Writing in the Time of Covid
Escaping to the NT from virus-ridden NSW in March, I was confined to home in mandatory quarantine for fourteen days. What bliss! The tropical weather, the smiling faces, the feeling of being safe. Being home alone held no fear for me, being a confirmed introvert.
The isolation and lack of pressure suited my solitary nature. At last my time was all my own, with no places to go, no people to see. What else was there to do but write? At last I could concentrate on finishing my novel, which I’d been struggling with for years.
In spite of not going outside for two weeks, I managed to keep fit by tuning in daily to yoga classes on Zoom. How amazing to follow expert teachers online from the comfort of home, thanks to the generosity of Darwin Yoga Space.
There followed the most productive months, in literary terms, of my writing life. In April I was honoured to be elected Vice President of our NTWriters’ Centre. In May, being shortlisted for the fiction prize for the 2020 NT Chief Minister’s Awards for my novel Capriccio, was a huge thrill. My short story, Procrastination, was accepted for publication in the new print edition of Borderlands, the new NT Literary journal, released here in September.
Attending Board meetings by Zoom was a new experience, and far preferable to travelling into town by bus, car or taxi. I don’t even need to change out of my yoga clothes!
Reading poetry at the Rosella Festival in Adelaide River in July was another great opportunity to enlarge my literary repertoire. In August I was privileged to join other NT poets from rural areas of Darwin at the annual Taminmin Poetry Day. Poetry lovers are so blessed to still attend our monthly Poetry Mornings run by Kaye Aldenhoven, Life Member of the NT Writers’ Centre.
My heart goes out to those who are struggling with loss of income, claustrophobia, anxiety and depression during the time of Covid. But how lucky we have all been to live in the safest place in Australia, while other States experience harsh lockdowns, strict isolation, spikes in the spread of the virus, and deaths.
So I want to express my gratitude to the NT, for keeping me alive, and for giving me the gift of extra time and space in which to write. Fingers crossed, I’ll finish the manuscript of my new novel, A Dangerous Daughter, by the end of 2020.
Finally I am privileged to be taking part in the 2020 NT Writers’ Festival in early October. We in the NT are hugely fortunate to have a real live Festival here in the beautiful George Brown Botanic Gardens. I am eternally grateful to have stayed safe and productive in our wonderful city of Darwin.