Writing, for me, has always been a coping mechanism. When I was seven, I reached for a pen and paper and started writing poetry. I carried on writing in one capacity or another throughout my life. It has always helped me cope when life has pelted me with rotten eggs. I believe writing is a therapeutic process. Everybody needs an outlet for their emotions. Some people run, some use a punchbag, I write.
At the start of the first UK Lockdown, I was working on two novel manuscripts. As with most of my writing, both have humour at their core. I was enjoying every minute of the creative process when, suddenly, trying to write in a comedic vein felt inappropriate, as well as impossible.
Like everyone else, I was in a state of shock, consumed by the surreal horror going on around me. I couldn’t focus on anything other than the devastating effect COVID-19 was having around the world.
Fortunately, my writing to cope mechanism clocked in. I started writing a dismal, but therapeutic, blog, Life Under the Cloud – The COVID-19 Diaries, releasing the thoughts and images backing up in my head.
Ten months on, after enjoying a degree of normality for a few fleeting weeks, nothing much has changed. We are all laying low again, our daily lives curbed by the threat of contracting COVID-19. Our daily lives ruled by dreary Governmental briefings. There is only one piece of news that we are patiently waiting for – when it’s our turn to have the vaccine. Without this live-preserving serum, we cannot make a hint of a plan for 2021.
My home town, usually the vibrant, beating heart within the finance industry, is a sad reflection of its former self, apart from the essential workforce going about their business as usual. Hospitality venues long-since closed, and non-essential shops having put up ‘we are closed’ signs again on Christmas Eve.
HOME TOWN GHOST TOWN
I imagine walking down the usually buzzing main shopping street, with the theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly ringing in my ears. The only other sound is my boots connecting with the pavement as I walk. It is only me and tumbleweed. It’s a sad fact, and I don’t mean to be flippant, although the reference to tumbleweed is artistic licence. I never thought I would live through a global pandemic. Let’s hope I do; it’s not over yet. The threat of succumbing to COVID-19 is constant, especially now three different variants of the virus have been identified, but I am reliably informed that viruses always mutate. I wish this one wouldn’t!
THE UK’S DISMAL COVID-19 TALLY AT THE TIME OF WRITING
On 29th January 2020, the first two patients in the UK tested positive for COVID-19. Today, 28th December 2020, 256,220 people have tested positive in the UK, and a heart-wrenching 79,349 people have lost their lives after testing positive for COVID-19.
To all the scientists worldwide who have worked tirelessly under intense pressure to produce a vaccine – we salute you. Your life-saving vaccine will need to be mass-produced on a global scale and in double-quick time. Without the vaccine, our lives can never get back to normal. Those carefree, halcyon days when we were able to mingle, hug and kiss all the people we care about.
As enter 2021 with a degree of trepidation, writing will see me through the surreal COVID-19 crisis we all find ourselves in.