Rasma Says

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance…

In times like these…


… the profound truths of what it means to be human should emerge from my pen as deep, symbolic poetry or moving lyrical essays or intimate letters to a friend. But they don’t. I don’t write.


But wait, there’s no such thing as times like these. Never before has literally every person on the globe faced the same impending threat. Never has a pandemic reached every continent but Antarctica. Never has instantaneous news reached every corner of the globe. Who is to say what SHOULD happen in times like these?

I’m not the only writer who isn’t writing profound truths in these corona days. I just learned that the writing program I belong to has made a google docs Covid-19 Living History archive where writers from the program can contribute to a communal document for each week. I opened the Covid-19 Living History page for April 13-19 to inspire my writing.


Add whatever you’d like: diary entries, CNF pieces, comics, poetry, etc. Please don’t delete anyone else’s work.

It’s best to copy and paste in your work, so that 1) you have your own record and 2) multiple people can more easily add content at the same time. You can also upload your own file to the folder, especially for something larger. 

Please include your name and at least a rough date. It might be interesting to see how this record changes over time.

Cool! What a great idea! I hesitated. No one had written anything below the instructions. I had what might qualify as a profound thought, but was it weighty enough to kick off this week’s document? No, I would tack it onto the end of last week’s page. I opened the document for April 6-12. It held only the same set of instructions. The same was true for the week before. 

Was everyone waiting for someone else to start? It felt like a junior high sock hop, hanging back at the wall wanting to dance but not wanting to be first because if you’re first everyone watches you and since they’re all watching you better be good, but you’re not that good so you wait hoping everyone else will be first on the gym floor so you can dance unnoticed. It also felt like being the only person at a bus stop. If I’m first something’s wrong. If I’m the only one there I have misread and misunderstood.

Or was the Living History empty because, like me, other writers are finding that they don’t know what to write? We who have griped about not having enough time to write now find ourselves in isolation for an indefinite amount of time — the retreat we’ve always wished for — with nothing to say. I can speak for myself: not one original thought springs from the garden of my mind where cliches and platitudes are strong and abundant as weeds.

Writing is what I do to understand and express our singular experience. In writing I strive to say what only I can say, open a window onto my particulars so they become for the reader universal. For the first time in history my life focus is that of everyone on the planet. We have the same focus, the same underlying life challenge. Nothing can be told. Nothing is not known.

I’m not writing.

In times like these, I can’t find what is mine to say.

Not yet.

2 comments on “In times like these…

  1. Robin Chapman

    Thinking of you, dear Rasma–good to hear your voice here!

    • Rasma Haidri

      Thank you for reading Robin.
      Your sister in words,

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on 17/04/2020 by in Being: Culture and Identity, Current events, Writer's block, Writing and tagged .



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