At the moment I am writing this to you, the world is confusing, chaotic, and inevitably catastrophic.
We are all globally facing a flummoxing, unyielding and dangerous pandemic unlike anything we have had to face before.
In spite of all of our technology, we are unable (at least right now) to halt it from spreading, or tame this menace with a vaccine.
It doesn’t help when world leaders minimize or simply lie about its horrible effects.
It doesn’t help when governments are not protecting their citizens and have failed us not only in this pandemic but as champions for our basic civil rights in other matters as well.
Even in calmer and healthier times, wars appear, riots ensue, heroes are murdered, people suffer.
I was reading a diary of mine recently, written from another era altogether, and in it I wrote my lamentations of what was happening then. Not a pandemic, but other horrible catastrophic events pummeling our planet and people and which I felt powerless to do anything about.
Things really don’t change.
In the past few posts, I mentioned some things writers can do to bolster themselves as individuals during stressful times—the “interesting times” that we are facing, have faced, and will, no doubt face again.
Among them are taking naps and getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising and writing only if it’s not painful to do so.
Reading is good relaxing therapy, as is watching movies simply to mentally escape for the moments when we need an out.
But as writers, we can also find solace with each other.
Most of us are solitary types, so finding a community is difficult, awkward, and frustrating especially when writer-oriented events like conferences or in person author readings have been limited or eliminated because of the pandemic.
The positive side is that whenever anything is happening for writers and by writers, it’s because it’s all online now.
If you are not connected to a writer’s Facebook page, or to one that is associated with a writing group or organization, why not join one?
Facebook and other platforms will advertise online events that you can join and meet other people–virtually.
Recently, I attended a delightful online event featuring a new author being interviewed by a host celebrating a book party and happy hour. Several folks attended and we introduced ourselves and engaged in talking with the host and writer.
It was great fun since we all brought our own special beverages and everyone was friendly, engaged and the book in question was fascinating.
But if meeting and socializing with others even online is still as awkward and painful as it is for many of us shy types, then join online events where you are the audience and not the participants.
There are many, many authors’ readings and interviews happening every day everywhere.
One such event was my attending an interview for a wonderful poet and photographer who also did a reading from her new book.
Another poet and friend, was featured on a reading with local writers and environmental activists taking turns reading and discussing their various works.
These events are usually free and sometimes the hosts will share recordings with registered viewers who could not attend live.
Because so many libraries and writers’ centers are on lock-down, find out what they are offering online since this is now the “new normal” (a phrase that is quickly becoming a cliché) in which writers are in touch with their readers and with other writers.
And if you are simply in need to talk to other writers, why not start a group of your own?
Zoom is free and if you have a website or Facebook page, you can certainly advertise an invitation and shout out to so many, many writers who, like yourself, seek some sanity in these crazy times.
Here are some terrific online events for writers:
Brad King’s Happy Hour & Book Club (Brad also hosts the podcast, “THE DOWNTOWN WRITERS JAM PODCAST:): www.thewriterjam.com
Gotham Writer’s Workshop: Free Zoom events including interviews with writers and agents, plus “write-ins” and more: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mount (the American writer Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, MA) offers many online events with writers: https://www.edithwharton.org/visit/calendar/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-KeF7u2v6wIVVtyGCh27PQqdEAAY ASACEgKItPD_BwE
The New York Times editors host conversations with writers on their Book Review Live events: https://timesevents.nytimes.com/
Writing guru Jane Friedman hosts a free bi-monthly “Sunday Business Sermon” on writing and publishing: https://www.janefriedman.com/sunday-business-sermons/ and https://www.janefriedman.com/online-classes/
“One doesn’t know, till one is a bit at odds with the world, how much one’s friends who believe in one rather generously, mean to one.”—D.H. Lawrence,” British Fiction Writer, Poet.
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