I’ve been learning a lot about myself during this pandemic. One discovery is that optimism is required fuel for my creativity. Not that I am a Pollyanna or one of those “good vibes only” folks. (Please. I survive on snark.) But there’s something about being able to trust in one’s future. That trust let’s you relax and, in that relaxed space, creativity is freed. Of course, I know that nothing is guaranteed. We now know how quickly things can change. But, up until November 2016, we had the luxury of putting a little bit of faith in how our world would look, what we could depend on, an idea of what the future would hold.
Then, that all went to shit.
This year has been unimaginable. I mean, really. People put stuff like this in movies or books (or conspiracy theories), but this is not how the developed world should work…if we have actual intelligent, mentally stable and emotionally secure adults running the place. Sadly, we are in a great big orbiting clown car right now. And I’ve found I cannot write inside of that.
This isn’t writer’s block. My third novel is still alive and growing, scenes of it flashing in my mind, but I’ve been stunted in the past 3.5 years. I’ve come to understand how depleted I am. I need a certain level of joy and things to look forward to in order for that creativity to make its way out of me.
I suppose it’s as simple as needing to feel safe, to trust that I can be vulnerable enough to open myself up…that’s the only way the story can be let out into the world and onto the page. Try as I might—and I have tried—I just haven’t been able to find that space.
Creativity is funny, though. It will find a way to manifest. Trick you into it, if it must.
Since the pandemic began, one thing that’s been a pressing need is to be of service. With asthma as a pre-existing condition, I have to limit my exposure to COVID and, thus, people. I wondered how I could find a purpose from the safety of my sofa.
For the past couple of years, I have flirted with the idea of doing a podcast. There was a false start with a good friend a while back, but our enthusiasm was dashed by schedules that couldn’t align. Flash forward to 2020 and a pandemic; suddenly, my Fridays were free. I was able to pick up a Zoom recorder and mics for a bargain from a business’ “estate” sale (foolishly thinking we’d soon be able to see people in person). Now that Zoom recorder serves as a pre-amp for my Zoom video chats. Fridays are spent interviewing amazing people, editing audio and doing show notes.
On October 1st, the podcast launches. I’m a little giddy about it. I’m talking to experts, celebrities and every-day people about topics that we tend to avoid or aren’t sure how to address, and situations that may have seemed insurmountable, but someone made it through them. I’m learning a lot, and laughing a bit, and enjoying meeting new people who have been very generous with their time and willingness to talk.
Each Wednesday, a new episode will drop. So far, the topics have been: shame, sexual insecurities, single stigma, climate change, ageism, financial fears, relationship challenges and disability indifference. Soon, I’ll record interviews on mental illness, food addiction, ego and toxic happiness.
I’ve been recording interviews since the end of July. Last week, I took “vacation” from my day job and, for the first time in nearly two months, I didn’t have an interview to do. And I missed it. I found myself looking forward to something again. And, wouldn’t you know it, I went back to work on that third novel.
If you are looking for a connection, a chance to learn and laugh a little, please tune in. The podcast is available wherever you like to listen. Even here.