SFFdirect and the coronavirus pandemic

April 12, 2020

Hello friends. Without preamble:

Tough times

I’ve been absent from both my websites for several months. I’ve had a lot going on – I have borderline personality disorder, anxiety and depression, and I also have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/M.E.. If that wasn’t enough, a couple of years ago I decided to do an MA in creative writing at Leeds Trinity University. I’m studying it part-time but it’s still a lot of work. And I’m working on my novel for my MA.

The longer time went on, the harder I’ve found it to restart my websites. When depression sets in, it’s a struggle to pick things back up. I guess I’m embarrassed I left it so long. Especially given that in December I announced that I was back. And failed to keep it up.

SFFdirect has always been my main website, my baby and hopefully my way of meeting more SFF people and getting more involved in the genre. What has this got to do with the coronavirus pandemic you ask? Well, the coronavirus pandemic has made me examine what’s important. 

Tougher times

Like many people I’m stuck at home right now. I have a big university assignment to hand in in a few weeks so I have stuff to keep me busy (Oh yes I have loads to do) but I am anxious and finding it hard to focus. My CFS is worse so I have to rest more. I wonder when life will ever get back to normal, when I will be able to do something as simple as going to a coffee shop to read my book and drink tea and eat cake. Will it ever get back to normal?

Believe me, I also think about the people who are infected and fighting the virus right now and the families of the deceased. And I think of the keyworkers working tirelessly to help those directly and indirectly suffering from the ravages of the virus.

Let’s keep going

However, ultimately I think we have to try to keep going. For me, science fiction and fantasy has always been a massive part of my life. I want to get this website going again and I’m damned well going to do so. I want to reach out to all of you in the SFF community and say hi, I love you all, I’m thinking of you and I’m here for you. For those of us who have to constantly stay at home at the moment, getting lost in SFF can make the experience more bearable. Hopefully this website can assist that.

But I’ll tell you what really gave me the shove to get this website back up and running. I received an email from a PJ in Pennsylvania, thanking me for the website and the time I spend writing it. They are studying an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction and they are writing a speculative fiction novel. Their email was so encouraging that it touched a string in this cold dark heart of mine. Oh yes it did. (Cripes, I seem to have a kind of pantomime rhetoric going on here.)

Anyway it encouraged me to start writing right here right now. If I can make a difference to people like PJ then that’s all the motivation I need to keep the site going. Right now, we need to support each other and I think we need to try to keep things as normal as possible.

What’s next

Therefore my next article will be a list of tips on how SFF fans can weather the coronavirus pandemic. I’ll be trying to maintain a light tone because we all know how dire things are at the moment. No reminders are needed. 

So on that note, bye for now. I love you all. Caroline.

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