This is not a pandemic creation.

Just a live running list of thoughts about the end of the world.

In spite of myself and everything I intellectually subscribe to, I am gripped by an unwelcome crippling fear of not documenting this moment in time.

It is a shameful fear, because I know better than to expect myself to conjure creative productivity during an anxiety-inducing global health crisis. But I can’t shake it off. I feel compelled to document this— not for the sake of my present more urgent needs, but for the very dim, subtly winking future I can make out if I squint hard enough into the distance. Would I one day need to be reminded of every awful, weird and glorious thing that happened to me in March and April 2020 ? Maybe in five years there’ll be a call for anthology submissions of Singaporeans living overseas during COVID-19? I could get $55 and a byline?

I tell myself, I’m just planning ahead.

And, if there’s one thing I’ve always prided myself on, it’s my unwavering ability to Make A Plan. But for the life of me, I can’t plan anything right now. There’s a massive neon question mark that is scrawled two weeks from today in my mental calendar. It is unsettling to not be able to trust even my own arrogance at a time like this.

Everything everyone is saying these days tends to start with “when this blows over” and end with “but who knows?”.

Whenever I go out for a walk in the dead town that Wellington is right now, or stare at a wall in the flat in despair, I catch myself, my internalised capitalist, thinking, over and over, “I should be documenting this”. Documenting what? What shitty ass novel am I going to be writing as a result of this fucked up time? What Instastory movie do I expect to direct? What pretty, glittery shit can I craft in this hot mess that we’re living through?

New Zealand is on day 17 of Alert Level 4 — full lockdown for COVID-19. This is not creative documentation, as much as me trying to turn an uneasy world into a list. This is what it’s like in my lockdown bubble:

  • I work on my research paper on weekdays, 9ish to 5ish. Or 10ish to 4ish. Or 12ish to 1ish. Some days I manage to write several pages a day; other days I write fifty words. Other days I write nothing and organise my readings in EndNote; most days I sit berating myself for not working as much as I want to, then berating myself for berating myself for not working as much as I want to. I take naps an hour after waking up. I take afternoon naps. Pre-lunch naps. Wine-at-1pm naps. Every day I work as hard as I can, am ahead of even my own schedule for my research, and I still feel terrified of whether I am “doing enough”. I simultaneously forget and can’t stop thinking about the pandemic.

This is kind of like my diary now. She/dia/ia.