Got a cup of something? Tea, or something stronger? Have some cake. I just baked it yesterday. I dropped in too much vanilla essence and had to substitute the self-raising flour… But it’s still good, I promise.
Hasn’t this strange period felt like it’s lasted forever? We’ve been in pretty much total lockdown since March, and we still aren’t really doing much else apart from the odd trip to the local woods, gardens, or beaches.
And finding mysterious portals of course, very important.
It’s been massively up and down, from taking advantage of a shorter commute (reduced to about thirty seconds, no less) to mourning personal losses. There’s been times when I’ve been so happy to be an author at this point – having other worlds to lose myself in has been a remedy during some of the darkest days.
But even then, it’s been difficult sometimes to keep up with it all. This summer I’m working with an editor on Composite Creatures, an editor for Little Quakes Every Day, and I’m trying to get my latest novel submitted to my publisher too. I have plenty of notes from my beta readers to be getting on with. PLENTY.
Updating this blog is usually on my routine to-do-list too, but I’ve been struggling to know what to say. We’re all living in extreme circumstances, and yet every day can easily become a repeat of the day before. Very little is fresh or new, because it’s quite literally not fresh or new. If I’m really honest, I’ve struggled in these last few weeks more than I thought I would. I@m not someone who is easily bored, but it goes deeper than that. It’s a complete inability to look ahead. You can’t plan anything big, and seeing friends or family is still tinged with guilt. Am I doing the right thing? What if one of us is asymptomatic? I’m desperate to be able to meet for a casual coffee somewhere witha friend, or to to make a random trip to Wagamama on a Friday. But I’m also I’m longing for exploration, discoveries. Travelling somewhere to discover a new way of life. Visiting a museum to touch the lives of past peoples. To tap into lives that aren’t our own.
(I even feel guilty about missing these things, because ultimately there are more important things.)
But anyway, history, exploration, culture. That’s where stories come in. Books, graphic novels, films, TV. Fiction or non-fiction, they’re all vacations in the mind. And hopefully soon we can all meet up in person.
As a generally quite shy person, I’m quite surprised at how much I miss pushing myself to the edge! Attending events, speaking on panels, giving readings… There’s not a single time I don’t almost shrivel into invisibleness before setting foot on a stage. But I miss it. I miss the feeling of “What the hell am I doing?!” when I’m reading to a crowd, or the feeling of elation when I’ve finished. I miss chatting to all the attendees and people just generally being lovely story-loving people. I can’t wait to see them all again.
Until then, I’ll just have to bake another cake I guess. Hope you’re all doing well, mentally and physically.