Site icon Margaret McGoverne

Getting Creative with the Coronavirus

I’ve had asthma since my teens, nearly forty years now. It lurks, ready at the lack of a coat to remind me of how it’s compromised my respiratory system. A mild cold in December mutated into a chest infection that hung around like an oblivious, unwelcome guest for nearly a month. Needless to say, I’m limiting my contact with people; fortunately, the company I work for has just announced that all upcoming meetings will be via Skype, so I won’t have to brave the mainline train into London and the intimate body horrors of the Northern line.

I don’t do well in crowds, so my leisure time is usually taken up seeking out spaces that are people-free, but I do like to get out. Facing an uncertain period of time mainly limited to home, I made a list of things I can do and divided it into writing and non-writing activities. In seeking inspiration, I googled the hobbies of famous writers, to see if any aligned with mine.  I concluded that drinkin, huntin, boxing Ernest Hemingway and I are two circles with no overlap whatsoever!

Pandemic-Friendly Activities (Non-Writing)

Writing Stuff To Do While Isolated

Not all my writing stuff involves actual writing, and I promise that isn’t more procrastination.  Here’s some ideas for fellow writers to use their social distancing time wisely:

And finally…

What I’m NOT Doing While Waiting Out the Pandemic

Reading back the list above, I’m struck by how many hobbies and interests I have, and how little time I allow myself to indulge them. In his essay England Your England, Orwell writes that a key characteristic of the English is their “addiction to hobbies and spare-time occupations…we are a nation of flower-lovers, but also a nation of stamp-collectors, pigeon-fanciers, amateur carpenters, coupon-snippers, darts-players, crossword-puzzle fans.” Orwell sees in the English love of hobbies a celebration of the individual, the “liberty to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above. ”

World wars, famine, and pestilence haven’t quenched the human need for pastimes and hobbies, maybe because they do symbolise that ultimate liberty to choose for ourselves. And maybe, for a short while, and in these unusual times, we can use the opportunity to indulge them, and maybe even discover some new ones.

Exit mobile version