Forgetting me in the time of COVID
The trope of the time trap in fantasy and science fiction has been on my mind during this pandemic. My mind keeps returning to The Lotus Hotel and Casino in the Lightning Thief series and the Nexus in the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe. These are places that once one enters, all sense of the passage of time disappears. Hours, days, weeks, months and even years can feel like one second, and one’s life is forgotten. The person is disconnected from their former lives. They forget their mission. They lose all sense of motivation or drive. They are stuck, save for some miracle rescue mission.
Another scene in literature has also been on my mind. In her book, Zora Neale Hurston describes a doomful moment when of a group of destitute people are praying through a hurricane against which they have no shelter or defense:
“It is so easy to be hopeful in the daytime when you can see the things you wish on. But it was night, it stayed night. Night was striding across nothingness with the whole round world in his hands . . . They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against cruel walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.”-Zora Neale Hurston
I’ve been staring at walls. I’ve lost all track of time. I’ve lost track of myself. It’s like COVID equals a C[hristine] VOID.
To be fair, I can’t blame my lack of blogging on the pandemic. That’s been the state of this blog for years. But the fear and paralysis I’ve been feeling? Yeah, COVID-19, that’s all you. Doing my morning pages, a daily habit for many, many years now, has been spotty. A week will go by and I will not have written a word. This isn’t me.
I feel like I’m just waking up to something. Maybe it’s Death? Maybe it just took this long for me to realize I was wasting time. I don’t know. Something weird is going on. The compulsion to write is back in spades. It came back today, vomitous and vertiginous. Seriously, I feel nauseous and nervous. Writers, true writers, can’t help themselves. They write. They can’t NOT write. Today the wave of sick hit me when I realized I’ve been wasting so. much. time. I’ve been writing the wrong things. I’ve not been writing any things. I’ve thought about blogging then stopped myself. I don’t want to dive into the online environment at this time – It’s vulture culture. No, thanks.
But here I am, left with the dilemma of my orientation: I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer, since I could write. Essays, mostly, but poetry and fiction are my loves.
I could guess about all the reasons I’ve been taking such long breaks from my nature. But who cares? Being away makes me sick. My time constraints, my lack of confidence, my pessimism, my pandemic pastime of staring at walls, none of it matters. That was then and this is now. If I don’t write, I will …
I don’t know. Maybe this is why I don’t sleep well. Why I’ve put on extra pounds this year. I feel off. I have felt off for a while, way before the pandemic forced us inside and away from each other. I’m sick of myself. I’m tired of this C VOID. I need more C. Less void.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay