The Pandemic has been both kind and unkind to my writing career. For one, I stopped looking for a job and decided to pour my heart into being a freelancer. This has had medium results. But there have been some victories.
One victory came in the form of a community writing project. Back in January or February, I became aware of a writing workshop being run through my local library. The workshop was attached to a larger project – Writing the Rollercoaster. The idea was that residents, former residents and others with ties to Burlington would submit a personal narrative story about something that happened to them during this pandemic.
I was missing the creative aspect of writing and searching for something to do, so I signed up for the workshop.
After the workshop, I had to sit down and start thinking about topics that I could write about. Though unemployment and working from home seemed like an obvious choice, I felt like it wasn’t big enough. I decided to go with the event that changed me the most, and that was my decision to participate in the Solidarity March through Burlington after the murder of George Floyd.
The march came at a time when we were still in lockdown, so I had my reservations about participating. It was this discomfort that I wanted to convey in my piece that I would submit to the project.
I started writing, first on a scrap of paper, then started typing my words into a doc on my computer. I had friends review it for grammar and content, then I crossed my fingers and pressed send – submitting it for review.
Fast-forward to Spring-Summer 2021. I am contacted by the lovely editors of the collection letting me know that my story, which I titled “Necessary Discomfort,” had been chosen as one of the stories that would be published in the book.
This past Saturday was the launch of the Writing the Rollercoaster book. I was so proud to hold it in my hands and read my name in print. I was happy to pass on copies to my loved ones, who were proud of me.
My biggest takeaway from this was that I love what I do. I love storytelling. I like telling my stories, but others’ as well. Writing can be therapeutic. Sometimes just the simple act of getting the words down on a page is enough. But, now, knowing that other people will read my story makes me smile. Maybe they’ll read it and feel empathy, or maybe they’ll disagree with me. Either way, I hope my story makes people feel something.