June 18, 2021
Monthly Author Check-In: June 2021
What I’m Writing: Hopefuls 3
What I’m Reading: The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (I also recently finished The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams and wanted to give it a shout out)
What I’m Loving: I’ve just discovered art vlogs on YouTube: Cheyanne Barton, Hyemina, and typicallychloe have been early favorites
“And I’m sorry, but I need you to believe me,” Jane said. “Because in just a minute, I’m going to pull up in front of a convenience store and steal their security footage, and I can’t have you running off and calling the cops. Or my mom.”
What a weird month, what a weird time.
Now that I’m fully vaccinated, I’ve started to leave the house and do things again. Nothing wild and crazy—doing my own grocery shopping, getting a long-overdue haircut, clearing out my little-used and oft-neglected P.O. box—but even these small, everyday sort of tasks, the kind I never would have given two seconds of thought to before, have turned surreal as I take in all the changes. In some ways, the experiences are forever altered by the pandemic and everything is weird; in other ways, the experiences are exactly the same, and that’s also pretty weird.
I’m still wearing my mask, of course, and there are a number of pandemic routines that are so deeply ingrained in me by this point that I couldn’t imagine a life where I don’t practice them. But I wonder, sometimes, if the people who’ve had to be out in public this whole time can take one glance in my direction and know that this is all new to me. I’m hyper-aware when I go out of not only how lucky I’ve been to have had the option of socially hibernating for nearly a year and a half, but also how out of practice and unfamiliar I am with everything. I’ve heard of the various safety procedures—the arrows around the store, the markers for where you’re supposed to stand—but I am clumsy when I approach them, constantly wondering if I’m doing things correctly, especially when a number of these restrictions are lifting just as I’m starting to learn how to navigate them. And then there’s the little things: I understood the social etiquette before, when to smile at a stranger, when to reach out and ask an employee for help, and I just don’t know anymore. Did the rules shift, now that we need to stand so far apart? Are there new social cues I don’t know how to read that I am bulldozing rudely over? Exactly how do you smile with your eyes?
Anyway. I’m eternally grateful to be back out in the world, even if I feel somewhat like a new calf still learning how to move with the herd. Like everything else, I’m sure, I’ll get used to it eventually. For now, I’ve just got to keep moving, and know that I’ll find my gait in time.
Also, don’t forget that on July 3rd I’ll be appearing on the Plot vs Story: Balancing Action and Emotion panel of the Exploring Story Structure conference put on by Weeknight Writer’s Chat! This virtual event is free to attend, so be sure to sign up today!