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Coping with COVID

By Mark Haines - 29 April 2020


So here we are in the middle of a global pandemic. The world has effectively turned upside down and we're all in lockdown. First of all, most importantly, our deepest thanks go out to all of the frontline workers facing the brunt of this pandemic. We all literally wouldn't be able to get through this without you. This pandemic has affected us all, but one of the most devastating things is that it has severely unearthed larger socio-economic issues around the homeless and underprivileged populations of South Africa and the world at large. May we all reach the other end of these scary times in one piece.


So, we thought that we'd share our experiences with lockdown, and what we have been keeping busy with. I personally find myself annoyed by the social media posts about how so-and-so has been the most proactive they have ever been in their life; exercising, writing novel after novel, creating masterpieces. This leaves me feeling pathetic, but if my words mean anything, I just want to reiterate what some other people have been expressing in response to this as well: Calm down, you do not need to do anything more than you can manage in these distressing times – I am extremely grateful that I have been able to keep busy with projects. I wouldn't have been able to manage if it weren't for working on projects with Jaco.


But this is just how I've been dealing with it, everybody is different. And different is okay. I personally find it nice to dive into a project with Jaco, to keep my mind off of things for a while. If I can share anything worth anything it is this: try and find the thing that YOU enjoy keeping yourself busy with, and don't compare your productivity levels to anyone else. Okay, speech over.


Working on various projects, myself and Jaco have ended up with a first draft of a feature length screenplay. It was a brilliant experience. We learnt so much in the journey through it. I think that the best thing I've learnt from it is to just get it done. However many crossroads you reach when writing, just get through it. There are bad writing days and good writing days. Every scene, piece of dialogue, or action/description you write isn't going to be a masterpiece. I learnt to check my ego at the door, and just focus on telling a story. We just tried to be truthful to what we were trying to tell. And we ended up with something that ... still needs a lot of work. Of course. Initially I was upset when we reread it, but Jaco reassured me that that's okay, that's what first drafts are for. And, I suppose to sloppily extend that out to a metaphor for what we are going through right now; just be true to yourself, don't set your expectations crazy high, we'll get through this if we all keep on keeping on, do what we can where we can. We'll all nail this second draft!

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