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Celebrating in the Time of Coronavirus

When everything first started shutting down and it became clear just how dangerous the coronavirus situation had become, I was devastated for entirely personal/selfish reasons. My thesis defense would now be online. The commencement ceremony at my university was cancelled when I was supposed to walk this semester to celebrate hard work in graduate school. I was supposed to go out and celebrate with one of my best friends on the day An Outcast and an Ally released—visit bookstores to see my book on shelves and maybe go to Disney Springs like last year. I was supposed to have launch events to celebrate the publication of my second book with all the people I love. And none of that was going to happen anymore.

Leading up to release day, I was sure I’d sit in my apartment feeling miserable and wishing I could actually celebrate all the hard work I put into my book, especially since it was the end of an eight-year journey with these characters and their story. I was anticipating loneliness and disappointment and having to lie and say I was having a great day if anyone asked.

But that’s not what happened. My mom and I talked on the phone in the morning, and we were both all energy. She treated me to lunch and sent me a really considerate, lovely gift since we couldn’t celebrate together that day. So many friends and family members and colleagues congratulated me on my book’s release all day. I worked on building a wooden 3D model of a moon buggy that I’ve been saving for a special occasion—while listening to my playlist of An Outcast and an Ally and enjoying not feeling guilty about all the finals and grading I still had (and have) to do. I called two of my best friends and we played games online together. I played video games with my roommate and we did our best not to kill each other in-game when we were supposed to be teaming up (with mostly successful results!).

In other words, it was an amazing day, even in quarantine. I received so many messages and calls of love, support, and congratulations. I was truly humbled as I remembered how lucky I was to have my book being published and have so many wonderful people in my life to help me celebrate this fact—even if we couldn’t physically see one another.

Just because I couldn’t celebrate like I initially imagined and wanted to doesn’t change the fact that a book I love and poured my soul into is now out in the world. And I’m unimaginably glad I have so many amazing people in my life to remind me of that.

Author spotlight

Caitlin Lochner

I studied creative writing at the University of South Florida and used my BA in words to become an English …

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