When up is down and down is up
“It’s funny you’ve been telling me to go outside for the past year,” my client laughs. “‘It’s healthy,’ you said. Ready to eat your words?”
“Not yet.” I appreciate the irony.
As a counselor, maybe I should tell my clients: “You were right in choosing video games over face-to-face friendships,” but that doesn’t feel right, even when fresh air is dirty and direct human contact may be deadly. All I can do is accept that it’s okay for me to be confused, my client to be smug, and for anyone else to feel whatever they feel.
— Rebecca Anderson (New Bern, North Carolina)
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Breathe through the confusion
I’m not waking up at 5:30 am anymore. Watching far too many series and movies. I’m up until 2:00 am, easy. Sleep! It doesn’t feel earned. Missing out on the deadlines I’ve set for myself. But I’ve done this before; driven by my heart, the deadlines set by my brain hold no water. Same goes for logic. Logic dictates, “this is how it should be,” but my heart laughs and says, “well it’s okay! Do what your heart says.” But then my subconscious says, “if we know anything about us, this will probably go on.” Just breathe.
— Sravanthi Mamillapalli (Hyderabad, Telangana, India)
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I’ve been doing a lot of studio visits via video conferencing with students. They’ve had to transition their final exhibition for the semester to online social media platforms. One student has been working on a time-lapsed video of a painting she was making: celestial, with deep browns and oranges. I asked if she had seen the hi-res photo of the surface of the sun that came out this year. It served as a useful prompt. In the meantime, I made a gif of its wrinkled, cellular surface, in grayscale. The sun seems very distant, bodily, remote as all other things.
— Meghan Moe Beitiks (Gainesville, Florida)
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Homeschooling: Lessons Learned
Love, like air, must be filtered through face masks. Hugs hold not people, but danger. Home has become a lifeboat on a sea of time with no safe land in sight. We only hope we have enough supplies. A knock must be ignored until the delivery man is far enough away to safely open the door. A sneeze is an assault. A cough is a weapon of intimidation. The unmasked face is now the dangerous one. One man’s right to gather is more important than another’s right to live.
— Nora Fry (McMinnville, Tennessee)
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.