I’ve Been Away Too Long

I’ve been away from my blog yet I haven’t gone anywhere!

People say that we have to journal our days in the pandemic, but have you find that it’s difficult to do so? I have different journals for each book I’m working on, a prayer/spiritual journal and a general planner one. I checked my planner one and for the most part, I’ve avoided journaling about the darkness of the pandemic. I think one reason is that there’s no escape from it. No sitting down at a favorite coffeehouse to break up your day. No wandering into a movie theater and ordering a big tub of popcorn for a matinee. Even for my regular walks with Tulo, I have to remember to wear one of the masks that are hanging by the door.

So journaling about the pandemic doesn’t seem helpful. Yet it is everywhere, literally everywhere around the globe. This is our shared reality.

Recently I’ve been starting to write about the pandemic for two fiction projects. One is for a new web serial that I’ve created for Discover Nikkei. The other is for the second book, AN ETERNAL LEI, in the Leilani Santiago Hawai’i mystery series.

In the web serial, “Ten Days of Cleanup,” the story revolves around a Marie Kondo-ish “cleanup” expert who agrees to clear out the storage unit of a mystery customer during the height of the pandemic in May. And in the book set in Kaua’i, my protagonist saves a stranger who is unconscious in the waters of Waimea Bay in October when the island was open again to visitors without a full quarantine.

Unlike writing about the pandemic in my personal journal, writing fiction seems to be the way to access my reality. The limitation of sheltering-in-place, social distancing, communicating on phones and Zoom, dealing with masks and sanitizing has a defining role in the plot. In a strange way, I’m able to record my pandemic experience more honestly in this format.

Whether anyone will want to read these accounts, especially after the height of pandemic, is anyone’s guess. But for now, I write and build worlds. In this context, I have full control.

To read the first installment of the web serial, go to http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2020/12/4/cleanup-1/

New installments will appear on the 4th of every month.


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