Reader-submitted stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, in no more than 100 words. Read past stories here. Submit your own here.
Cravings in Closeness
Among myriad what ifs and gratitudes – realizing how much worse I and my family could have it, as we drive each other mildly bonkers in a small apartment – I find it fascinating to imagine what a quarantine would have been like in my 1970s childhood, sans internet, Zoom, even a VCR. Would our family have been closer? Crazier? Would I have developed my craving for city life and live performance, which led me where I am? My life, my very brain, may be rearranged by this crisis. But it’s my kids I look to, not un-anxiously, for the real change – and the future.
— Rob Weinert-Kendt (Queens, New York)
* * *
Another morning, another hundreds sick, another hundreds dead.
Another day I am alive, healthy, privileged to stay home.
The sun is shining, but the streets are empty.
Today, I run.
I run to release the anxiety I feel listening to the news.
I run to grapple with my powerlessness in the face of a pandemic.
I run to cope with the pain and suffering felt throughout the world.
I run to randomly smile at the few strangers I cross at a distance in my path.
I run because there is nowhere else I can run to at this moment.
— Patricia Basile (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
* * *
Crawling out from the rubble,
Trying to celebrate the struggle,
Life is in a muddle,
Always living in a bubble.
Working alone is not new to me; however, when everything else around you seems dormant when it is supposed to be vibrant with life, and when the future is uncertain, it is a challenge to stay creatively motivated. Instead of my usual process, I’ve been pushing through this block by using different materials and making marks that are pure expressions of the moment, then playing with words that pop into my head to accompany each piece.
— Sue A. Miller (Creemore, Ontario, Canada)
* * *
Medical tent in hospital parking lot. Sprayed with sanitizer, given a mask, led to a tent. Doctor in hazmat suit, plastic face guard, riot gear: “We think you have COVID-19 but we don’t have tests.” I say: “My celebrity friend bought one: $3,000.” Nods. A secret back door, X-ray room covered in plastic. After, I stand outside tent, it’s windy in my paper gown. Doctor: “Hospital at home.” Hospital, a new verb. Stoplight next to Paramedic. Honk, gesture, “roll window down!” “What do you need lady?” “THANK YOU!” I shout. His face reconfigures into a grin.
— Jessica Litwak (Petaluma, California)
This series is edited by Thomas Peterson. One of the editors of Artists & Climate Change, he is also a theatre director and researcher whose work focuses on the climate crisis.
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