Earlier this year, I was writing a lot, publishing sometimes. I was translating a book of poetry. I was developing a writing workshop. I had even applied for a writing grant, finally ready to fully accept my “writer” persona and let go of my “organizer” past. Friends and family members were getting vaccinated, at least the first dose, and the pandemic seemed to be getting under control. I was planning to launch this new website to share the new me. Well, as they say about best-laid plans…
As my social media feeds got flooded with requests for hospital beds, oxygen, plasma, and updates about family members infected and dead in Nepal and across South Asia, sitting down to write felt like a guilty indulgence.
I joined an informal group pooling resources and coordinating to do what we can to mitigate the disaster. I shelved my plans to excavate my past and write about it. Instead, I spent days digging through my old contact lists to find people and ideas to leverage whatever support possible, from vaccine advocacy to funds for isolation kits and food for people who lost their livelihoods due to repeated lockdowns.
With the turn of the season, things are starting to look better. I got the writing grant (thank you, Queens Council on the Arts). I had a three new poems published in English and three essays published in Nepali in the last three months. I am brushing off old writing and working on new pieces. I am finalizing the writing workshop. I am still unable to focus only on writing but slowly, I am moving back towards my writing dreams.