BY AIDAN MACLEAN
Life for the past few months has been a sequence of surreal events… you could not make it up! Even the ‘pandemic’ genre films on Netflix look a bit silly now!
I’m sixteen and 3/4s. I’m a laid back, procrastinating, disorganised kind of a guy living in Northern Ireland. In the ‘old world’ the strain of my GCSE exams would have been hitting me hard right now. I would be stressed and pulling a series of all-nighters. Suddenly, I find myself living a ‘new normal’ and it feels like time has simply stood still, I feel like these Easter eggs currently trapped in Easons.
Back in March, having missed school and my last 2 weeks of liberty due to my own mystery virus, I felt I wasn’t prepared for the upcoming months of isolation. I had been delirious with a fever and missed all the hype. I found myself returning to school with only 1 day left before it would close indefinitely. It was as though I had been in a time warp and suddenly had to catch up.
Ironically, for me, this time has been one of reflection and creativity. I’ve been honing my music composition skills and recording music for my band (Neon Apathy, links below). Now thanks to the wonders of technology, it is possible to write and record a decent song together, even from miles apart. Many other creatives talk about how changing circumstances can disrupt their flow, however for me all I need is time, of which I now am in abundance of, and am blessed with a family that has not been badly affected by the virus.
Weirdly, I feel busier than normal, the Zoom call app drawing me back almost every day, covering my music lessons and other creative courses I now have time for (this article is even being written for one!). In many ways I have been able to be more sociable and connected, which may seem like an oxymoron, but once you get used to it, I think those pixels transmitting conversations over large distances can make people almost seem like the real thing.
As restrictions have eased, I’ve finally been able to see these people in all three dimensions! Going on carefully spaced, socially distanced walks has shown me how much I prefer having people as company rather than the same four walls. A recent highlight being a garden song-writing session (in the garden, not songs about gardens) with my fellow band mate, even at a social distance music can prevail!
Overall, as refreshing as it has been to stop, think and reset, I would not choose virus inflicted, half solitary confinement over real life contact and connection with others.
It’s just not the same.
Links to my quarantine created music:
This was written by a participant on our Creative Writing Programme, as an example of contemporary collecting in response to Covid-19. Read other works from the programme here: Virtually (Re)writing history: A series from our online creative writing programme