Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Writing in the Age of COVID-19


The posts this week from Thomas and Rick reminded me how writing has changed since COVID-19 reared its ugly head. I’ve heard from a number of writers how their concentration is off while others continue to write without seemingly any problems. This last week my concentration has definitely been off, but that’s largely due to the heat wave we’ve been experiencing here in Southern California. While it’s not as hot here at the beach as it is in other parts of L.A. County, it was still annoyingly hot. When it gets 86 inside the house, that’s when my brain shuts off. Luckily, it’s cooled down and I can once again think and get some work done.

Luckily, I don’t have the problem Rick has of not being able to visit an area that I’ve set a story in since all of my books so far take place in a beach city not unlike the one I live in. Any research I want to do consists largely of walking to the downtown area of my city and looking around a bit. For awhile though, the beaches, pier and the bike and walk paths were closed. Right now, though, they’re open as long as you wear masks and practice social distancing.

One other thing that’s different is the inability to interact with my fellow writers at a conference or chapter meeting of Sisters in Crime. I’ve had to content myself with attending the Zoom chapter meetings and various other things online. The most recent thing I attended was a House Arrest event sponsored by SinC/LA. This was an evening event through Zoom where 5 writers read from their books and our chapter president taught us how to make a Manhattan cocktail. 

While I don’t currently have any plans to write a story set during this pandemic, I realize I may decide to write one some day so I’ve been taking pictures to remind my future self what this time was like. Here are a few of them: 

Here are all of the gray hairs that have recently been exposed since I haven’t had my hair cut or colored in a very long time. Currently, hair salons and barbershops are closed in L.A. County unless they can cut hair outside. So it’ll probably be awhile until I get my hair done. 

It’s been interesting to see how stores have been jumping into the mask arena. Here’s a display of masks you can buy at my local CVS. Didn’t see anything like this before this pandemic. I wonder if it’ll still be around in some form after the crisis is over. 

Then there’s the coin shortage here in the U.S.. Definitely not something that I would have predicted would happen. 

Then there are all of the signs reminding people to wear masks. In my city, there’s a $100 fine for not wearing one under a lot of different conditions. This sign is on a walk path near my house.

 Then there are all of the parking spaces downtown that have been taken away to give restaurants outdoor spaces to serve food. Restaurants can’t serve food inside right now, but they can if they have a patio so a lot of cities are allowing them to expand into nearby parking spaces. 

Then there are all of the marks on the ground marking off how far apart you should stand when waiting to get into a store. I haven’t had to stand and wait to get into a store in quite awhile, but those X marks are still there just in case.

 I’m hoping we all get back to normal sometime in the near future so we can more freely travel around the country and the world and do all of those things we usually do. For now, I’ll just keep on writing albeit at a slower pace than usual.

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