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Where in the world is Alex?

tl:dr – If all I can do is write and help take everyone’s minds off this horrible disaster, then I’m going to do that.

If we’re friends on social media then you probably already know that I haven’t been around very much, not for the last two weeks particularly, but even since Christmas I’ve been not been posting regularly in my readers’ groups, keeping up with blog posts, or being 100% engaged with everyone. And since the whole global pandemic kicked off it’s been kind of hard to do much more than anxiety-scroll/doom surf through the news, obsessively check to see if the curve is flattening, and overshare every new bit of information I come across.

So after two solid weeks of panic attacks and eating my feelings, I’ve decided that now is the time to stop and try to get back to something like normal. Which is not the same as sucking it up and getting on with things, I might add. As someone who has been socially isolated before it was cool and dealing with some chronic mental health issues—which will quite frankly never be cool—I know there is a time to lay around on the floor in the same cheesecake-stained pajamas you’ve been wearing for a week, and there is a time to stop that, take a shower and water your houseplants before they all die.

This is not a great time for productivity when it comes to the creative stuff. There are plenty of posts and memes about how all the bullshit being spouted about using quarantine to learn a new skill or write a novel it’s just that; bullshit. (“Never lacked the time, just lacked the motivation”? Go f*ck yourself) People are anxious for themselves and for their families, and for how this will all play out in the end. And that feeling is grief in a way, the loss of certainty of how the world is supposed to work and fear of what the hell is going to happen next. That emotion isn’t something you can get over or get past by willpower alone. It needs to play out—to wear itself thin—until you can start to feel something else again.

Ignoring the scale of this disaster, the disruption to me personally is in a way just another bump in the road. I could argue that I have an advantage, not only in my surfeit of toilet roll, but in that I experience this kind of lack of certainty and the resultant physical and mental paralysis that comes with it on a semi-regular basis due to my ASD. It’s practically seasonal ’round here.
This time last year I was having to deal with the Word Dragon being profoundly ill and almost losing her. I spent months just sitting and watching her, waiting for her condition to improve or to let me know it was time for her to go. I couldn’t do anything, and all my plans for the year had to adapt to help me deal with that.
When I was talking to someone just after Christmas, explaining the plans I had made for this year and for next—all my word count targets and the books that I was going to be publishing—I jokingly said that my plans had to be vague just in case something disastrous happened like in 2019. The fact that they told me I was a pessimist and actually use the phrase—and I quote—”what’s the worst that could happen?” has left me leaving the blame for this whole crazy Covid thing firmly at their feet. Talk about tempting fate.

But in much the same way as I had to drag myself out of my funk last year and get back to it, I’m doing it again today. Not because I have some amazing strength of character or anything, it’s just simply time. And I’m surprised actually. Sometimes this feeling—’frozen watchfulness’ is a term, ‘shutdown’ is another—lasts weeks and weeks so the fact that today I finished 1k words, and did a bit of exercise, and remembered to water my plants, is a bit of a minor miracle.

Of course, I’ve been through this before, so I know that it’s not as simple as simply picking up where I left off. I haven’t posted in my readers’ groups for weeks, so if my readers haven’t totally forgotten who I am, then the algorithm which actually shows people my posts will certainly have. Which means it’s gonna be a long hard slog to getting back in touch with people on social media which is my only way of marketing. Again. I’ve got three books that need to be finished right now, and two more that need to be written by the end of the month, so I’ve got plenty of work to be getting on with that can’t really wait.

But until I have books to actually share with everyone, I’m definitely going to stop acting as if “the event” is the only thing going on in the world. In fact, I think in my readers’ groups I’m going to pretend it isn’t happening at all. There will only be hot guys and happiness and love because that fixes everything. Well, most things, at least.

So, for the time being, this is the last time you’ll hear Covid-19 coming out of my mouth, and from now on it’s going to be hot dads/murder husbands, depending on which of my books you’ve been reading. Because let’s face it, if I have one job, it’s to lure everyone’s minds away from reality for a little while. I can’t help in any other way, so I’m going to do that as long as I can.

Be safe. Stay inside. Wash your hands. And if you’re feeling lonely, remember, I’m hugging you with my brain right now ♥

Not my image but if you know who made it, please let me know! P&T x

Alex’s Aficionados
Love…but darker
Alex Jane – Author


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