My deadline has come and gone, and yet I still stare at a blank screen without a clue as to what I should write. It generally helps to start with a theme or a topic, but even that evades me. When writers’ block hits, I sometimes take clues from what is going on in the world as a general jumping off point . . . but only one topic dominates our news sources, email boxes, and social media feeds.
All anyone writes about is COVID-19, but writing about anything “normal” seems inappropriate right now.
Is it wrong to look to the ordinary to find inspiration? Obviously, there is nothing ordinary about any of our lives right now. For most of us, it’s not ordinary to work from home, grocery shop online, home school our children, avoid all physical contact, have doctors’ appointments online, and use Zoom for all of our social interactions. This is not ordinary.
But is the ordinary okay right now?
Is it okay to write a blog post about my favorite recipe or hobby when people across the country and across the world are suffering?
Is it okay to write about how much I appreciate these extra moments I get to have with my family when essential workers can’t even hug their children? Conversely, is it okay to feel super annoyed by these extra moments I “get” to have with my family when essential workers can’t even hug their children?
Is it okay to write about my amazing and supportive “tribe” of coworkers when 22 million people across the country have lost their jobs?
Is it okay to write about how well my daughter is handling online education when so many children across the U.S. don’t have access to the internet or any educational materials?
Is it okay to joke about how I have once again failed at cooking when others don’t even know where their next meal will come from?
Should I feel guilty when I forget, ever so briefly, that we are in the midst of a life-altering pandemic?
I don’t know the answers to any of these questions.
I don’t know that the answers even matter. I think that the best any of us can do in any given moment is to just feel what we are feeling and accept those feelings as valid.
Any maybe next month, I’ll share with you the delightful story of how I managed to completely screw up cupcakes from a boxed mix.