No, I won’t be writing my version of King Lear

No, I won’t be writing my version of King Lear

In the light of potential or actual self-isolation, lock-down or general quarantine, there have been a lot of comments, posts, memes and articles about how various historic figures used the time in quarantine to produce masterpieces. Shakespeare, for example, wrote King Lear while quarantined during the Plague. Isaac Newton worked on various theories while Cambridge University was shut for two years for the same reason.

I have seen lots of posts encouraging others to take advantage of the time spent at home quarantined or in self-isolation. Time to learn something new, time to write your next book, or meditate or read those hundred books we’re all supposed to read before we die. Indeed, if you can focus on something like that, I can think of no better use of the extra time. Better probably than tidying and cleaning cupboards.

There’s a reason why dear Will managed to write Lear during that time: he knew he’d need to have something new when life returned to normal because that was how he earned his living. Newton had means to live; he could afford to hole up in a family-owned house and just focus on his work. He also had no wife or children to concern himself with. He will have had servants to do the house work and cooking for him.

If you have lived with anxiety, both generalised and specific, these times are hard. I’m finding it hard to concentrate on anything. I’d love to be able to knuckle down and continue to write. Maybe as time goes on I will. But the added pressure of somehow now expecting myself to produce my greatest works NOW, simply doesn’t help. Indeed, I cannot but wonder that it might sour the work I produce because of unreasonable expectations.

Here’s my advice. Focus on caring for yourself and those around you; that may include creative enterprises, and since those can be extremely healing and calming, it would be wonderful if it did. But if it doesn’t, don’t beat yourself up about it. No one needs the extra pressure of false expectations.

Love to you all.

6 thoughts on “No, I won’t be writing my version of King Lear

  1. My biggest concern during the Great “LockDown” is exercising. I finally got into a routine to go to a gym and walk on a treadmill over the past six months. I have been averaging more than two miles a day.

    Now the gym is closed. And I gotta walk around my neighborhood in the full sun and North American air seeing people walking nearby and some even jogging. I see lots of dogs with their handlers passing by and everyone appears to be friendly and without masks on their faces.

    Hey, this ain’t so bad. I even found a store that had toilet paper available!

    What an adventure to tell our grandkids when they ask about the Days of the Corona . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • My gym is (so far) still open but I have stopped going, simply because a) the sprays to clean your equipment got nicked the other week, which makes me concerned about so many aspects and b) related, while I think the older members may be sensible, there are a lot of muscle-men who strike me as liable to be less than responsible.
      We have a cross-trainer belonging to my daughter (who is now trapped in Germany) so I can use that, and also, plenty of quiet places to walk if I feel like it.
      Enjoy your walks. they’re often the best way to get to know a place. And stay well, old friend x


  2. You are right: it is really hard for those of us who suffer from anxiety and its relatives… You are also right to critique any jolly confident people who are saying, something like, Never mind, lots of time to write, maybe this will be The One! It is different foreach one of us, and to imply that here’s a wonderful time to be creative is actually to scorn those who for whatever reason can’t do that…I was devastated by some New Year Resolutions encouraging people to get down and work hard on our writing a few months after I was really, really ill, and when I was still feeling exhausted and unable to work, thoughI longer to be the person I had been. It made me very depressed, but when I criticised I was told off! I hope you do manage to get some creative stuff produced, because that will mean you are able to, but I do not say you should, it is just a hope for you, me, and all of us to survive and not to feel that we have had to simply cling onto life and not been able to enjoy being alive…

    Liked by 1 person

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