Musings, Published Stories

Writing about the mundane (and coronavirus)

My teacher Radel used to tell us that the mark of a good writer is to write about a topic that is dull and mundane (like gardening or collecting stamps), and still magically weave it to be compelling and meaningful to the reader.

So today, I’ve decided that I’m going to write about being bored.

Not that I have much of a choice. These days, we’ve been living life like an Edward Hopper painting: self-isolating, but oddly comforting, and introspective. Collectively it is decided to go into solitude and so we attempt to seek comfort in it. The days seemed to have blended; and the weekends, nebulous. At the very least, staring perennially at the white walls have given me more vivid dreams at night.

That is about the most romanticized bs I can give to detailing my totally nondescript quarantine. I’m a storyteller...of course I’m totally going to embellish my quarantine stories to my future grandchildren.

The longer this is becoming, the more resentful I have become. I’m starting to resent people in my feed who are doing good for themselves during this lockdown. Baked focaccia bread? mute. Meditated and found inner peace? mute. Hugs and breakfast this morning with bf? mute and fucking report.

Not that this is anything new to me. I’ve been constantly bored before, especially during the empty days of summer break in my childhood, the parents are at work and the helpers didn’t want anything to do with us.

And this was back the nineties. Our household didn’t have the internet then; nor a computer; nor stable electricity (…that sadistically enjoys to have their blackouts during the time of my favorite cartoon show).

And so we filled most of those days with drawing, reading and play pretend–this was really the time when kids still wanted to be astronauts and not YouTubers when they grow up.

I remind myself that I should be thankful that I have the luxury to feel ‘bored’. Our ennui is petty and trivial compared to the weighty responsibility the front liners have to carry everyday. Overworked and underpaid; those who practice medicine get up to work everyday in order to save lives and run into the high risk of getting sick themselves. (off-topic, why do doctors say they ‘practice’ medicine, aren’t you supposed to be good at this already?)

So now, rather than bask in self-entitlement, I decided to do as what an 8-year-old me would be doing, unplugged. Que horror! How am I supposed to churn something with a physical pen and paper–can I even write manually nowadays? Is my penmanship still legible? Could I actually write without a grammar checker Chrome extension? Can my attention stay focused without the disruption of my Twitter news feed; or the gay cowboy with a mullet?

Is there even something for me to write about? I haven’t traveled this year; and it seems like I wouldn’t be traveling anything soon. I feel paralyzed to not be able to write about strange stories from faraway places…

Fortunately/unfortunately, we live in a crazy weird time when toilet paper is coveted, bleach is a perceived cure, and immunologists gets death threats and secret admirers.

I shake my head as world leaders embarrass themselves yet again in world stage, and thank God I am a writer to cap my sanity; else I would probably need to make a beeline to a therapist once this is all lifted.

(I might still do.)

I thought 2020 was supposed to be a year of clarity, like perfect eye vision. Maybe writing about the mundane can equalize the absurdity of it all.

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