There's a story called All Summer in a Day where a girl who was raised on Earth, but now lives on Venus, remembers the sun and hates the weather on Venus. But then Venus gets one break in the clouds (that only happens every gillion years, or something) and all the kids raised on Venus will get to experience a few minutes of Earth weather. I won't ruin it for you (and obviously it's not like overflowing with scientific accuracy), but the reason I'm thinking of it is because it's kind of what the pandemic felt like.
For like this one minute, those of us who knew what the world used to be like (instead of a flaming ball of shit) saw the clouds break and the sun start to come out. The vaccines started rolling out. Folks who had been extra careful started to peek their heads out. We started a collective sigh of relief of the breath we'd been holding for fifteen months. And even though anti-vaxxers were doing their best to ensure we never reach a viable herd immunity, we were starting to make progress towards life getting back to something that at least resembled normal. But then the moment of sunshine ended. The clouds came back in. And now here we are as delta variant closes in….aaaaaaalmost back to square one. Groups are dangerous all over again because of breakthroughs. Anyone with kids is almost back to a full quarantine. Risk assessment involves a bunch of stuff we just don't know.
It's crummy normal Venus weather all up in this bullshit. But we got to SEE the sun for fifteen minutes, so this one burns like only returning to pain after a little bit of relief truly can.
I think it's got everyone burned out. Not just burned out in a way we might have been if the vaccine had taken four years to complete, which would be bad enough, but in a way that you can only be burned out if you get a tiny moment to feel like maybe it's going to end, almost get to touch it, and get the rug yanked out from under you.
We are utterly, completely, beyond-the-telling-of-it burned the fuck out. On a fundamental level. On an existential level. Down to the marrow in our bones.
I had a different problem. My nanny work exploded and left so little for my writing and creative life that it was a struggle every day to find enough time to get an article written.
I know several people who had these amazing ideas for all the work they were going to do, and they don't really know the reason, but they just….can't. They just sit there and it doesn't happen. Day after day after day.
The stories of writing whole novels or taking on entire new creative endeavors while sequestered away happen, but it's important that creatives understand that they are not broken or lacking dedication if the pandemic has taken its toll and burnout has claimed their ability to be as prolific as they once were. The folks who can pull this have lightning in a bottle. They don't have more discipline or some greater desire—if that were true all artists would be exploding with productivity, and I assure you that we're not. For some reason, at this point in their creative life a pandemic happens to be good for them is all. For most of us, we're putting so much effort into just getting by that there isn't a lot left to just go be prolifically creative.
We are. Almost all of us.