Composition and Contagion: Days 2-4

When I promise to write something daily, inevitably, I will fail. This is proven by my illustrious fiction writing career that is, somehow, invisible. In this instance, I have a good excuse. We had to take a family member to the hospital Tuesday due to a stroke. What, up until a few weeks ago would have been an immediate decision, this time was weighed with the possibility of Covid-19 infection. But you don’t mess with a stroke, so they went.

Thankfully it was very mild and they are safe and sound. But we can’t visit, no one can visit, and getting information has been spotty. We can talk to our loved one, but have trouble getting in touch with staff. Understandable, yes, but frustrating too.

So these last few days have been overshadowed by this stressor, the rearrangement of items from front to back burners, the constant tempering of my own anxiety to retain composure (which sometimes fails, but not terrible, yet) and worrying about my English Comp students, the majority of who I haven’t heard from yet.

I’m lucky to have a tiny class, but that also means I feel more connected to them and when they’re not responding, I worry. Granted, they are getting inundated with emails not just from their professors but the university with their constant updates, closings, schedule changes, grading changes, etc. I think administration has to curtail the “status” emails of encouragement that, while thoughtful, only clog our already traffic heavy digital lives.

Just post cat memes in the university twitter account. At least for now.

No. Not like this…

My own coursework has been far from my mind as well, but that has to change today. While everyone has been flexible (these are the times we live in) there are some remnants of a strict schedule here and there. Adhering to a schedule would be best for my ADHD-brain, but I have to find the discipline — and energy, and motivation, and hope — to make one.

The days are going to run together, no sense of weekend or weekday for the next few weeks and I think that will have to be necessary. I can feel the pull of falling behind, of lagging in despair, of less sleep, less activity, of depression. The solitude isn’t the problem, it’s the removal of audience. Without people watching me work, how do I know its time to work? (Yes, Zoom hangouts are a thing, but they can be far more distracting than helpful.)

I am Schrodinger’s Teaching Fellow – am I on track? Am I behind? You have to open the box to find out. But bad things happen when you go around opening boxes…

Wash your hands!

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Writer, teacher, PhD student, former web developer, jerk

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