|My home office, with feline assistant.|
I rarely make personal posts on this blog. But, as I don’t need to remind anyone, these are scary times.
My husband and I are physically fit and in general good health, but we are both 64 and he has an underlying health condition. Based on everything we’re seeing and reading, we’ve concluded that our best covid-19 strategy is either a) not to get sick, or b) to delay getting sick as long as possible in hopes of more treatment options or at least less hospital crush.
Our social distancing began last weekend. We’ve completely withdrawn from face-to-face social interaction, and are ordering non-perishables and household items online. No more routine doctor or dentist visits. No more stores, library, restaurants, or gym (we’re in Massachusetts, where a lot of things are shut down anyway). I’m still on the fence about careful, non-peak hour grocery shopping for fresh produce–but I certainly won’t be going while shelves are bare from people’s absurd panic buying (some of the same people, probably, who are still having parties and crowding into bars *eyeroll*).
|Sarah, my other assistant. Kittehs are a comfort.|
We’re acutely aware that this is MUCH easier for us than it is for most. We both already work from home. We have decent financial resources. We don’t have kids. Elderly relatives are all dead. Family and many friends are geographically distant, so we’re already socially distanced there. We can still go out for walks and runs. I can still garden (one of my major passions).
So the changes to our routine are relatively small, compared to many. It’s tougher for my husband than for me–the majority of my social life is online, but he is a gregarious person with a wide circle of friends, colleagues, and peers. But there’s always Zoom and Skype, and he’s making use of both.
For us as for many, stress and fear are daily companions. This is not the zombie apocalypse; there will be a vaccine eventually, and civilization will survive, as it survived the flu pandemic of 1918. But…how bad will it get? How long will it last–will we have to live this way for a year? More? What will happen to friends and family? What will happen to the people who are thrown out of work by widespread (and, I’m guessing, soon nationwide) business closures? The people who have no insurance? The people in prisons and ICE jails, the immigrants packed together at the border? And what about the election? I didn’t think, back in innocent December, that that could become more crucial. But, as I stand in horror before the shitshow happening in Washington, it’s clear to me that it has.
These and other questions haunt me on a daily, sometimes an hourly, basis. I suffer from depression–have done since childhood–and one of my fears is that I’ll sink into a clinical episode. I can feel that possibility stalking around the edges of everything now. I am doing my best to resist. My husband, thank goodness, is more resilient. We work to keep each other’s spirits up.
At a time like this, ordinary activities–like maintaining this blog–start to feel irrelevant. But they’re not. Life goes on, even in the face of catastrophe. I seriously doubt that covid-19 will put a dent in the volume of schemes and scams that target writers who will still be writing, still seeking agents, still publishing. And one of the most important strategies for resisting helplessness and depression is work, for those of us who are still lucky enough to be able to do it.
|Emily: Why are you taking my picture _again_?|
So Writer Beware will go on. I’ll continue to be active on Facebook and Twitter. As much as possible, I’ll post here as I usually do–not always weekly, but as often as I find things to write about. And I urge you to continue to email me with your questions, concerns, reports, and complaints. Please, keep the emails coming.
And: wash your hands.
Don’t touch your face.
Cough or sneeze into your elbow,.
Keep your distance: 6 feet is optimal.
Stay home if you can, especially if you’re sick (I know this is tough for many to do).
Check on your elderly neighbors (from a distance).
Resist panic buying.
Don’t share health information unless you’re sure it comes from a reputable source (Facebook, oh my God).
I’ll be seeing you.