Today is one of those uncompromising days with skies the colour of steel. Everything is grey, wet and withdrawn. It’s a day to retreat inside, draw something warm around you and turn your back on the rain that drips relentlessly on the balcony.
I watch the seagulls gliding over the harbour and I wish I could fly like them. For more than ten days we’ve been cooped up inside, and today for the first time I find myself frustrated. The frustrations of a mother who can do nothing to take away her child’s pain, nothing to make him instantly better, just be there and take care of him as this virus runs its course. And mash more bananas.
I want to write this all away. I want to write about sunshine, about warm breezes and cool glasses of wine in Parisian squares. I want to let myself feel the dry heat of a desert afternoon, the hot sun surrounding me as I sit outside the Dubai Mall. And if I can’t have that, I want a real winter. I want snow. I want to see the harbour freeze, the ice thick enough to walk across. I don’t want grass and gravel outside my window, I want it all blanketed in white, and my son well enough so we can be out there enjoying it together.
The advantage of being a writer is having the ability to do that. To write our ways out (yes, Hamilton lyrics are still running through my head at night and Hurricane haunts my days) because our minds can create whole new worlds for us. Whether it’s a single scene, a dream sequence, a short story or an entire epic novel, we can create the lives we want on paper and let our characters live them even if we can’t. We can write the dreams we believe we’ve lost, and chase them with our words. With nothing more than a notebook and a pen, we can access a million lost worlds.
Especially on days like this one, when the best place to be is deep inside a book with a cup of something warm beside us.
What do you want to write yourself out of?