There is a point, when you have been in quarantine for 6 months with no end in sight, when the death toll of the plague you’ve been living through has reached 200,000 deaths in America alone, and when rampant wildfires in your state has clouded the sky with ash and turned the sun blood red, you just want to say, “Screw it,” and not do a damn thing. For the first time, it was starting to feel like the apocalypse, from the eerie "yellow wallpaper" sunlight to the constant bites of mosquitos that the signs outside warned might carry West Nile Virus. If September had a theme song, it would be Kelly Clarkson's "Born to Die," from the Trolls: World Tour soundtrack. It says something when a song from a kid's movie can plunge me into existential despair.
I can’t believe the violence of the emotions I went through this month, how they spewed out of me like a volcano, covering me with ash. Suffering through them felt like more than enough to deal with, and yet, I pressed on with publication. Surprisingly, I got a lot done. I published Company, I worked on Hazel and Saul, I completed the “Bonus Materials” section of my website, I updated my website, I wrote blogs, I created pins for Pinterest, and I formatted my novel for a paperback. I did this while dealing with a nippy dog, a million mosquitos, and all the drama September unloaded upon my head.
Interestingly enough, the first day of September I came to a conclusion about the feelings of vulnerability. As I wrote in my journal: “I am feeling vulnerable, and yet, I am not allowed to be this way. I need to be strong. I’m putting out a piece of my heart and soul, and I desperately want a reaction, a genuine positive reaction, yet I am bracing myself for judgement and indifference. I want to hide and weep and curl up and tell people how utterly miserable I am, but instead I must market and sell and edit and be gracious and positive and produce more, and I am tired, exhausted, and sad. But I can’t just throw those things out, in hopes of being affirmed or getting a reaction. No. I have to deal with them privately.”
This plunged me into what would be the theme for September, which was my relationship with the world at large. And yeah, it’s not really the easiest thing to contemplate, when the world is still only half-open. But contemplate I did, and as I did, my feelings swung everywhere, from desperately wanting to change the world to desperately wanting to change myself, from wanting to use art as a means of protest to wanting to find a way to make money already. Mostly, I felt disconnected from society and sort of crazy. It’s amazing the feelings that get bottled up when you’re feeling stuck and isolated from the community at large.
There were a few bright spots, however. Although Company didn’t make much of a splash, the feedback I got was good. I found pockets of support from friends and family, which I appreciated, even if my overall mood was glum. That’s unavoidable, though. Exhaustion makes me pessimistic. However, there is some bright news. My dad has a time share in Lake Tahoe, so as I finish up my publication journey with Company, I’m high-tailing it to Northern California. No matter the smoke in the air or the plague in the land, I am going on vacation. I hope that when I get back, I’ll be rested, relaxed, and ready to take on the future.
Writer. Critic. Dreamer.