by Cheryl Owen-Wilson
I’m receiving varying messages through my artistic virtual channels. Some of my friends are sheltered in place writing, and painting for hours on end. Their creations, I am certain, will reflect the circumstances surrounding their current reality. Those feelings, those never before felt nuggets, will flow through them onto a blank page, or canvas. For some the message will be easily understood, in full display for all to see, while for others it will be hidden, like the Easter eggs I wish my grandchildren could be searching in my back yard on Sunday.
Then there are those who say they can’t seem to create a thing. I hope for them to have clarity soon, because I find being able to immerse myself in any creative endeavor the best way to soothe my frantic nerves.
Unfortunately, I have not been sheltered in place. But luckily, there are only a few of us working in the now closed facility, and we can easily manage the six-foot distances, and then some. As a small business manager, I have been going to my quiet office and attempting to make sense of with the mountains of paperwork necessary to keep said business viable and able to reopen when allowed. I hope to have dug myself out of this important task by next week. And like many of my creative tribe, I hope to be able to allow myself the grace to not force creativity, permitting it to instead flow easily, and at its own pace.
It seemed fitting since it’s National Poetry Month, and also because this poem begged to be written, that I carve out time to place it’s somewhat chaotic voice upon the page. Is it the poem’s voice, or my own? I leave you with these thoughts to ponder as you read on…
C is for the many closets and cupboards which will be sorted and left spotlessly clean.
Who can sit to write when those cluttered spaces whisper and beg for a bit of much needed hygiene?
But rest assured, when all is put to order, your creativity will kick in.
The laptop, pen and paper, will come out, and your writing will begin.
O is for the oath you took, once self-quarantined,
Yes, we all had this eloquent, if not, foolish dream.
To sit, and not get up until you’ve written at least a thousand words a day,
please for our own sanity, and those with whom you live, let that vow slip away.
I promise it will all be, okay.
R is for the mounds of reading you will undoubtedly get done.
Please don’t forget, when your massive pile is down to one, or none,
remember to support your local bookstores, in any way you can.
After all, when your books were published were they not your biggest fan?
This O is for those organizational skills not so readily seen, but who have now magically been awoken.
Those stories tucked in desk drawers and saved in computer files are calling to you. Send them forth, for they have spoken.
Now that it’s done, don’t you feel better?
No don’t begin to obsess over some phantom rejection letter.
N is for a different type of novel. The one you’ve labored over for years, the one you know needs just one more revision.
Let’s let this one go. Why, you can even call it your pandemic decision.
Think of the mighty fire it will create outdoors.
While you keep a six-foot distance as you roast yummy, melting, smores.
A is for all the other artistic skills you may possess. Rip up that shirt or dress,
and make masks so those in need can stress, less.
Or what about planting something green, be it a flower or a vegetable.
Think of the accomplishment when you’ve grown something deliciously edible.
V is for the victory and validation you will feel,
when one of those stories comes back with a contract deal.
By then I’m certain you will be able to socially celebrate.
But if not, Zoom with willingly hook you up with at least one writing mate.
I is for the insecurities you will have as you sit quietly with all this time to think.
When it gets too much to bare, please call someone before you succumb to that 3rd or 4th drink.
I is also for the abundance of imaginative stories and illuminating art that will be birthed from this pandemic.
I have been assured of this phenomenon by friends both alchemic, as well as academic.
R is for the formidable resilience each and every one of us will possess.
After we’ve come through this arduous cosmic test.
And what about all the budding new relationships that will be born,
as they visited virtual movie rooms, while eating popcorn?
U is for the Universal Unity which will ultimately defeat this foe.
Through our joint socially distancing efforts, we can, and will, stop its flow.
Then think of all the varying stories, from every corner of the world, we will write,
Of the time when human beings around the entire earth stood still, to fight.
S is for the symmetry this virus has allowed us to glimpse.
Dolphins swimming in Venice’s canals is not mere happenstance.
Where once there was death,
Mother Nature has been allowed to take a long, overdue breath.
Now it is up to we the human race to follow suite.
How do you feel about a socially sensible reboot?
What creative projects have you taken up, or completed as you shelter in place?