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Turning the Page by Mary Campbell

Writing.ie | Member Blog

Light at the end of the tunnel

Mary Campbell

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Now that restrictions are beginning to lift one wonders what lies ahead. I for one don’t exactly know how I feel about going back out into this new more dangerous world. I have become quite complacent in my little cocoon, safe at home with my family, free to write any time I wish but alas finding inspiration a tad more elusive. Still I have been writing a little just to keep the juices flowing and stave off the anxiety I know many of you share.

The purpose of restrictions were to protect the most vulnerable in our society and safe guard our health services and I for one was and am still 100% on board with all of that. The difficulty however is in coming to terms with our new reality. We have turned a page in the history books and no one seems to know exactly how this story will end. It’s clear to me now that we can never go back to our Laissez Faire way of life and sometimes I grieve for those days. I never stopped to appreciate the pampered freedom I had. The taken for granted permission to meet with friends and travel where I pleased, to eat out and drink in new places and the joyous pleasure of shared music appreciation and expression in thronged concert stadiums are now all relegated to the past. Glorious memories to be passed down to our grandchildren with nostalgia and sadness for what we have lost.

Like lost innocence, or trust, freedom is something that is impossible to replace. As a writer I feel something was stolen from me. In the past I was blissfully unaware of real fear and my mind was once full of words and ideas, with stories and musical lyrics flowing wantonly between my ears hoping to find purchase on the pages I wrote. Anxiety now fills the void left behind by their departure and I wonder sometimes if I have waved goodbye to my creative years altogether.

Even as I write this I am conscious of the negativity on every line and struggling to bring a little lightness into my prose so that my reader does not lose interest in what I have to say. That in itself is the death of freedom. I think only of what the reader wants to read now instead of letting my words flow from the heart. Perhaps this too shall pass and I can only hope that by taking one day at a time and boldly stepping back out into this very different world that faces us all, I may discover new doors opening for me and find myself once again on journeys that will bring about new experiences and opportunities. As I tell myself this the sun streams through my window once again and I tell myself it is an omen, a sign of better things to come and that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Until that day comes I will not venture far from my cocoon as I batten down the hatches for the second wave and pray it is not as devastating as the first. I will not let myself drown. I will ride the wave and see where it takes me hoping that with my pen in hand I can influence the outcome of this story. As a wise person once said the future is unwritten and I for one choose to write a happy ending.

Armistice?

There will be no celebrations
No rush to sink a pint, or raise a glass
Instead we will cautiously emerge from the
safety of our homes fearful of
our neighbor and our fellow man
Looking over shoulders to measure
the distance between us, to discourage
small talk and gossip for fear of
getting close
The fallout will be long lasting
Rebuilding walls that separate and divide
A return to loneliness and isolation
When the purpose of lock-down was to
protect life, but lifting restrictions
won’t change anything for some
More exiled now than ever, dealing
with poverty and loss, and the impending
second wave
Undefeated, the enemy grows bolder
No war was won, no armistice was reached
Truce is but a slight of hand to keep
the peace, to lull the people into a false sense
of security, so the wheels of capitalism
can keep on turning, to allow economies to breathe
while their most vulnerable can’t, and while the tally
of victims keeps on rising, there is no
end in sight.

Mary Egan Campbell June 2020

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