by Yuly Restrepo
January 8, 2021
This week it has been very difficult to focus. In addition to the events that occurred at the Capitol on Wednesday, which I’m sure have been on everyone’s mind, an unexpected family crisis has been occupying a lot of my mental space. It’s hard for me to be fully mindful of what I’m working on when I’m anxious, and I’ve been extremely anxious this week, so I haven’t worked on my novel. I’ve worked on the novella I mentioned in my previous blog entry a little bit, but it has been very difficult given that some of its events, unexpectedly, closely reflect what’s currently happening with my family.
So I’ve turned to what has always brought solace: reading. Specifically, writing by authors of color has been calming and motivating. During the last few days I’ve read Luster by Raven Leilani, The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans, and Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu. Each of these books deals with race and racism in a different way, and each is funny, complex, and powerful. It is very comforting to me to see writers who are my contemporaries putting these difficult conversations at the forefront of their art, to expose the deep roots of the ills that are coming to the surface in such an ugly way today. These books are inspiring, even when my mind is not in the right place to work on my own writing, and they have kept me connected to what I know is a very worthy pursuit.