How I’m Coping With The Pandemic

So, I know it has been for everyone, but things have felt beyond surreal to me these past weeks. I was just in San Antonio for the AWP writing conference, where I had an amazing time! San Antonio is beautiful with a river running through it, like Venice. My purpose for going to the convention, even though it was almost nearly cancelled, was to gain insight on how to turn my novel into a screenplay. I was more than rewarded when I was able to talk to a screenwriter, novelist, and professor for nearly an hour. He gave me amazing tips, recommended books and contests. It was like getting a feast after dreaming of a snack. I was also able to perform and have dinner with amazing writers and was in a fantasy land of beautiful possibility.

Anyway, so I get back from San Antonio on Tuesday the 10th, and it’s suddenly Armageddon in the Bay Area! I was so confused, seeing messages about sold out toilet paper and people stealing hand sanitizer and social distancing and borders and schools about to be shut down. I felt like Rick, from the Walking Dead, how he wakes up from a coma in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. I had barely unpacked, much less processed what I would need to survive a forced quarantine, and it was upsetting. I felt myself panic when I went to Target and the selves for paper products were wiped clean. Was I supposed to have a ton of toilet paper? Is that how you survive these times?

I’m doing my best to stay on top of the major things in my world, namely approvals for my novel, while trying to be gentle with anxious myself and not panic, because this is distressing! I have never seen the whole world shut down. This feels more like a science fiction doomsday episode of Black Mirror than I would like. How do we press reboot on 2020!? The truth is, there’s only forward, friends.

I choose to feel hopeful, that what we build together from this forced stop will be better than before. I choose to feel useful, and am reaching out to friends and family with positivity and love. I want to use my gifts for good during this time, and am planning to conduct an online writing support group during this very weird down time. I truly hope each of you and yours are well during this pandemic. Stay strong, stay creative, stay safe. Times are surreal.

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Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70% Jedi, 30% Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award winning performing storyteller, alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and creator of the podcast ‘The Black Girl Magic Files’, Yodassa (Yoda) launched ‘Writers Emerging' in 2019, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color. In 2020, Yodassa's debut YA Fantasy, The Goddess Twins, will be published by Spark Press. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in the Bay Area.

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