I’m not a journaler by nature.
Yes, I have written down my innermost thoughts on occasion, but generally I jot down short quick notes on almost everything that pops into my brain that I then compile to use later for writing that I will publish, either here or in my newsletter.
Yet I felt that living through a time when a viral droplet infection — a silent, invisible killer — raced across the globe and was documented in real time was as good an occasion as any to keep a daily record of my thoughts.
I’m not doing it for public consumption, despite this public essay announcing it. I’m not so vain or naive to think it will become another Man’s Search for Meaning or The Diary of Anne Frank. My experiences can’t even begin to compare to those of Viktor Frankl or Anne Frank — I’m forced to stay home where I have all of the creature comforts of the 21st Century so it’s not exactly a sacrifice.
I’m writing it for myself and perhaps my children, one of whom is too young to have any idea what’s going on. I’m writing it to try to capture the feeling and the day-to-day slice of life experience of this time, because while it’s constantly hanging over our heads, there are times when I forget that we’re basically all on house arrest.
Sometimes I write about the daily rise in stats and fatalities. Sometimes I write about what happened that day, like getting a grocery delivery in which I wiped everything down with Clorox wipes. Sometimes I write about what it’s like to work in healthcare at a time like this, having to work seven days a week. Sometimes I write about my disappointment with the lack of planning and foresight and transparency from national leadership as well as the frustration of being deemed “essential” by the Department of Homeland Security and thus having to physically go into the office two days a week. And sometimes I just write about my fears, how I’m petrified not for my life, but for those of my wife and children. If something happened to them, particularly because of something I did or neglected to do, I could never, ever forgive myself.
Maybe when this is all over — whenever that is — I’ll put the notebook on the shelf with my old photo albums and yearbooks and never look at it again. Maybe I’ll revisit it and, with the benefit and safety of hindsight, chuckle at how we all reacted and cringe at the things I wrote in the moment.
Or maybe, decades from now, I’ll pull it off the shelf, blow the dust off the cover, and read parts of it to my grandchildren. Most of it will probably go over their heads, but maybe something will stick and they will realize that they know people that lived during the time of a global pandemic.
And they wrote down their thoughts as it was happening.
Christopher Pierznik is the worst-selling author of nine books. Check out more of his writing at Medium. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, Medium, Fatherly, Hip Hop Golden Age, and many more. Subscribe to his monthly newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter. Please feel free to get in touch at CPierznik99@gmail.com.