So, why didn’t I?
Nine months into this, I’ve decided to break it down.
In March, when we were all told not to come back to campus, I had this crazy thought: solitude, not driving to three college campuses, staying in the house – doesn’t that all add up to the perfect formula for a writer? It almost sounded like a positive thing, didn’t it back then? And it was going to be – what, two weeks, three, maybe a month?
Then it all hit. The businesses closing, not going out to eat, being scared of grocery shopping – I mean, we were now introduced to the concept of washing our groceries! That was a whole new set of realities. Ugly ones. The counts started getting bigger and bigger. I found myself watching the news with an unfamiliar fervency. I started tracking the progress of this thing, looking at other countries, worrying about if or when it would find me (a cancer survivor in her sixties), how long it was going to be before I could hug my mother, or my kids.
And then there was this whole new concept of teaching in a way I hadn’t really counted on, called “distance learning.” How hard could that be? Hard. Two colleges meant two sets of mandatory training sessions, two sets of new software logins, nearly immediate mastery of new virtual meeting technology, the sudden need for a headset with a decent microphone, and a completely different kind of workspace. I learned that cats have no concept of humans being in meetings.
I nursed students through panic attacks, explained technology, learned how to make embedded screen shots and instructional videos. I gave emotional support to students who lost jobs, lost family members, got sick themselves with Covid-19. I watched valued students disappear, despite my email entreaties and encouragement.
After all that, I found that I didn’t have much “interior space,” or “creative access” left for my own use. My creative mind was hiding.
So, we’ve arrived, nearly, at New Year’s resolution time. I plan to write over the Winter Break. Really. I do.
Lisa Lutwyche is the Secretary/Asst Treasurer of the PWC Board and teaches at Cecil College and Delaware Technical Community College. She lives with her British poet/actor/aero-space engineer husband in the woods of southern Chester County.