The last normal day I remember was Tuesday, March 10th.
It was a good day! My kids went to school. My husband went to work. I wrote. I think I made tacos for dinner. My husband came home early so I could go to a writing class at Austin Bat Cave that evening.
The class was on researching for long narratives and I was excited to see how it could help me to continue developing my memoir, which I was feeling fully in the groove with.
The instructor was from Philadelphia, and before the class started we sat around talking about COVID-19 in very vague terms. SXSW had already been cancelled and I had some naive hope that action would inoculate Austin against the spread of the virus.
Wednesday morning, the travel ban was announced, and the week continued to slide from there. I went to Costco two days in a row, trying to stock up on things. I didn’t buy enough frozen strawberries.
By the time Friday arrived, I could feel it all rolling in like a black storm cloud over the horizon. I had a hair appointment that morning, and then figured I should go to the grocery store, even though I usually get groceries over the weekend. But I could feel the frenzy in the air, before I left, my stylist half jokingly said, “God be with you out there!”
The store was crowded, many of the shelves already cleaned out. I grabbed what I could of what we normally eat, then waited to check out for 45 minutes, feeling panic slowly rise up from my toes.
Since then, we’ve more or less been at home. The days have taken on an endless, uneven quality. I’d like to be waking up early, which is the only way to guarantee I’ll have some useful time to myself before my husband starts work for the day, but kids are being consistently inconsistent with their bedtimes. (It’s 9:40 pm right now and I can hear my oldest digging through his Legos.) It’s easy to sleep in when no one is waking you up, and then before I know it, my whole day is off.
As much as it bums me out, I expect writing to take a backseat for a little bit. It’s hard to make much progress with my kids home all day, constantly asking for snacks and occasionally squabbling with each other.
Nevertheless, continuing to be creative is how I will survive this thing (how I survive anything). But showing up to a blank page in my notebook every morning has sometimes felt like a monumental task, so I needed to give myself another way of working through these days, of finding rhythm and purpose. Blogging sounded nice. I fully intend for this to be a throwback to my LiveJournal days circa 2005: This is what I’m doing.
I have a list of projects I’d like to accomplish during this weird, nebulous time. Not in the interest of being productive, more like giving myself some structure, some things to look forward to. I’ll be blogging about them as I get to them, I hope.
My boys are 6 and 2; I’ll be making pages to keep a running list of the projects and activities I attempt to get them interested in, and will link on the sidebar. The photos on this post are from when I sent my oldest into the backyard on a photo scavenger hunt. “Find 10 interesting things!” It’s always the things I think he’ll never in a million years go for that actually work.
This will go on and on and on, but we’ll be here, and we’ll be okay.