I was coming to the end of my online short story course when the government announced the country was going into lockdown.
Here I was with my new honed skill ready to go. My new year resolution was still on track write a short story a month and submit it to a competition…sounds easy
I was full to the top with motivation as I honed and submitted one of my short stories into the longstanding RTE 1 Francis MacManus competition.
At the same time in other rooms scattered around our home my children were receding into their own lockdown of panic, anxiety, stress and restrictions brought about by a virus that couldn’t be seen nor touched.
My husband and I were used to living and working in isolation (We are sheep farmers who run a holiday home rental business) but our teenagers were in the cusp of one of the most important part of their social development. Yes, our son was etching towards the end of his junior cert while our daughter was in fifth year.
We told ourselves and the kids this would be over soon and they would be able to resume back to normality. I honestly believed this virus would be curtailed and dismantled by the summer…. I was wrong-
The kids stress was subdued significantly when school officially finished at the end of May. I think Netflix’s Amazon and Disney TV plus good Wi-Fi helped alleviated the day to day boredom. I’m especially grateful to ‘Tiger King’ and Netflix’s and our local ‘West net’ who provided great Wi-Fi throughout all of this. (Imagine if this virus came about in the 1980’s)
I dedicated one hour or more each day to writing. I took another online course as the virus was still a threat. Then I got stuck like a beach ball that finds itself caught in a hedge of thorny briars. I was deflated, motivation left me to be replaced with self-doubt. This creative writing began to wane on me. That’s when I stumbled on another online course this time a masterclass in blogging. I can’t speak highly enough of the Irish writing centre and Una- Minh Kavanagh.
Una showed me that writing can be about what interests me and we all have stories. Blogging is another way of expressing ourselves. I was able to stand back and see what I wanted to write about. That’s where I got the inspiration to create a blog about our family life rearing teenagers and running a sheep farm while trying to run a small holiday rental business in the midst of a virus in one or the toughest yet beautiful landscapes in the world.