I think we probably all feel the same when I say March 2020 has been more like 31 years than 31 days. It’s been an exhausting, uncertain month, and continuing to create proves difficult. Which is understandable. COVID-19 doesn’t leave us with free time. This isn’t built on choice.
But I’m doing my best to make sense of things as they are, and I hope you’re finding ways to do the same. For now, for me, that means sticking to routine. And in this particular case, it means doing the usual Monthly Wrap.
Some things can still stay the same, thank goodness.
Life Beyond the Blog
If you’ve been reading my Weekly Wraps, you know that the two constants in my life right now are Animal Crossing and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. They’re such a welcome escape from the stress and uncertainty caused by COVID-19, and I’m unbelievably grateful to have them. I’m not sure what I’d do without them right now, truth be told. Focusing on books is difficult, writing just isn’t happening (you’ll notice there was no Wednesday Pen this month), and trying to settle my anxiety involves a lot of heavy-duty escapism. Really, my Switch is a hero right now, and my total hours played count is going up rapidly. So rapidly.
If I were working, that would be different, but I find myself with a lot of time on my hands and no qualification for unemployment. Technically, my store is still open despite the hazards, and I’ve removed myself from the schedule because I don’t feel safe (and I don’t think we should be classified as an essential store, but that’s another matter). Thankfully, my manager understands and wishes she had the power to close to store for the safety of staff and customers alike, but corporate stands in the way of that. Meanwhile, I won’t be paid for voluntary self-quarantine, and I’m not even sure my company has measures in place for those of us who do contract COVID-19.
I can’t say I recommend this particular situation to anyone. It’s made me extra conscious of my student loans (I have one loan still due, not suspended under the new measures put into place), and of the fact that my entertainment is anything I already have. There will be no new books for a while unless I can figure out my library’s e-lending without help, or if I’m approved for ARCs. No new games, no extra food spending to try new snacks or meals, no unnecessary anything. I’m privileged that I haven’t been in this precise position before, but it’s certainly worrying and unfamiliar to be in it now.
And yet things aren’t all bad. This month, I put one of my bunnies in a homemade cape (as a way to help cover an injury that needs healing, one the other bunnies keep licking). He’s absolutely precious in his little dinosaur cape, and better yet, all three bunnies remain adorable. I love them with everything I have, and they’re a lifesaver right now by sheer cuteness alone.
I was also gifted a subscription to the Hunt a Killer box, and my best friend and I have taken to solving them over Skype. It’s a welcome distraction that encourages my puzzle-happy brain to dig in deep, and we have fun putting our heads together to find the answers! Social distance hasn’t meant isolation.
And serious but relieving all the same, I finally started medication to manage my anxiety and depression. What with all the external stressors right now, I can’t tell if they’re working, but this is an unusual situation. Gauging the effectiveness of meds is tough right now. But I have the chance to try, and I’m not totally on my own. It’s also a relief to know that my parents were wrong, that I’m not overreacting. My family’s takes on mental health aren’t always supportive, so getting this far is a big deal.
Overall, March has been a busy month, despite days and days spent at home. I hope April will be better, but I’m relieved to know that not everything is terrible right now.
Books Read and Reviewed
This wasn’t the month for reading that I’d hoped it would be. Turns out that focusing on the written word gets a lot harder during a pandemic, especially when your job situation is a hot mess. Still, I managed to get through a few titles without tragic spontaneous combustion. There Will Come a Darkness, Night of the Dragon, and Belle Révolte have already been reviewed on the blog. Meanwhile, you’ll see a review of The Tenth Girl in about a week. And as I type this (on March 30th, since I do my wraps on the second to last day of the month), I’m planning to try reading Gideon the Ninth this evening. Truthfully, though, I don’t know if it will happen.
Next Month’s Reads
If I don’t get to Gideon the Ninth, that’s going to go into April. I also plan to read To Kill a Kingdom, Fractured Tide, and one of my most anticipated ARCS: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea. Beyond that, anything goes. I’m considering attempting Camp NaNoWriMo since I anticipate being home through April, and I don’t know how I’m going to divide my time just yet. As with everything else in life right now, I’m playing it largely by ear.
My Top 3 Posts
It’s been a slower month for blogging, without too many options for me to choose from in this category. But I’m proud of these posts, and if you read anything from me all month besides this wrap, I hope it’s these.
Favorites From Around the Blogging World
Somehow, even with the world just kind of…on fire, you’ve all done an incredible job of writing amazing posts. I admire all the work you guys have put in, and I hope blogging is bringing you comfort right now rather than feeling like a chore.
And of course, I want to highlight some of my favorite posts this month! These are the ones that caught my eye the most, and I definitely think they’re worth the read if you haven’t visited them yet.
Stay safe out there, folks, and keep in touch. I hope you’re all finding ways through this pandemic, and I hope you stay healthy. 💛