Afterthesolsticeday’s Childe

Most days I manage to write in my notebook, daily pages, morning pages, whatever you will. The only way I can manage this is to sit down really early, 6AM or earlier, and stumble my way through the sentences. I can tell there’s something wrong by the way the sentences don’t flow, as they stutter and totter like an uncertain person just awake, eyes adjusting to the light.

A while back I wrote an essay I wrote for Love in the Time of COVID: A Chronicle of a Pandemic a collaborative project dreamt up by Michelle Elvy and Witi Ihimaera. This is one of the few pieces of writing I’ve managed to bring to fruition in the last nine months, since the start of this whole nightmare.

Pandemic. Ideas to alight upon: Christmas, beach, sunshine, no ICU beds.

School is a brutal day-to-day realization of how this ongoing crisis is battering everyone’s wellbeing, everyone’s capacity for focus and followthrough. Students are struggling to connect with their peers, trying to unearth their motivation, and I’m constantly examining what we do in an attempt to somehow pour a salve on their wounds.

Serial television shows bring some relaxation: Professional Masterchef, Seaside Hotel, The New Nurses, and the remake of All Creatures Great & Small. The problem is once you’ve watched one episode it’s time to switch to another episode, and suddenly it’s midnight and any chance of a decent sleep routine is destroyed.

The other thing keeping me sane these days is learning the guitar. Man, what a humbling experience, to be learning an instrument at the same time as my 8yr-old, and to see the speed with which she picks up things compared to me! Chords, fingers, strumming. Still, there’s a great sense of creativity in seeing even the smallest progression and I’m chipping away at the Blaze Foley song, “Clay Pigeons,” and Luka Bloom’s “Sunny Sailor Boy.” These small bouts of creative energy are what I have to fall back on to keep me going in this pandemic-wrecked school year.

And the vaccines are coming in waves, albeit slowly, the first workers at Cottage Hospital and Sansum already inoculated. Allegedly, the CDC says teachers are in the second wave, so that’s good news, and the sooner we can get back to the classroom the better. Here’s to a brighter 2021!

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