are just so many other, more relevant, more important, things to think about right now. I often find it hard to focus and am far too tearful most of the time. I’ve lost friends to the pandemic, watched friends lose loved ones, been devastated by the news cycle, and been in too many divisive arguments as the pandemic, shootings, marches, and even seemingly-benign television adverts become politicized. Let’s be honest, it’s a time of insanity.

I am so very grateful and hyper-aware of my “good position.” I had just come back from the States when lockdown hit. It was an amazing trip. I was able to see my mom, many (though not nearly enough) friends, and celebrate my dad’s birthday with him, my siblings (including meeting our newly discovered sister and niece!), other nieces, nephews, uncle, cousins, and family friends. I arrived back in the UK the day the US closed borders to European visitors and just before the UK shut down.

I came back to a part-time job I’d taken just before I left and am fortunate to be able to continue do it from home. I kept busy in the severest of lockdown by working, shopping for neighbors, and volunteering to cut out patterns for a local group sewing scrubs for healthcare workers. Plus, I have a nice back yard view, a great husband, and entertaining cats to keep me occupied.

In addition, I was working on finalizing my second book, Landbound – getting the cover, last edits, and proofreading sorted and working out when to release it into the world. That last bit was hard to decide. I went back and forth on when to do it. It felt like the wrong time to worrying about a fictional book when so much else was going on. Even harder was carving out time to work on Book 3.

But what I discovered is that creativity even in the midst of chaos is still needed. It’s necessary. We can’t stop having imaginations or finding ways to escape when everything is falling apart. I needed the time to lose myself in fun books or silly shows – even re-watching old comedies or finding a new book series, or reading something to broaden my mind. And I needed the time to slip into my own made-up world and play with what the characters were doing. This time was (and is) precious, vital, and rejuvenating. It helps me get up in the morning, look at the day anew, and keep going. It doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention to reality, just gives me a much-needed break every once in a while. Then someone told me that they looking forward to the “escape” of my book when it came out. I was surprised and flattered. How amazing to think that I might be able to provide that for someone else?

So the book is live and I’m glad that I got it out. Maybe it’s not the perfect time for me, but maybe just the right time for someone else. I like to think that.

Now, back to Book 3…

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