Story Behind the Poem // day 3

Day 3 // “social distancing”

There are two poems again because Ant is getting a feel for the way I write my haikus and I don’t think he’s a fan.

“It feels like a giant scattered thought. I feel confident in saying that now because it’s the second one like this and it’s only Day 3. I love you.”

– Anthony Paul

He’s not wrong.

I don’t like this prompt. I wanted to skip it. The quarantine, shelter-in-place, social distancing…all of it has given me the quarantine crankies (thanks Elena!) We’re all grieving Things we can’t do–trips are cancelled or post-poned, going out to eat isn’t as simple as it used to be–and our feelings are valid. We are allowed to acknowledge and feel sad/frustrated/angry over trips, people, places, celebrations that we’re missing out on. However, we can’t wallow.

Typically, with a challenge like this if I don’t think I have anything to say on the prompt I’ll skip it and then as a by-product the daily habit of writing or creating goes down the drain.

Today, I was determined not to skip it and break the habit.

I worked on it the last five minutes of my lunch break.

And then just now, after a phone call with a friend, I settled in to write about social distancing.

Social distancing has a negative impact in my life. Our Dungeons and Dragons campaigns have moved online (which is great that they’re still going!), but part of D&D’s magic is sitting around a table with the humans in your party.

Sitting on friends’ couches, talking, listening, watching funny videos…is gone right now.

Mid-week Bible Study is on hold and Monday night Devos (short for devotional) looks different.

Certain people aren’t hugging. Some friends are being more cautious than others.

That’s fine. Really, it is. I want my people to feel safe in setting their boundaries and telling me what they’re comfortable with, but I miss my people. And so, I just have to be more intentional with how I reach out to them.

Then, there’s the added layer that I’m not as concerned (being as…conservative?) as others with social distancing. So, to put my thoughts and feelings out into the world on a subject where All Extremes exist is terrifying.

Thus, why there’s two poems tonight.

Social distancing is a bunch of dreaded things for me. The first draft started out as questions and then moved to listing out events in my life that are still on hold or that look different.

Then on the phone call with a friend, I realized phone calls and intentional text messages were a more common thing now. So , I jotted that down.

Then it morphed into my final version (which actually breaks the 5-syllable “rule” in the last line):

miss/ing my peo/ple // check/in texts, phone calls com/mon // feel/ing hugs, hear/ing laughs

Literally Ant’s thoughts: “It feels like a giant scattered thought. I feel confident in saying that now because it’s the second one like this and it’s only Day 3. I love you.”

[insert laughing crying emojis here]

He came up with this:

miss/ing my peo/ple // dis/tant comm/un/i/ca/tions // sad/ness fills my heart

Cue laughter from both of us because “sadness fills my heart” is a phrase Anthony says all the time.

And so, while social distancing brings up things I miss and I chose to focus on them in this poem, it has brought along a lot of rest and empty evenings during the week, more family time, and a renewed dedication to writing, growing this space, and health.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of social distancing. Our feelings our valid, but we don’t have to wait for hope on the other side of this. There’s hope in the midst of this, too.

How has social distancing impacted your life today?


Writing Process Notes:

8-3-2020

// last 5 mins of lunch break: 58 words. office desk.

// like 1-2 mins during phone call. 31 words.

// 14 mins for the last batch. dining room table, some texts sent, verbal processing with Ant. 127 words.

// typing the blog post. sending the picture to email, saving it, posting to the post, etc. posting on social media. all the things Minutes: 44.5. Words: 694.

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