Writer’s block


It’s hard to be creative in the midst of a pandemic. With life turned upside down and children at home time inches past from one zoom to another. I didn’t keep a diary last time – a writer’s confession! Here I finally mark the moment.

In our first nationwide lockdown my time was not my time, it was my children’s time and their school’s time and my works’ time. It’s different this time, we know what to expect and for this hour, at least, it’s my time.

It’s become normal to have my work desk in our bedroom and kids zoom classes scattered throughout the day. The twisty feeling in the pit of my stomach lasted a few days, not a few weeks. Every now and then I pause and acknowledge I’m living in the midst of a global pandemic and my mind can’t wrap around that. It’s like I’m looking at the horizon, knowing there’s more to see but my eyes can’t look that far.

That’s how things began for me with a resurgence of Covid-19 in New Zealand. An outbreak was found in Auckland nearly two weeks ago, after more than 100 days of no community transmission. Overnight our city was tipped into alert level three – think lockdown with takeaways. Most shops are closed except for supermarkets, dairies and pharmacies. We can get a takeaway coffee but not sit in a cafe. We stay in our family bubble, keep two meters distance from others in public and our three children are home from school.

It’s become normal again. Cooked breakfasts at the weekend, family bike rides, and the same walk and scooter around Cornwall Park where the kids are drawn to climb the same trees, speed the same downhill and – this time – meander through a field with lambs.

Bike rides are eventful. On our footpaths there are yellow metal lids on top of fire hydrants, with FH in caps. My kids know this to mean “Free Hit” if you cross over it. If they all get to the FH then it’s survival of the fittest until my youngest decides he gets 10 free hits.

I have a roster for most things. It starts as soon as they wake up. I have a post-it note on my bedside table with their names in a row and I tick off who has had their morning cuddle in the middle. Don’t let get me started on zoom meetings. Their zoom meetings are on a schedule – three a day minimum for school then add in ballet, piano and drums. Who gets the Chromebook and who gets my laptop is another hotly debated moot point.

There’s three more days of Lockdown 2.0 left including a weekend – if community transmission throws no surprises – and my kids are back to school on Monday. I’ll miss the sense of family that living in a bubble creates but it’ll be great to see them through the school gate.

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