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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

A Writer's Life During Covid

The past few months have felt quiet and complicated. Many of us are navigating through a fog just to get the day started, couple with uncertainty and doubt. As a writer and poet, I have a felt a certain level of responsibility to challenge what we think we know and educate on what we’ve turned a blind eye to.

Writers write. And in crisis, writing can be our solace, our counselor, and our hope. When the self-quarantine first happened, I wrapped my arms around #teamhustle and viewed the time as an opportunity to work on projects. While many used the time to slow down and rest, I finally initiated things I had been putting off like starting a YouTube channel. I challenged myself with just how much I could accomplish.

I kept hearing that I needed to be in position when the smoke cleared. Lately, it seems as if the air is thicker than ever.

In times of crisis, writers are called on to express the times. Our view of the world is different; open, honest, and gut-punching. Typically, we are not afraid to say what needs to be said. I maintain a consistent communication with other writers, and we help each other carve a space for joy to enter.

With numbers of coronavirus cases rising each day, as well as racial injustice burning through our cities, I make it a daily habit of being intentional. Prayer, meditation, stillness, and coffee remind me there is still warmth within these four walls. I’ve always kept a journal to be mindful of what I see and hear. Some days, I find inspiration for a poem or story. And writing helps alleviate my anxiety.

I suppose we can ask ourselves the question: What kind of transformation do I seek in this midst of a global pandemic?

For some writers, the only way is to put pen to paper, trying to conceptualize and document what it feels like to continue living under lockdown. Giving shape to time has been the most challenging part of all this but it’s so important. We don’t know what the virus will do, where it will go from here, or for how much longer.

I need to be able to create at least the illusion of movement but haven’t been able to grasp it. Some days, I don’t feel like writing. Other days, I want to write but nothing comes out on the page. We are finding ourselves making peace with what we knew and imagining everything new – even ourselves. We can choose to walk through it, dragging prejudice, hate, injustice, dead ideas, and frozen-over thoughts. Or we can walk through lightly with very little baggage, ready to embrace whatever the new normal ends up looking like.

Are we willing to do this? To live in a world that is different and better than the one we live in now? A change in our mindsets, in how we view our neighbors, could lay the groundwork for the collective action we’ll need to deal with other global crises. The time to see how connected we all are is now.

Poet Ann Boyer says, We must begin to see the negative space as clearly as the positive, to know what we don’t do is also brilliant and full of love.”


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