Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Writer in Lockdown - thoughts on Covid 19

Well, I suppose it's not that different from normal for those of us who survive on our writing income. I spend most days in the office working, or pretending to, stop at about 4 pm for a cuppa and a read on the sofa, cook dinner for between 6.30 and 7 and then watch television until bed. BUT. If I want to I can go shopping - supermarket, high street shops, big shops in Canterbury or farm shops. And if someone rings me up and says "fancy a drink?" I can say yes, put on a bit of a face and nip down the pub. Well - hobble, if truth be told, but the intention's there. And I can "Go Up West" to the theatre - as the girls and I did the day before the whole thing kicked off. We went to see City of Angels, which was wonderful - and, as I've got used to, someone one of them knew was in the production, this time in the orchestra.

Anyway, those are all things that I, and most people, took for granted. And suddenly we couldn't do any of it. Lou and I had a plan mapped out for productions we were going to see over the coming months. Phillipa, having just got back from a month entertaining rich people on a cruise ship, was about to go on tour. Lou had concerts planned. Miles had gigs planned for the whole year. Leo's book comes out this month, without the events it was going to have, and his American wife Carrie was due here at the end of the month. We are all, as a family, self employed, and the kids are now completely without income. Lou's partner is also a pro musician, so no hope there, then. In my household I am the sole earner. See last post on Fiscal Matters.

The consolation is that people are beginning to read more, and ebooks are essential. Book shops are closed - our local independent is now closed for good - and the warehouses are struggling, so ebooks are a lifeline. I will carry on saying I'm lucky, because I am. I have been offered, and accepted, a three book contract with Headline, my new publishers, although I haven't signed on the dotted line yet. All their employees are working from home, so things are taking longer than usual. This is due to my agent Kate Nash, someone I have known for years, but with whom I've only just formed this highly beneficial working relationship.

Meanwhile, I'm desperately trying to work on the short I'm writing for inclusion in a sort of anthology with five other writer friends. It's proving desperately hard - but whether that's the effects of the virus or just of laziness, I'm not sure...

Keep safe, everyone.


Antiques And Teacups said...

We never thought we would be living through this... it is like a world war... including the entire world.... and we are all in our backyard tin air raid shelters waiting for the bombs to drop... only it is for an attack of a miniscule virus particle. I hope your whole family are all applying for the self employed benefits. We are a bit better, as our main income is state pensions, and those haven’t stopped. And with my husband’s Parkinson’s Disease we had become home bodies in the last year, but... it is hard to be isolated... and your books have helped immensely! Our daughter and son in law were due to arrive to us April 1st from another state and begin building their house on land they bought last year. That is the biggest disappointment. I thought the Queen’s reference to We’ll meet Again...a propos and poignant.
Stay healthy, and keep writing. We need you more than ever!

Lesley Cookman said...

Thanks, Ruth, and I'm glad the books have helped. I do hope you and your husband stay as well as can be expected, and I'm so sorry about the delay to your daughter's plans.

I agree with your comment about the Queen. Despite so many disapproving of our Monarchy, I feel she tries to do and say the right thing, whatever the government does.

And I'm glad to be doing such an infinitesimal "bit"!

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