Quarantine Reflection on Creativity by Kat Kneip

Posted by Kat Kneip on 5/11/2020

I sigh as I open my laptop for the 4th time today. When the thing works, it works well enough. I stare at a blank page, hoping something comes to me. It’s odd, having all the time in the world, but the lack of motivation and creativity. Nothing but monochrome on the page. A bit of a word vomit thrown there in a manic episode last night. I wished for the same panicked creativity that had hit me like an oncoming train at midnight. Something had struck a cord in me to write again. I haven’t written since April. I didn’t see the point in it. Lost the meaning of getting so stuck and consumed in the words that it took me to different places. I could build worlds with my words, kingdoms full of knights and queens and kings and royalty of all those between. But something had sucked the motivation from my brain, leaving my bones and fingers aching for something other than scrolling through my Instagram feed again.

I go back through last night’s work, reading through the words that were written in inspired frenzy. If anything, I learned I can not write perfectly at two in the morning when inspiration wakes me from a deathly heavy sleep. And of all things, I’m a paper and pencil kind of person, but typing? I never start anything typing. I line edit what I have on this barely filled page. It takes less than 30 minutes and I am staring, begging for something to make a comeback. Words to crack the surface of this white page on the screen. I remember the prompt I had wanted this work to be. It was going to be different than my extended works. Something hitting harder on the real world, something I knew I could keep writing because it was more true to me than the characters I created. I had titled the document, Ten Things I Know to be True. Reading that over and over had struck my heart strings. I remember writing to that prompt in class or in slam poetry club. Both most likely. I bite my lip until it stings.

I miss my teachers, my friends, going out in my car and sing screaming songs at the top of my lungs with everybody around me laughing and doing the same. The windows rolled down on our way home from Enchanted Realms every Friday night. I miss holding my tongue in my English classes so other people could also speak out in class. Knowing the answer and seeing Mr. Lessig or Mrs. Hook’s eyes roll over me as I half raised my hand to give somebody else a chance. It was usually Tim or Tristen or Ryan or Ceilia that answered after that if I didn’t. The last time I had written to this prompt, I was sitting in class during a free write. Making lists during our Creative Writing class in silence during the poetry unit. Some how, it hurt to think of spring break turning into senior skip semester. It still does. Like the sting of getting a notification Friday night named, PROM. It was set for Saturday. Like the sting of a month ago, absent - mindedly watching people’s stories on Instagram, finding one saying an old friend of mine had lost another friend to suicide. Then, scrolling through my feed after asking her if she was alright and if I also knew the friend that had killed themselves, discovering that it was one of my close friends in Middle School. It was next to the last post she had made, one of her senior photos saying “Senior Sunday. 34 days until it’s over.” I didn’t realize that Corona virus wasn’t the only thing killing people.

This late night ‘great idea’ was starting to make me spiral into all these thoughts. Burying myself too deep into the feeling of everything. I close the computer again. Laying back, I stare blankly at the posters and paintings on my wall. One is of a snow filled forest, sitting in its own serenity. In the center, my student teacher from last year had painted, “Her name was Winter, pale skin as far as the eyes can stray. Waiting for the warmth of Spring.” That didn’t help. Around it, watercolor paintings my partner had given me. That didn’t help. Surrounding those, posters and prints I had gotten from Comic Con 2019 and NDK 2017. Those didn’t help either. Deciding the wall was in the same spiral of memories as the prompt, I stare at the ceiling. Watching two dream catchers I had gotten at flea markets around town dance with each other. Slow careful spinning from a thin hook in the ceiling. Light floated in through the window and eventually, I open the laptop back up to the document Ten things I know to be True.