Confessions of a once-and-future scribbler


As lockdown carried on last year, people around the world struggled to utilize all the time that quarantine granted them. I took up writing during the period, finding myself with pent up unexpressed creativity, full of words which before I had failed to put to paper. Even beyond my duties as a staff reporter for this news site, I also engaged in the sometimes rewarding, most times infuriating arts of poetry and fiction. As the weeks passed, cancellations extended and cases of Covid-19 rose. Soon, throughout the world, we began to wonder how long humans would be caught in the grasp of the virus which only then began to gain recognition as the oppressor of our livelihood, as well as our lives. The pandemic exposed, perhaps, the paradox of the wish for more time. More time for yourself means more time which must be filled by yourself.


The beginning of my poetic dabbling could be traced to before the pandemic. From the pandemic perspective, those days seemed to be so occupied that nobody stopped to realize how quickly everything was going. At this point, my poems were clever at best, primitive at worst. They were composed as a ramble of two to five sentences, with no true meaning and a loose rhyme scheme. Then it was mostly a way to vent the absurd concepts which floated about my brain. But my poetry would soon undergo a transformation as I was inspired by many authors whose writings awakened me to the meaning of beauty, as well as the beauty of meaning. One such influence was the writing of John Steinbeck, whose work was pure emotion in paper and ink. Another influence was an author unknown to me, Charles Henry Dana, who wrote a collection of memoirs that ended up being known better for their great influence upon the more popular novel, “Moby Dick,” but which could stand alone for their literary virtues. 

I found Twain charming and Stoker a suspenseful delight, and dazzling did I find the poetic Charlotte Bronte. 


My efforts toward writing a novel began before quarantine as well. However, it differed from my poetry, which began as more of a frolic than a true attempt to create something meaningful. This serious attempt, however, yielded nothing but 33 pages littered with plot holes. I abandoned the project in disgust.

I would soon graduate from my elementary school newspaper, and I began a thrust into prose pursuits, kindled by my avid reading. It was a period of great change for me; I can now thank this change, for it was the spark that inspired me to pursue my first tangible effort, which yielded a Covid diary that I thought was praiseworthy. A diary is something which I am sure many people attempted in lockdown. Perhaps I had the most success in a diary because I was not truly writing for myself. You see, I had devised the theory that the world would want to understand the feelings of the quarantined in years to come, so I tended to often use pseudonyms when speaking harshly of others. The result was a piece which was unsure of where it belonged, being neither a report nor a really personal story. 

After a period of satisfaction with my diary writing, my thoughts returned to that 33-page failed effort. I won’t call my attempt at a second novel an attempted redemption, for that implies that I had some kind of literary reputation whose dignity I had to uphold. It was meant as an assurance to myself that the authors who I admired were just as human as I, that with time and effort I could produce a work which could perhaps possess some of the magic of the novels I devoured during lockdown. With these thoughts, I began what is by far the longest project I have undertaken. As my sixth-grade year began, I had completed a manuscript of 236 pages. It was by no means polished or fluid, but it seemed to have a spark of literary virtue, a spark which I hoped should grant glad tidings for: 

The present and the future

Never, before Covid-19, had I known what it truly felt like to have time. Time, which I now recognize was not an inevitable fact, but a precious entity whose value can only be determined by each of us. This past summer was a great disappointment, as for my distracted efforts, I feel haunted by the burden of an unfinished novella, as well as a short story for which I could not find the right tone—or any tone. As activities resumed and the rattle and clammer of life regained a semblance of its former hustle and bustle, time seems to race by. The trifle you’ve read is, I hope, a step forward in the return of a once-and-future scribbler.