Writing Your Way Through a Pandemic: Your COVID-19 Journal is waiting to be written
You are already keeping a pandemic journal of sorts. Take a look at your 2020 calendar.
Starting in March, mine is a pattern of large Xs wiping my schedule clean of Book Club, friends coming over for dinner, visit to Botanic Garden, and ten other things, all cancelled.
By April it was Zoom calls instead: weekly Family Dinner call, storytelling event, epic 25-person family call, and more.
May brought the unusual – a Zoom seminar about Sandhill Cranes coming through, a Zoom call with a dear old friend, checking in.
By June, I had stopped crossing things out – it was routine now to have no expectations – and I was getting a little tired of Zoom.
Now in July, I look ahead and see the hopes recorded there that cannot be – the visit from old friends that would have ended today now postponed until next year, the trip to Iowa for 2 weeks of writing classes replaced by a virtual weekend writing workshop, the annual 4th of July Siblingfest at a lake house replaced by a Zoom call. Not the same, to say the least.
How are you keeping track of this startling and devastating time? Here are some writing prompts to choose from if you care to record your experience for yourself, or for future generations. (Imagine the delight of a descendent who comes across your 2020 Pandemic Journal in a few decades.):
How did it first hit you that this disease would take us over?
What has been your hardest adjustment? Your easiest?
What are your best coping strategies?
What is your work life like right now?
Who have you lived with? What has that been like?
Who have you not been able to see?
What has changed in our country due to the pandemic? For the good? For the bad?
Describe your emotional journey.
What have you learned about yourself?
What has this experience taught you; what do you know now that you didn’t before?
How has this changed you?
How much or how little do you feel at risk from the virus? When and where do you feel the most vulnerable?
Who is your favorite expert on the virus? Your favorite leader?
What is the greatest loss you have experienced due to the pandemic?
What has kept you going?
Do you think this will be a turning point for you? How will you be different?
What will be your greatest pleasure when we can finally be free of restrictions?
Give it a try. We may be quick to forget.
First published at ChicagoNow.com