In This Difficult Time, What Does Writing Mean for You?

I’ve started this Breakthrough at least five times: I have just learned that a friend’s brother has been diagnosed with covid.

One of the most honorable women I know lives with the side-effects of her tenth series of chemo treatments.

A writing co-conspirator is living with his third battle with cancer – cancer in at least three places in his body.

One of my sons learned that a friend died a few months ago from leukemia.

I am afraid to go to the post office to mail my son something he needs. I’m afraid to go into that airless lobby and be in the presence of strangers.

And, even more than I’m afraid to go out into the presence of other people, I’m afraid to work on Falling Toward the Moon. The work isn’t what scares me. I keep opening the book and reading a story free from masks and standing six feet away from other people and the probability of suffocation and death statistics. Cora and Jan and Sunshine and Jaco seem to live in a time longer than millennia ago. They remind me – as I write – of ordinary joy and screw ups and a time so far gone that it is only a lingering echo.

I write you about the truth in my life not to elicit sympathy, but to create an opening for you to write about your connection with your writing at this lacerating time – perhaps not so much lacerating as exhausting. You know what drains you. And, you know which vampires you invite in to feast – and those against which you lock your doors. I know mine too well. They are many, each of them an action I take to block out the anxiety with which I’ve lived since I was a little girl. Most of them lie in the internet. They don’t have to pull me in. They don’t even have to lure me. The power of the internet to alter the brain’s dopamine is a given. This 2012 article from The Atlantic sounds a warning for me – and for you. Ten thousand clicks aren’t enough; one can be too many.

As always, I invite you to write me and the readers of Breakthroughwriting. I hope that you will respond. Rarely do any of you take on this opportunity – so, if you don’t want to write specific to this post, write us about anything, even why you haven’t sent Breakthrough any of your words! Send your words to either or Thank you, m









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