On Covid Brain

Did you do anything out of the ordinary on Covid brain?

Dodging the bug had pretty much become a point of pride for me: I’m careful, but also, I think my blood type….

I don’t say it out load often because the pandemic has been very bad for very many.

Whispering… but not for me.

And I dodged the bug for some 28 months since lock down.

Last Sunday, I had increasingly tickly crud in my throat when a friend texted that her + Covid result surprised her because her symptoms were so mild. I broke out my government-issued tests.

Two lines. Positive.

But I stand by my whispered truth.

I’ve been looking for the optimal writer events for over a year. On the 1st day of Covid brain (before I knew it was Covid brain), I finally found two events that resonated. I signed up and sent the money. The cost for these is comfy and the distance is doable by car.

My Covid brain didn’t stop there.

I’m finalizing a residency submission today. It had never occurred to me that I could be boarded with stipend to hole up and write. I want in!

And yesterday, I finalized the funds for an event whose cost and distance are not comfy. They’re Commitment (intentional capital “C”). The yeses to the conference and retreat east of me are confirming yeses and honestly take me sufficiently out of my comfort zone, but this third “yes” is a resounding yes to me, to the I am a writer me.

I’ve written quite a bit about pattern interrupts and being stuck in liminal. I’ve lived it for some six months, twelve if I’m honest. The limbo has become the new routine, the liminal is a completely furnished space now. I wasn’t sure when and how I would find the edge and move beyond these.

Then Covid. I know it’s bad, but I’m grateful. My Covid brain helped me take a step off the Great Plains of 2022 Liminal and into the Discomfort of Commitment and Deadlines:

The conference is the shortest event, but I suspect it will wear me slap out with two pitches to agents, two submission reviews, and one content edit… in the course of about thirty hours!

After a long search, I’m stepping off the edge of the plains, under the limbo bar, beyond the pattern interrupt. No more time to lollygag on the Great Plains of Liminal. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that for my birthday this month my friends gifted me a sky dive. “For your birthday, you get to jump!”

And I will!

I’m uncomfortable, a little terrified, and thrilled. The pandemic is stupid. It’s terrible. But the pause of it all (whispering now) has been good to me.

I’ve shared the links for the events I found because I know what it is to chase the not-quite-defined optimal thing. My mind bends a little when I think that all of these events were available for me to find for the last twelve months, but I didn’t happen upon them until this past weekend. I know it’s not because I had Covid that my browsers finally revealed these particular events. Maybe the revelation couldn’t happen until I became ready. Perhaps that’s how life bends, unfolds, and leads us to new places, unfolding for us when we’re ready.

You might not see mom holding my hand as I walk off this edge and into the next phase, but don’t doubt for a minute that she’s there. She has been holding my hand through this whole retreat-treat selection process.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2022

Originally published at https://www.pennienichols.com on July 29, 2022.

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Louisiana-based author of women’s fiction and sci-fi and World Languages editor.

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Pennie A Nichols

Pennie A Nichols

Louisiana-based author of women’s fiction and sci-fi and World Languages editor.