Most residents of planet earth dealing with the threat of Covid-19 are either sheltering in place, masking up, or living with risk.
In Sonoma County, a place that one SuperOptimist calls home, it’s a quintuple threat: Corona, wildfire, toxic smoke, unusual heat, and power outages. The fallout from the largest fire in local history renders the air so toxic with smoke that one must close all windows and stay inside sweating profusely, and it’s especially bad when the rolling blackouts render the air purifiers useless.
This situation can be looked at as a being dealt an incredibly bad hand — or as a time of magnificent opportunity and challenge. The challenge being to avoid distraction from fear and media noise and put all your focus on the creative work you’ve been meaning to tackle.
Resistance to this challenge comes in a thousand forms. Aside from pandemics, wildfires and blackouts, a few favorites are self-doubt, financial worry, health fears, life mistake rumination, vast depression, physical exhaustion, booze or substance reliance, dull-witted family members, and general public stupidity. Oh, and politics. These are ideas espoused by Steven Pressfield in his book “The War Of Art.” In short, you’ll face heavy resistance the minute you sit down to begin.
Joyce Carol Oates said that the greatest enemy for writers is interruption. So maybe being trapped under your mask in your room is not a problem but an opportunity. Lock yourself inside and write the novel you have put off for the last five years. Close up the studio door and do the ten epic paintings. Stop paying attention to all the hot noise, inflamed tweets, dull nonsense and jabber. Ask yourself: did worrying about the outside world ever do you any good? Nope.
Maybe it’s time to live in that small world between your ears and see what kind of excitement you can stir around up there in the cerebral cortex. Maybe it’s not that small after all.
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