Editor’s note: The last twelve months (and counting) of living during a global pandemic has had an affect on us Spoonies, so I thought I would do a six-week series, asking some of our contributing authors the same questions about how they are managing spoons, one year later. You can read all six of these interviews here!
This week’s featured author: Jamieson Wolf
SpAN Editor: What impact have these past twelve months had on you? What routines have changed, and did you create new routines?
Jamieson: Quite a bit has changed. I guess a positive is that I don’t have to commute to get to work anymore, but I miss the mostly uninterrupted reading time. 😊 I would normally workout three times a week and swim three times a week, but the pool in our building has been closed since the pandemic began. To supplement my workout, I’ve been going on a lot more walks and just trying to find ways to stay active.
SpAN Editor: As a creative person, did you find yourself diving into your craft more, or less so? Have you found other ways to nurture your creative mind?
Jamieson: Boy did I ever dive in! In 2020, I wrote two novels and a novella. The first novel is 101,259 words and the second clocked in at 62,538. The novella was a lovely 15,259 words. Writing gave me somewhere to go when the outside world became too much to deal with. I also painted quite a few canvases when the words weren’t coming or I was stuck in a story. I have never written that much in one year, as most of my novels are fairly short. Even I was surprised by my output! This year, I’ve written a lot of two novels; however, after I did edits for the first novel in the trilogy, I realize that what I’ve written will not be usable. That’s over 20,000 words gone, but the rebirth will make the novel shine all the brighter.
SpAN Editor: As a Spoonie, what about life during a pandemic helped you, and what has frustrated you?
Jamieson: I think the pandemic has really made me take a look at my health, all of it, including my mental, physical and spiritual health. It’s had me revaluate what I’d like to do with my life and what I’d like my life to be. I always view life in terms of the personal growth that I can do, so the pandemic has helped me grow a lot personally. I’ve had to take a deep dive into myself and in the end, I really love myself, even if it’s hard to do some days. My husband has been a huge help when I’ve been frustrated with myself. 😊
SpAN Editor: Is there something that you achieved that you’re especially proud of (other than surviving, which is huge)? Remember, there are no “small” wins.
Jamieson: I actually faced up to the reality that I need to have help with my mental health. I was lucky enough to find a therapist who is lovely. At first, I struggled with feeling weak because I needed to talk to someone, but if being a Spoonie has taught me anything, it’s that it is actually an act of bravery to admit when you need help. I’m quite proud of the fact that I reached out to someone and that I’m looking after not only my physical health but my mental health too!
SpAN Editor: A lot of people are saying we can’t really return to “normal” post-COVID, but what are some of the things you would like to do again, once you feel safe to venture out into in-person society? Also, what virtual-based activities would you love to keep in place, going forward?
Jamieson: I’d love to be able to swim again. Splashing around in my bathtub doesn’t cut it. I’d love to go to a bookstore and walk around, just taking in all the words. I’d like to hug people again and not be so nervous when I see people around me. I’d like to feel comfortable in the world again instead of filled with worry about it. I’d like to see my friends again, some of whom I have not seen for over a year, not even online. In terms of keeping some things in place, while working from home took some getting used to, I’d like to continue that if I could.
SpAN Editor: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experiences?
Jamieson: Well, throughout the year that I’ve had, the one thing I have had to learn over and over again is not to be too hard on myself. I seem to be hypersensitive to every small thing. The best thing I can do is to let things go and take everything one day at a time. It’s how I’ve been able to get through all of this. I thought in the beginning that I would be okay, that as a writer-artist, I was an introvert. I have learned during the pandemic how much of an extrovert I really am. 😊
Thanks Jamieson! It’s always a pleasure to have you on the SpAN!
Jamieson Wolf is an award-winning, number one bestselling author of over sixty books and writer of Two Steps at a Time, a blog about having multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. In 2019, he released his gripping memoir, Little Yellow Magnet, followed by Love and Lemonade (the third book in the Lemonade Series), and his short story, The Descent, appears in the Prix Aurora Award nominated Nothing Without Us anthology. He’s just recently re-released his first novella, The Ghost Mirror, and his latest novel, Beyond the Stone will be published in 2021.
He is an accomplished artist who works in mixed media, charcoal, pastels, and oil paints. He is also something of an amateur photographer, a poet, a perfume designer, and a graphic designer.
Jamieson currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario with his husband Michael and their cat Anakin. You can read more about Jamieson on his website or his blog, and can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.