(or Where I Really Talk About Station Eleven)
I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated and it’s been an interesting couple of months. My personal life has been a rollercoaster but I’m managing. I’m also late with my new book and just when I’m about to give up meeting the third rescheduling of the release date, I remembered I need to put another book on preorder that’s part of a group project – so now, I need to get this current WIP done.
But what happens when you’ve lost the plot? When you doubt you can do a good job and so you just stop trying? What happens when the pressure of creating the best work you’ve ever created ends up killing the actual desire to do the work?
That’s pretty much it. It’s the fear of failing for after all, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last three or so years, at times cloaked under the word burnout.
Still, I lost the plot.
Then I stumbled upon Station Eleven on HBOMax. It’s a limited series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s book with the same title, released in 2014, long before Covid-19. It’s about what happens to a group of people who survive a super-flu that kills 99% of the population. No zombies here. Just the flu and a pandemic that kills within 48 hours.
Twenty years later, what survives?
In Mandel’s vision and in the HBO series, it’s art. Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Paganini Pretty in Pink, a comic novel created from the heart that is interpreted different ways by the adults and children who come across it, and even a favorite character’s performance of Excursions by A Tribe Called Quest (@ATCQ). The soundtrack is beautiful and currently on repeat on my Spotify app.
Watching the series during the last four weeks, I’ve been thinking about what survives after a pandemic. Besides surviving, what else can arise from the ashes? In this case, it’s art. Because it has to. Maybe it’s just what makes us human. We seek art and so we create it wherever we can, pandemic or no pandemic. Perfection or no perfection.
It’s breathing life back into my poor WIP and it’s giving me hope that maybe I can pull it off. Maybe for once, I can stop obsessing over creating the best art and simply create it. Get it done so I can create more.
Maybe I can even make the deadline.