Lockdown is hard. If you have struggled to research during this time – struggled to read and write and think interesting things – I am with you. If you have not struggled, very well done, but please be quiet.
At the outset, I thought I’d read novels and write articles, maybe put together a few puzzles and master sourdough. Reality: I went through months when I couldn’t open a book. There’s online teaching. Online everything. Students who need your attention – students struggling with their own severe difficulties. A spouse who works – also online. Three children who need to be taught (also online) – three children also to prevent from destroying the house and killing one another.
To be clear: there was time for reading and research. Plenty, in fact. I just couldn’t do it. War among children might break out at any minute, or even a happy child might burst through the door any second to play Lego – because I work from home in the ‘Lego room’, i.e. the extra bedroom.
This led to months without anything like what we refer to today as ‘scholarly productivity’. I sometimes felt sad. And very often frustrated. I did write some. But I simply did not have the mental space to do the prolonged thinking and reading and writing I love to do.
But there have been some achievements. I am now far more skilled at napping. And I spend much more time in bed. I’m as tired as my Wi-Fi is.
T.J. Lang is Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.