Alas, it’s May and we’re still in the throes of this pandemic, battling variants, vaccine distribution happening. Too. Slowly. Though death toll has been high last year, I don’t remember sending as many condolences as I did last April. Whether they’re all Covid-19 deaths, I don’t know, sometimes I’m not too close to the person to ask. I could only offer my sympathies, understanding that it’s one thing to lose a loved one, it’s quite another to not be able to seek comfort in a commemorative gathering, to not see as many sympathetic faces, be deprived of a proper send off. I had this suspicion amidst the 2021 New Year’s celebrations that we’re being naive in hatefully ridding ourselves of 2020, welcoming 2021 with high hopes. We were like children. We couldn’t be blamed, of course.
I’ve been alone–the fiancé having flown to his parents earlier this year to attend to a family matter and spend time with them too, something he hadn’t been able to do since 2019. I don’t mind; my own family lives in the neighbourhood, so I guess I’m not too lonely. We are engaged but we’re not joined at the hip. I’m happy he’s close to his parents who are wonderful in-laws-to-be and he gets to spend time with his grandma, something I’m no longer able to do. Our wedding was moved yet again. Third time’s the charm!
I’ve been reading a lot of works by female writers. No, I didn’t pledge to make gendered reading choices, but maybe months of reduced socialization (coming from this self-proclaimed loner!) have made me crave for a certain tone and sensibility in the stories I read. Sarah Henstra’s The Red Word, Shoba Rao’s An Unrestored Woman, Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults, Kate Elizabeth Russell’s My Dark Vanessa, and now, it’s Saleema Nawaz’s Songs for the End of the World, a novel about a global pandemic which was released in early 2020. It’s uncanny how she has captured so many aspects of our current reality.
Soon I’ll post about my own book. I’m still having a hard time believing that I’ll soon be known as a novelist. There are days when everything that has to do with writing feels frivolous (maybe I’m just looking for a way to justify my recent laziness to write). But when I do read a good book, I understand that stories are essential.
My book, The Cine Star Salon, will be out this fall. Do stay tuned for my excerpt.
Featured photo © 2022 Leah Ranada