With all this extra time I should be writing more, right? I should be reading more, binging more shows, baking, organizing my house, learning a new skill. I’m not. I don’t know where the time goes, really. In the beginning it was spent watching daily news briefings, mindlessly scrolling through social media, and feeling hopeless. Recently? Who knows.
I’ve become an expert at wasting time.
Does that count as a new skill?
I’ve started a blog post in my head more times than I’d like to admit, but nothing ever gets to the page, and I wonder if perhaps it is because my brain can’t seem to handle more than bite-sized information lately. I no longer plan meals for the week, no longer coordinate who needs to be where/when, no longer need to hold a hundred things in my head because those hundred things have all been canceled.
Last night my critique group met for the second time during the pandemic. I’m embarrassed that I have had nothing to share, nothing to show for my three months with hours of empty afternoons to write. Part of the issue is that the space where I normally write became my home office, and as much as I love my day job, its accessories and post-it notes are not inspiring. The other part? I’ve been tired, and sad, and listless.
But I want to write.
I need to write.
My novel waits, eager for the next scene. It has become impatient.
Today, I set out to write something, anything. I wrote a journal entry that turned into a poem, and while somewhat gloomy, helped shake off some of the cobwebs and remind me of the healing power of words. I’d love to hear what you think, and to hear about all the things you haven’t been doing with all your extra time.
the weight of everything
Husband asks what’s wrong
and I try to explain –
but the words all sound
Each tiny problem
until you pile them
and begin to
He wants to compartmentalize –
take each one and solve it,
or if we can’t solve it,
push it aside like the basket
of bread at dinner.
He tells me to
control what I can control.
Therein lies the quandary.
There is so little
I can truly control.
So little predictability,
The only thing left are my reactions,
which – if I’m being honest –
are out of my control
insignificant things are
Loss of work,
Fear that pulls like a riptide.
I have suffered only one of these.
I am lucky.
But, whenever I stop
to think about that luck,
the weight of other people’s suffering
sits on my chest and refuses to budge.
We will crawl out
from under this.
With scars and bruises that may
never truly heal.
*the title of this blog post comes from my favorite Culture Club song, Time (Clock of the Heart)
10 thoughts on “Time won’t give me time*”
Such powerful words – thank you so much for sharing your poem. I do hope it shakes off some cobwebs, I know it has carried you a step toward healing. There’s a lot of kindness going around at the moment, and your poem exudes kindness and caring for others. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself as well ❤
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Thank you, Hilary! We need to find those moments of kindness and charity to help us through. Hope you are safe and well. ❤
You truly are a gifted writer
You captured the tone of the times
You should submit your poem
Your 70s male fan
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Thank you, Dad ❤
Lots of authentic feelings expressed in this poem. It’s good. Hope your depression lifts when you go back to work. The support of colleagues helps so much. Sometimes it’s hard to be a mom everyday too. The present will move forward to something that feels much better.
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Thank you. Yes, I do miss my colleagues very much and miss other human interactions. Taking it one day at a time – that’s all I can do!
Good Morning Sandi! Thank you for sharing your Time won’t give me Time post and for what it is worth – I truly understand! In the beginning, I was inspired to clean every room and to plan more elaborate meals, but then just it suddenly started it suddenly stopped. There is something seemingly insidious about the never ending blocks of time without the access to the outside things that inspire us. Humans are wired to be social — even introverts feed off the energy of being around others – internally holding a dialogue and outwardly staying silent. It sure seems like we are incapable of handling a pandemic size slice of time. We just aren’t built this way. Previously, I shared a COVID-19 poem and shortly after I continued writing poems because Riana had to finish a poetry class for college. Another poem, titled Frustration summed up what I felt during the early stages of Quarantine. FrustrationStretchedTautFrayedRipped Self-containedFreneticE n E r G yFeral Wildness A burning forest of emotionsInsanity spikingA perpetual raging fireA torrential surge of tidal wavesSuffused, heavy grey clouds DecompressionMeditationSomnolenceRetreatEscape Fortunately, the frustration I felt earlier on gradually faded as I accepted and settled into the new routine. As I got out of bed each morning, I thought about all the emails I would write that will no one would reply to – heck, who am I kidding, no one would probably read. For some people, our self-worth is tied to the various jobs we perform every day at work or at home. I think we desperately want to compensate for our losses and our inability to help someone, or to fix something that is so unfixable. We are grieving the loss of structure of our days, but it is so much more than that. So, I decided how do you make up for loss? You create. You pause. You count your blessings. You become grateful. You ask for Faith. Josh Radnor said, “Gratitude is not something that comes easy to me. Which is understandable. I was raised in a scarcity culture of more and better (AKA America). Gratitude then is kind of counterintuitive counterculture practice, one that requires an intentional willingness to counteract my default setting of dissatisfaction and discontent.” Now, instead of responding to one more thing that gets taken away, I try to add to the collective. I revel in the opportunity to stroll through the nursery to pick some flowers. I am determined to enjoy this even though you are suffocating with your KN 95 mask on an unseasonably warm Saturday before Memorial weekend. I generate beauty in planting flowers in containers around your house. I scroll pinterest to find some inspiration in the tiny paintings that you promise yourself you will paint. I scour through your drawers and closets for the Magdelene Project at church gathering up travel size shampoos, unused nail polish and lotions, journals and post-its – the minutaie of life that keeps your bathroom pantries choked and overflowing. You watch a series of documentaries hoping something with inspire: The Creative Brain, Minimalism, Lady Gaga, Becoming and more! I find inspiration in New York Times and the Web for my daily group emails to students hoping this is will be the email they will respond to. I get lost in your discovery of Molinere’s Underwater Park and artist Jason decaires Taylor’s startling sculptures or I am rapt and a voyeur when I peruse the talents of people featured inThe Quarantine Diaries seeing others contributors.I enjoy their drawings, writings and journaling as therapy during the pandemic, and I am astonished when I watch Natgeo slides of the Lilies of Okinawa and the Roses of Bulgaria and wonder why certain countries like Japan is synonomous with Cherry Trees or why is Holland associated with Tulips. And, I remember that life can still be good during a pandemic because we are good and we will be okay.
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So well said, my friend. Much of our self worth is indeed tied into our jobs and how we serve in our day to day lives. I love your ideas and your positive approach. I have been digging in the dirt a bit more lately as well, and it has given me a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Stay well. I look forward to seeing you again soon. ❤
That’s so beautifully written. Something I’ve been going through as well. I’ve been wondering if a part of my brain has started to erase off data. As a mother of a 6 year old and with all the online classes and everyone working form home, I guess the brain is so overworked with all the noises inside and outside.. :).