Lockdown diaries: the audiobook distributor

I am not going to write about the illness; the headaches, the pain in my lungs and chest, the loss of smell (wine has still not yet been consumed), the breathlessness, the trip to A&E… Yep a seven long week Covid drama and if I had to use an emoji to illustrate the whole sodding experience, it would be the ‘cross eyed, tongue sticking out, tilted face’ one. You get my drift.

I am very bored of being ill. All I want to do is get better and I have been told I will, so I must be patient and allow my lungs to heal in their own time.

Funnily enough in that one sentence alone, two words emerge which are central to my lockdown experience, relatable both to work and family life: patience and time. Not a shocking and profound epiphany as such; however they both are undeniable components in life as I now know it.

A definition of patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. Has patience ever met Covid-19?

I prefer Leo Tolstoy’s version: “Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience. The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

All who used to struggle with patience as a concept (me!), can now pat ourselves on the back. Well done us! Lockdown has turned us into patient people. Because if there’s one thing we know for sure it’s that this whole situation is not easy. I would actually call it quite tough. It also won’t be something which will revert magically to how it was; it’s going to be a slow and long process. There is no way around it, we have to keep going.

Words can’t express how nasty Covid-19 really is. It has hit me, a fit and healthy working mum of three, like a tonne of bricks. My extremely sluggish recovery from coronavirus has tested me. I literally have had to stop. I never stop so for me that is huge. Anything which involves moving is off the table. My favourite pastime of exercise, running and dancing will not be on the cards for a very long time. But I am also grateful as isolation is giving me time to mend. I am lucky, I am not fighting an illness in the pre-Covid world where the ‘immediate and now’ requires you to snap back to it.

I was able to go back to work a few weeks ago, as lockdown of course allows me work from home. Whilst the children are being home-schooled and entertained by my husband (I wouldn’t be able to do both at the moment), all I have to do is sit still and make sure I don’t have too many meetings, as too much talking leaves me breathless. It feels good to be back, to occupy my mind. And to take the learnings from my physical recovery and apply it to my work ethic: allowing for time and being patient.

As a company we have been fortunate; the audiobook distribution industry as such has not been affected by coronavirus, we have actually seen a significant rise in listens, across both book-centric shops and music streaming services. But we are very much aware that at the same time our publishing clients are struggling in other parts of their business. However, the sheer tenacity of some to embrace new concepts, the rethinking of policies and strategies, their new-found “patience”, has truly touched me. There seems to be a recognition that digital plays a far larger part in the lives of readers than we could have ever imagined.

So my day to day is probably a bit like everyone else’s. Just the five of us, getting up in the morning (slowly), having breakfast, lunch and dinner together and in between our meals (food has become number-one priority for all) we’ve created some sort of consistent pattern so we all still recognise the difference between the weekdays and the weekend. But this supposed simplicity is hard when illness, work, the emotional wellbeing of children, the missing of friends and family plus the frankly scary outside world is thrown into the mix.

All I can do, all we can do, is push on through and do it all over again the next day. “There is something in the human spirit that will survive and prevail, there is a tiny and brilliant light burning in the heart of man that will not go out no matter how dark the world becomes.” If nothing else, Leo Tolstoy will get us there.