The Write Spot

Musings and Ravings From a Pandemic Year

Non-Fiction - Writing/Publishing
200 Pages
Reviewed on 06/18/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

What energizes you? What gets you through one day after another of living restrictions? Masking when out in public, social distancing, stay-at-home orders – these are part of the new norm, but how does it really define us? The year 2020 is certainly not something anyone wants to repeat. Even looking back with the 2020 vision, one can’t possibly expect to comprehend the angst we all endured in so many different ways. But, for those of us who respected the restrictions, those of us lucky enough to avoid being infected with the deadly virus, we found ways to make it through, some of us coming out the other end stronger than before. Certainly, for creative minds, social isolation enforces a new set of norms and strengthens our creativity. Writers the world over, those established and new writers alike, are taking up the written word to express their experiences and the memories that helped them through the darkest days of one lockdown after another.

Marlene Cullen collected writings (creative nonfiction and poetry) from a selection of writers and compiled an anthology of thoughts and musings from a difficult pandemic-infused year. Her book, The Write Spot: Musings and Ravings From a Pandemic Year, is both encouraging and sad, as well as reflective and inspirational. And then there’s laughter. In Karen Handyside Ely’s poem, Humor, we find hope and solace in the simple medicine of laughter: “Nothing is so bad that/ humor cannot soften it./ Nothing is so sacred that/ humor cannot humanize it.” The human condition is a complexity beyond comprehension. Yet, when faced with adversity, humans persevere, for the most part, and find ways to seek the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s all here in this compendium of stories and poems, both reflective and memorial.

As well as the works by other authors, there are frequent writing prompts inserted to inspire the writer in the reader, to make us all think of things that helped us get through, things we did that maybe we never did before (like the increased interest in gardening and baking). We all hope that as we come out on the other side of the pandemic year, the difficulties and horrors we witnessed and endured are in the past, never again to resurface. In this anthology, we can reflect and muse on the memories and strengths of endurance that saw us through. What will historians of the future make of the world of 2020/2021? At what point were we in the right (write) spot?