The ‘Covid’ did a very weird thing to my writing process.  When things of such historical significance should be written about, especially at the “grass roots” (code for poor people) level, I couldn’t write about it at all.  

The Lockdown

My life was whittled down to the barest version of itself.  It was just me and the husband, “Scotty too Hotty”, together, alone as our kids are grown and gone.  The rest of the fam were zoomed in every week for designated making sure everyone was okay time and the hilarity of watching people struggle with technology and trying not to laugh.

Mr Perfect

Scotty too Hotty was working from home and commandeered my writing cabin.   
My Scotty is a creature of habit and schedule.  He got up every morning at the same time, showered, dressed for work, even though his office was now ten steps outside our front door.  He gave himself designated morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea times and kept to them, also he didn’t finish until all his work for the day was done.  (Yes that is the annoyingly perfect person that I live with)
So, instead of the higgledy-piggledy way in which I negotiate the world of my workdays, where everything is pie in the sky hopefulness, I had 'structure' 
I got my claws on his garage, which became my workshop and writing studio with his 42 inch tv for a monitor (and while I got my writing cabin back, he will never ever get his TV or garage back) and for two weeks I sat at the desk and stared at the screen...but I couldn’t write.
He bought me cups of coffee and we shared his designated breaks and I made us elaborate lunches.

I still couldn’t write.

Writing about 'The Covid' seemed so, so, so wrong and writing about anything else seemed even more wrong.  Who cares about life before the world changed in such a brutal way, and who am I to write about it when I live an uncomplicated, privileged existence? 
Out there, in the real world, people are losing everything.  My empathetic heart was being battered by guilt but...

I could not write.

My sister started an online ‘Rewena Bread’ facebook page that turned into a full on sustainable whole-food ‘movement’,  My brother was running the world from his fortress... My husband turned his works curriculum into online classes and I...


I made fairy houses....

My manuscripts languished in their hard drives and I turned our winter woodstore into tiny houses with dried flowers, leaves, seedpods, glue hammer and nails. 
I loved it, and everyday, bright eyed and fluffy tailed, as nothing about me is bushy, I would wake up rearing to go and I would work my fluffy patootie off and finish work exhausted but inspired.

Then slowly a narrative emerged. 

I wasn’t just building fairy houses.  They were emergency refugee housing for all the forest spirits made homeless by the motorway extensions, housing developments and deforestation.  Children,  the kaitiaki of the natural world, as they still believed in magic,  were being asked, in their dreams, to hide these houses in their gardens so that there was a safe place to keep nature spirits safe.  

Lights at the other end

A story emerged.  It was from another world, a timeless place and  it had nothing to do with the Covid because it had nothing to do with the reality of what was happening in this world.  It was out of step, because magic is eternal and we, humans, are not.  We are, as we should realise, a tiny part of the tapestry of the universe.

So, a little boy, Charlie,  his mother and sister have has to go stay on his grandparents farm in the country because of Covid.  On the edge of the farm there is a strip of untouched bush which is tapu that his grandfather protects, but won't say why.  The  neighbour on the opposite side believes that he owns the land and want's it bulldozed as he blames the swamp at the centre of it for his sick animals and wants it

  • Who is the little girl who keeps turning up in Charlie's dreams and what does she want?
  • Who or what is causing the racket in the Attic that only Charlie can hear?
  • Why is there light coming from the swamp?
  • What is going to happen when Charlie's grandfather gets ill and can no longer do the secret things he is doing out in the fields at night?
  • Who is their new mysterious neighbour and why does he want the bush destroyed?
Sputtering into the future with no hugs

The end of lockdown is scary.  As we venture into the midst of other peoples space and potential "DEATH" the stress of contacting a stray Covid19 germ terrifies me.  I refused to go anywhere or be around anyone.  Then I realised that my husband is a teacher, who travels around New Zealand coming into contact with hundreds of people and I am...well...fucked really. 
I'm not going to social distance from him am will I get my cups of coffee.
So, as we in New Zealand get out there blinking into an uncertain future,  trip, fall, get up, dust off, and sputter toward a new normal as the rest of the world is going back into lockdown, writing about the Covid still seems wrong.   
writing about a little boy who has to deal with a pandemic as a magical world appears on his doorstep is one way for me to deal with it.


I can hug my cat...

Love Axxx