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  • Writer's pictureJeff Monday

When the Words Aren't Coming

So, I've been trying to find the right words to express myself lately. You'd think, with all the extra time on my hands, that I'd be writing up a storm. That my keyboard would be summoning wizards and dinosaurs and scary little girls who come out of bath tubs. After all, every author says "If I only had more time." Hell, I've said that plenty over the years. If I only had more time, I'd write the next Great American Novel. If only I had more time, I'd write a best-seller and move to Hollywood.

And hey, it's not just writers, right? "If I only had more time, I'd finish my degree." "If I only had more time, I'd start a family." "If I only had more time, I'd adopt a dog."

And now, here I sit, alongside millions, if not thousands of others, staring at a blank screen. Or canvas. Or silent guitar. But the words aren't coming. At least, not as easily as I expected. I guess I thought it would be like a vacation. I write a lot on vacation, usually. Most days, after returning from some adventure, I'd scribble some notes about a story, update my travel journal, maybe even crank out a short bit. But that's not happening right now.

For the first couple weeks, I got frustrated with myself. "Why aren't you writing?" I'd yell silently at myself. "Quit watching Letterkenny and get to work! Pitter Patter!" This isn't going to last forever. Sooner or later, I'll have a job again. (Please be sooner.) Until then I should be making the most of the time I have.

Well, yes.

But I also have to survive. Because, just like everyone else, I'm in survival mode.

Took me a bit to figure that out, but it's true. Life is still, in some ways, the same: I get up, I go to 'work' (which now is looking for work), I eat, I sleep. But in so many fundamental ways, everything is different. I mean, you can smell it in the air, can't you? Maybe it's because there's a lot less pollution. Maybe it's because you always hear the birds and children over the cars now. But the air literally smells better.

I'm sitting at my desk. The window is open. I don't know where money will come from. The sun is shining. I have no idea what my next career move will be. A favorite song is playing on Spotify. The lows are so low right now but the highs are so high as well. They all balance out in the end.

Life has changed. For everyone. No matter how this crisis affects you, the world has changed and will continue to change. A lot of politicians will spin these horrors in an attempt to hold onto power. But we don't have to vote for them. Many companies will try to reassert how much you need their products. But we've now gone without just fine. There's cracks that need to be patched. It's difficult to think about those things right now, with our lives upended.

You don't think about repairing the foundation while the tornado is still in the area.

But afterward. After the storm has passed, the winds have died down and the waters have receded.

Then it's time to get to work.

My words will come back to me. Your songs will be sung and your beautiful art will be seen.

And, together, we will teach our children the lessons we learned here and now.

Stay safe. Stay in touch. Drink whiskey.

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