I have been beating myself up for all the writing I haven't done. This morning, I read this article which made me feel a bit better--it's got great coping techniques. This part in particular spoke to me:------quote begins-----
“Allow yourself some grace,” said Dr. Danielle Hairston, an assistant professor at the Howard University College of Medicine and the director of its psychiatry residency program. “Change and modify your expectations. Everyone is not starting a new business, a new venture, a new platform, doing new research, a new diet or exercise plan during this time. I think that’s what is portrayed a lot, especially on social media.”
She added: “This country is going through a collective grief.”
The perception that we’re not doing enough, Dr. Hairston said, can be damaging to our psyches and can be a demotivator in itself. An important step of just getting through the day is to acknowledge that it’s normal and perfectly fine not to be productive or motivated.
I wrote to a pastor friend who posted the link: "Thank you for calling our attention to this very helpful essay. I've been beating myself up for what I haven't accomplished instead of celebrating what I can still get done -- of course, this habit of mine is a pre-pandemic one, but it's good to remember that a global pandemic exacerbates the negative consequences of living this way."
I picked up my poetry legal pad today and I haven't been as idle as I think. Plus, I went to the quilt retreat and finished one big quilt and created a baby quilt. I've been sketching each morning. I'm still blogging most mornings. Why do I feel like I accomplish nothing?
In past years, I have done more: more writing, more quilting, more sending out of manuscripts. Of course, in past years we haven't had a plague raging across the country; in past years, I haven't been working for pay in quite the same way.
As I think about the online resources I've been reading and savoring, I'm seeing a theme. There's this essay from Molly Spencer, about how she carved out writing space in tiny bits of time and even smaller spaces, time which finally led to a book, but it's not the process many of us want or expect, that experience of writing time as sacred (and regularly sacred and set apart). There's this essay from Luisa A. Igloria that talks about motherhood and the PhD process.
This morning, I was hunting for a pen and fuming about not being able to find my favorites. I thought about my quilting/sewing friends who protect their fabric scissors with a similar fury. And then, a poem came, one based on this blog post on my theology blog. The poem begins with these lines: "The quilt does not strive / to change itself into a different color."
As always, I'm relieved when I can create more than three lines in one sitting. This poem may be done, but I'm waiting to make sure there's not more. It came rather suddenly, so unlike the poems where I've had lots of ruminating time, lots of composing in my head, there may be more inspiration waiting.