When the ‘shelter in place’ order went into effect, my family and I had just returned from vacationing in Hilton Head, Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. The world I’d known was suddenly a thing of the past, and over those first few days, I canceled trips to New Orleans, New York City, and Baltimore/DC. My job as an essential worker (truck driver), meant that I would be the lone person in my household venturing out into a strange, new existence.
Eventually, I exhaled…
For the last year or so, my cousin Tasha Morris and I had been toying with the idea of starting our own media company, encompassing publishing, film, and other creative endeavors. We’d started doing our preliminary stuff, and we’d convinced two other cousins to join us as equal partners. There was no timetable for a launch, and we thought we’d be making our announcement sometime in May or June. And then… the quarantine happened.
With no trips, social engagements, etc., my crew at Binamu Media Group (Binamu means cousin in Swahili), our collective creative juices were allowed to flow with no restraint. Man. The ideas bounced back and forth, and our timetable became “right now,” as we flew towards the rising sun of our new endeavor. Our first release is an eBook ‘Branches and Leaves’ by Marlon S. Hayes, artwork by my cousin Skylar Shoemaker. We’re official.
I’m inspired in these days of quarantine by the knowledge that this, too, shall pass. My smile is brightened by the visions and thoughts of what lies ahead for me (God willing and da’ creek don’t rise.). And it’s not just me, everyone I know has embarked on a new project since we’ve been home, and folks are finding reservoirs of strength and creativity within themselves that they may not have been aware even existed. Catering, online businesses, home improvement projects, writing, painting, and I think that people have fallen back in love with themselves in this period… while the world is on pause.
The absence of hugs and handshakes have made me long for those simple shows of affection. We’ve been using Facetime, Zoom, and similar applications to talk to loved ones, conduct business meetings, and virtual ‘Happy Hours.’ Even as we’ve been faced with the deaths and sicknesses of people we know, we’ve found our inner suns, which help to keep the darkness at bay. Every day I wake up, send texts to friends afflicted with COVID-19, and I do my best to make them smile, which in turn, makes me smile.
The creativity button seems to be stuck on ‘GO,’ and each day, I either finish a writing project or inch closer to the finish line. Every time I create space on my creative plate, I immediately add something new because my daily goal is to be productive constantly. Poems, essays, short stories, progress in my novels, and discovering new ways to be creative has been my new routine. I’m even mentoring young creatives, and maybe I’ve embraced this ministry…
2020 was supposed to be my year. I started a new job as Executive Editor for County Down Press, an erotic publisher, and I’d mapped out the direction I wanted to take the company in. I also have seven novels under contract, and the first one ‘Eleven Fifty Nine’ was scheduled for release in September. Everything looked golden and rosy, and now, everything has been postponed, pushed back, and I should feel a sense of disappointment. But I don’t. Those days ahead will come, and I’ll look around at my life and say, “I’m just happy to be here.” Shout-out to Stacy Brooks! Thanks for those words to live by.
Every day is a gift, and this pandemic has brought that home even more to me. In the days ahead, I’m looking forward to kissing and hugging my Mama, trading hugs and jokes with my friends and family, and pushing forward with all of my daydreams. CEO of Binamu Media Group, Executive Editor for County Down Press, writer, author, essayist, journalist, a citizen of the world, and the epitome of the mantra ‘Life is a banquet.’ Yes, it is…
— Marlon S. Hayes
Marlon S. Hayes is a man living his daydreams. He can be followed at Marlon’s Writings on Facebook, Voices from the Bleachers, and his books are available on Amazon.