Friday, October 30, 2020

Sailing the Covid Sea

 30th October 2020

I caught Covid way back in January, got very sick for a few weeks, and this was months before "the official" first case. I know I had Covid because once antibody tests were available, I tested positive. I am not the only one with a story like this. Also not unique to me, as a person who makes her life among the arts, is that Covid has forced me into something of a reckoning. It's not that anything has changed much in my daily life: I live rurally; my desk still sits in my office; a superstitious collection of feathers and other lucky charms still hangs over my chair. For me, this hasn't been a time of great privation.  The things I miss, I can do without: travel, an evening of theatre or cinema with a bite to eat after, interactions with whomever, whenever I choose. 

But oddly something has changed. That handy little button on a Smart Phone that flips your phone camera round to your own self, is kind of permanently on these days. I have been looking at my reflection, and I have been seeing what I perhaps haven't up until now been willing to tackle: without the near death experience, a sort of life review. And I see what has motivated me through my many novels and screenplays, has been too much the lure of fame and glory, that shining something always waiting round the next bend. It's why I have written nine novels - if I finished one and it didn't immediately sail into the glory sea, I would start another. It has always been the next one, and then the next one, and no surely this one will make it.

Famous dufus comedian Jim Carrey describes this endless circling succinctly when he writes, "I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer." 

But what is the answer? That is what I have been contemplating during my Covid introspection. I have been asking myself: if fame and glory and their trappings were never to come, would I be content with what I have produced, and even be inspired to keep on writing? Is the art in and of itself enough?

The answer is:  it has to be.  

Jim Carrey again: "The peace that we're after lies somewhere beyond personality, beyond the perception of others, beyond invention and disguise, even beyond effort itself." 

I'm going to spend this Covid time going through my novels again, get them in order. I will come to look at that canon as my contribution to posterity.  Perhaps that is all it ever was and the best we can hope for. I can watch these paper ships I have created. They don't need to reach China. All they need to do is float. 

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