Last weekend my husband cut his finger while replacing the blade on his not-so-safe safety razor. By the time I reached the bathroom, the place looked like a murder scene. We wrapped the wound and hoped for the best. An hour later, it was still bleeding. Next stop: urgent care.
Sitting in the urgent care parking lot was the starkest reminder I’d had that things had changed.
He had to call to enter. Masks were required. His temperature was taken at the door. I was instructed to wait in the car. His wound required four stitches. Fortunately, it’s healing well.
Every day, I hear people say they can’t wait until we can get back to normal. Hell, I find myself saying this. Who doesn’t want to grocery shop without fear or walk the neighborhood mask-free?
What I crave is what Dr. Fauci calls “the original way.” I really like this term. “Normal” means we’re living life wrong. “Original way” suggests variations are acceptable.
I also hear this on a regular basis: My project is no longer relevant. Our world has changed. Pre-COVID stories no longer matter.
Not everything in life has to do with COVID19.
Babies are being born. Careers are beginning. People are dying of non-COVID causes. Somewhere someone is embarking on a fabulous adventure, even if that trip is simply a journey within.
Your project contains a universal truth that’s still relevant.
Find that universal. Stick it on a Post-It note. Read it every day. Write and revise toward that aim. Unclear on your universal? Ask yourself the following question: What’s the one emotion in my story everyone can relate to? Still not sure? Keep writing.
Maybe you’ll find a “new original” for your project.
This new original won’t necessarily include COVID19 or pandemic scenes. Instead, it will retain your original narrative arc while also being sensitive to our collective experiences of fear, loss, and a search for meaning.
If you’re looking for a way to find that new universal, consider signing up for the Thursday section of Writing Through Challenging Times. Class begins on Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 1:00 PM EDT.