Oh my goodness, friends...where to begin? The past couple of weeks have been trying, at best, devastating, at worst. It's more-than-strange to now be writing the words "we are in the middle of a pandemic." I've read lots of apocalyptic novels in my day, but they've all felt very fictional. Until now.
In the UK, where I currently live, it's still (as of this moment) somewhat business-as-usual. There is no restriction on movement, like there is for many of my friends in Europe. Schools here are not closed, as is the case for many of my friends and their kids in the US. While people are trying to be responsible, there is no government mandate to self-isolate...yet.
The toilet paper situation, though...
I am thinking constantly of my dear friends, family, clients, and readers all over the world whose realities look more unreal with each passing day.
Perhaps you, like me, are having trouble concentrating, or being creative. Or are too busy thinking of how you're going to get groceries or home-school your kids for the foreseeable future. Or you're feeling like trying to maintain a normal workload is lacking importance at the moment. That's SO okay.
About a month ago, I drafted a blog post to celebrate the 2 year anniversary of A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo (this Wednesday), which now feels pointless. But the book still means a lot to me (and others) and so I think I'll go through with posting about it. Little celebrations, right? And we could all use some gay bunny magic right about now.
We can only try to control what we can, and let go what we cannot. (And probably give ourselves a moratorium on social media for awhile.) For me, I can control getting stuck into the editorial work I currently do have, writing when I feel moved to, revising manuscripts when the spark occurs, and buying picture books. Lots and lots of picture books!
Last week, my husband visited our local indie Blue Bear Bookshop and had an eye-opening chat with the owner about how damaging social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine will be to her small business. And then, upon seeing/realizing that so many authors & illustrators have books releasing right now (and in the coming uncertain months), I felt the need to do something. So I put a call out on Twitter for Spring 2020 authors & illustrators to send me the titles of their books, and I would order as many as I possibly could from our local indie.
I got A LOT of responses on Twitter, which is great because I want to read all the books and help keep Blue Bear Bookshop in business. I ordered 11 current releases, and then if I can do so in April I will go and order more. My plan is to review them here on my blog in the coming weeks, so you can hear about these books and order them from your local indie bookshop, too. Then, I'll probably donate them to local schools and charity shops, so these books can continue to help others.
This is how I am coping with uncertainty: surrounding myself with comforting books and trying to control what I can control. What are you doing to take care of yourself? I'd love to hear from you.
Some #kidlit related suggestions:
- watch lots of children's book authors & illustrators read their books, give drawing tutorials, and more! YouTube Channel here, and a pretty comprehensive list of free kid's book readings, content, etc. HERE
- order audiobooks from independent bookstores through Libro.fm
- order books from independent bookstores through Indiebound (US-only I believe)
- go through the amazing archives of Kidlit 411 for great info on children's book writing and publishing
- join 12x12, which has just reopened it's registration window
Stay safe, be well, & be kind to yourselves!