Quarantine had the unique skill of making us feel free and imprisoned simultaneously. We were free from our usual work and stuck at home. You can only sleep in a blanket fort so many nights in a row before it loses its appeal. Day drinking and worrying about bills, family, and the future of the economy took its toll before long. After a while our loose schedules started to mess with our heads.
When quarantine began, I was thrilled to have so much time at home. I dedicated my time to writing the sequel to my first novel, Blood Fiercely Defended. After a couple weeks however, I found myself not writing at all. My writing seemed a task without purpose. Who cared if I finished my sequel when there was so much to worry about? I was worried about family, friends, and the future of my day job. The world seemed to have partially ended and there didn’t seem much I could do about it.
I pondered about the circumstances and found myself thinking of a story idea I’d had years ago. Slowly I began to strike the keys and begin to tell myself the story of a doomed world with a pissed off hero seen as a villain. As the days past and the pages piled up I found myself looking forward to sitting at my desk and finding out how Lance dealt with life.
It wasn’t a cheery story. It wasn’t exactly filled with hope. The world had ‘ended’ decades earlier with the destruction of heaven. Everyone struggled to stay alive. Demons were everywhere. Going out of your home was dangerous. You could say I was inspired.
Writing about a world so condemned to darkness, so void of hope kept me going. It seems counterintuitive but there’s a long history of people seeking out fear in times of strife. Haunted houses took off during the depression. These things redirect our emotions. Your fear of the economy is now a fear of that freaky dude hiding in the corner. My writing seemed to do the same thing for me. Instead of despairing that I couldn’t leave the house I was glad there weren’t demonic monsters outside my door. Instead of being saddened that I couldn’t visit family I was glad they were alive in a world where they could still find happiness.
The Heaven Killer showed me snark goes a long way when confronted with terrible odds. He showed me that spite can be used in place of purpose and that you should forgive yourself if you drink a bit too much on occasion because at least you’re alive to make bad decisions. Creating something so despairing during quarantine helped lift my spirits.
Being able to emerge from my quarantine with something to offer the world gave me new hope. Here is something I can do. I can write stories. Even if the world is burning around me, I can offer up something to help people deal with the flames.