Reader-submitted stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, in no more than 100 words. Read past stories here. Submit your own here.
this is how it started the rush of feeling the quick disdain the aching bleeding thingness of being seeping through all, all this now is different, deferred, but here, and in this here we wonder what here is this, blanketed in anxiety, stirred in its own fear, stoked by unease, yet also here, still, the ever present solace of you, still here, and you on the other side light on wondering how you manage these days to get up. perhaps we will gather here like this for a long time. window to window. a look passes through us. still. here.
— Caridad Svich (New York, New York)
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All possible worlds
All possible worlds have come a-courting…
Hell is visiting the dying or bereaved, tapping shoulders in medical wards and theatres of war. Despair is bedding in where abusers sleep, and in quarters missing houseroom or headspace.
Meanwhile, heaven swears blind we still have options – a chance of world-neighborliness, and a shot at jamming ecocide back in the box Pandora cracked open.
For now, I live a scaled-down life and give thanks, bonding and blending with the girl who read alone in her bedroom decades ago, trying to tell what she makes of it all.
— Sally Moss (Liverpool, United Kingdom)
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There’s Life in My Kitchen
I’ve been a lifelong plant killer. But riding this shelter in place solo as I am, I have turned to cooking and not wanting to waste anything. Somewhere deep inside me, an ancient almost witchiness arose. Looking at my kitchen scraps I see potential. So, making use of abandoned pots from plants I’d previously killed, I clear a space in the garden and start nurturing seeds and regrowth. With all this time to really care for them, and plenty of sun, life springs forth. There is growth, as much for them as for me. We are saving each other.
— Cecil Castellucci (Los Angeles, California)
* * *
I never wanted to be here ever again. I never wanted to give terrifying power to the words negative and positive again. I never wanted to feel that fear again when you heard a friend was positive, was isolating away, was not being seen, was frightened for their future. I never wanted to see doctors or nurses at a loss again. I never wanted to see a President turn his face away from all that was fact again. I never wanted to experience so much loss. I never wanted to be here again, but… here we are.
— Gary Garrison (Provincetown, Massachusetts)
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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