Creative Writing

Published on April 2nd, 2020 | by TLV News


Oxford Comma’s COVID-19 Writing Challenge Week 1: Submission by Judy Daniel

Week 1: Write about the feeling of being alone or lonely.

Alone in the Days of the Plague
By Judy Daniel

It was on St. Patrick’s Day that we knew it was real, and that it would deeply affect and wound us all.  For me, it meant to stay at home, stay physically healthy, and try to stay mentally healthy. It meant long hours stretched out before me with much I could be doing but little inclination or energy to do them.  The required virtual quarantine meant I quickly grew restless and prone to foreboding without mental distractions.

I had a long list of “things that needed doing around the house”; but they all seemed pointless for now.  If I was going to die or be imprisoned here for a month or more—why did I need to pull out all the summer clothes and put away all the winter clothes.  This chore has stared at me, half done, for almost two weeks. I just don’t care.  

The weather has exacerbated the gloom by being gray, wet, chilly, and gloomy.  Spring is happening, the trees are at fuzzy green now (with attendant pollen); but it still feels miserable.  The first week I did a bit of gardening, now those plants are doing well; but I have no inclination for doing any more.  Will that change with the weather? The outlook is still wet and a bit chilly for the most part.  

I schedule my day around a few things: my first cup of coffee, some journaling, a “read to each other” phone call with my 7 year old granddaughter, a long walk in the afternoon (regardless of weather), my first cocktail, and then the three hours of bliss watching BritBox and old murder mysteries set in England, Scotland, and Ireland.  I escape to another reality, then I go to sleep after some Suduko. But then wake up to toss and turn at 1 or 2, but somehow get back to sleep after a repetitive mantra or four.

I keep pushing food into myself, but I really have no interest in food.  I do have quite an interest in alcohol. I have found that I am OK if I limit consumption to between 5:30 and 8:30.  If I start earlier, I probably have a drinking problem; if I keep at it later I will probably have a hangover in addition to being depressed.  Wine is not good because it goes down to easily and swiftly. I have found that I take it more slowly with bourbon, rum, or gin; followed by a tiny glass of cognac or brandy that lasts an hour.

This is my plague so far, fear enforced by boredom.  My fear is not as much of the plague as of the economic repercussions. And I have no control over any of it.  The plague is almost everywhere and affecting almost all. Everything I have known will change. This is just the beginning of that journey.  A little sun would help me bear it better while I wait; with my bourbon and ice.

About The Oxford Comma
The Oxford Comma is a creative writing group for the Oxford, Lafayette, and University communities that meets bi-weekly to workshop creative writing and offer critique. The Oxford Comma also joins forces with other entities to bring quality programming and community opportunities, such as with Mississippi Writer’s Guild, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Quasar, Glitterary Festival, Art-er Limits Fringe Festival, A Literary Bit of Faulkner, Ole Miss Housing and Residence Life Department, Ole Miss English Department, Sarah Isom Center, and The Local Voice.
Visit The Oxford Comma online at their website and Facebook or through email at

About The COVID-19 Writing Challenge
During the COVID-19 crisis, The Oxford Comma has partnered with Yoknapatawpha Arts Council to offer a four-week writing contest with changing weekly prompts. “Favorite selections” will be featured in The Local Voice and possible future anthology of COVID-19 era writings.

Submit to the Week 2 writing prompt challenge here:

Oxford Comma's COVID-19 Writing Challenge Week 1: Submission by Timber Heard
A Short Story by Shane Brown of Brown Family Dairy

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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