“You must be getting a lot of writing done now, right?” I got asked that question a lot during France’s two-month mandatory quarantine.
The thing is, not really.
Everybody finds inspiration in different ways, and mine was definitely not through being confined to tiny space with just me, myself, and I.
I did read a lot of books, however. I devoured them. I got through about seven novels, most of which, I enjoyed thoroughly. I watched a hell of a lot of TV and finished quite a few series. I talked to a bunch of my friends online. And I finished editing my first novel. Like, ready-to-be-sent-to-literary-agents finished.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller was my favorite out of the bunch.
I guess you could say my time during quarantine wasn’t wholly unproductive. But it didn’t always involve good habits either. Although I should have turned into one of those health freaks that exercised almost addictively; I did not, as athleticism is not my go-to addiction of sorts. Instead, I ate too much and I vaped too much, both habits of which I am now trying to remedy.
“We’re all developing weird habits,” Maria remarked to me over a much-needed WhatsApp check-in call. Even over thousands of miles away, my old coworker-turned poetry editor remains one of my strongest personal champions, writing coaches, and confidants.
One thing that I learned during quarantine was that, you need to be okay by yourself, to be by yourself. Unlike my other extroverted counterparts, I felt content being alone, not affected by the sense of loneliness and anxiety that so many others faced going into this uncertain time. I was relieved at my calm disposition on the matter, as I recognized that there was nothing I could do to control a government’s response to a global pandemic. The only thing I could control was my attitude. So, I accepted the slow, isolatory pace of confinement.
I made a plan to read 50 pages a day, and I stuck with it. I felt like a little kid again, as I used to read sitting on my mother’s couch, devouring books, without a care in the world. The world felt still, and I was still, with myself.
Smack dab in the middle of Paris’s strict quarantine measures, I turned 29. I had always looked forward to my birthday celebrations being an excuse to bring all my friends together, even though I have a lot less in my vicinity now that I’ve moved abroad and many left this beautiful city in March or earlier. Instead, I was able to spend my birthday with a wonderful friend and eat the delicious food she painstakingly prepared for me. It was a quaint, comforting celebration amidst global uncertainty.
For my 29th birthday I enjoyed a scrumptious brunch and bottomless mimosa prepared by my good friend Brittney.
Reflecting on the turbulence of my 20s and my past, frequently bleak, outlooks on life, I’m proud to say my mentality has changed. Grown, even. And I look forward to the future with bright prospects, despite the difficult predicaments the whole world finds itself in. The completion of my novel manuscript marks the beginning of this next chapter into my life, as I currently query for literary agents. I expect rejections and disappointments, but I no longer dread either of these things.
If there's anything my 20s showed me, is that I do not give up.
And because of that, I know that the inspiration for my second novel will come in due time, as I look toward the door during this period of deconfinement, and position myself to finally walk outside.
What did you do (or not do) during quarantine?