It’s not been 84 years, it only feels that way. It’s been over seven months since the last post went up on Story Factory, back when I had grand plans and a publishing schedule and optimism. Already at that time the rumours and fears of a pandemic were circling, but not given much credence. A month later my office closed down and had everyone working from home.
This should have been ideal, right? No commute, light work, low corporate expectations, no supervision?
Needless to say, things didn’t turn out as expected. Everything changed.
All the theories were correct, all those things happened. There was an adjustment period, of course, but it would likely only be for a couple of weeks. We’d have a full lockdown, the virus would be eradicated and everything would go back to ‘normal’. This did not happen. And while I’m very fortunate in terms of my working space and my life, something had shifted in my creative world. For a start, it wasn’t there anymore.
Some of my friends were furloughed, and ploughed themselves into creative projects to pass time, to use this opportunity fruitfully; I threw myself into a complex role at work and was envious.
Some of my friends were working from home, but had extra time due to the lack of a commute, and needed a creative outlet; I mothballed unused creative equipment and projects.
During these last six months, people I know and love have been writing scripts, novels and reviews; they’ve been planning socially distanced shoots or even engaging in them; they’ve come up with unique creative projects to sharpen their skills and keep their edge.
But over time, as my anguish grew and those uncomfortable emotions of ennui and envy with them, new hurdles presented themselves: Many people’s mental balance began to wobble. So too did their employment as creative and other companies felt the bite and they divested themselves of freelancers and full-time staff alike. I have been relatively secure, but my worry for them, my worry for the health of my extended family, economic and otherwise, only added to my creative lull.
Everything… Is just a bit shit right now. 2020 has been a year where bad things seem to continue to happen to good people. Where anger and fear and resentment and conflict seem to not just bubble beneath the surface but to boil over. And here we are, with three months left of the year. There is a second wave of COVID-19 just starting, there’s a contentious US election on the way, and Brexit has yet to fully bite.
And yet, here I am writing. I’ve even taken some photos. I’ve made some short film snippets to re-educate myself and to entertain. I’ve entered into a little script writing competition. Nothing is groundbreaking. Nothing is of the calibre I had come to expect of myself, what I feared other people expected of me. But I have to do something.
So I’m having to start again, from the beginning. On everything. There might be a foundation there, buried beneath the wreckage, but essentially I’m starting from scratch. But at least I have opened to door to my muse rather than locking her out. Allow mediocre work be inspired so that, in time, better work can emerge.
I have no idea what comes next. For me as a creative. For the world. For my friends and associates who are struggling with this new creative wasteland. But (and it may have taken six months to come to this realisation) I have to do something. It would be a tragedy to have wasted everything I’ve done before, all the work, all the tears and sweat; especially the tears. I think it might be time to pay back some of the faith others have shown me, and show some in myself.