We're all stuck at home avoiding each other and, hopefully, Coronavirus. This is how I'm filling the time.
[We're in the process of adapting My Spilt Milk to life without live music in clubs, theaters, arenas and pastures. While we do, contributor Marisa Clogher talks about what to do with yourself when you're not washing your hands.--Alex]
I’m not sure how to begin other than with a resounding “What the fuck?” Things are bad. They will get worse, then, hopefully, better. But I’m not here to tell you any of that. Instead, I’m here to tell you how I’m filling the moments in between existential dread and panic. If you’re like me and everyone else in the world, you are spending a lot more time at home. I’m reading the news in doses, and I’m doing my best to not drown out my reasoning with sheer terror. For me, giving myself tasks, projects, purpose, and dedicated mindlessness in rotating succession has been helpful in achieving some balance.
I have been collaging. A lot. It’s been a great way to utilize both my hands and all the old magazines, papers, and books that I can never bring myself to throw away. In my last semester of college, I took two art classes, and my never-since-used art supplies are finally seeing another day in the sun.
My 2020 goal was to read at least one book a month, and it looks like I’ll have more than enough time to do this now. I’m currently reading Zadie Smith’s collection of essays Feel Free. There are a lot of particularly poignant and timely ones about the failures of the state, but also of the potential of the state to provide care for its people. My favorite essay so far is called “Dance Lessons for Writers,” and as a former dancer, this essay warms me as it weaves together my two favorite art forms. Next on my list is Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism, and I’ll try my hand at some theory for the first time since graduating.
I’ve also decided now is my time to stop being ignorant on a topic I’ve long since pushed off and avoided: The Sopranos. That’s right, I’m taking the leap, and I’ve strapped in for an experience that I’m sure will destroy me emotionally. But the problems of Tony Soprano are not mine, and it is nice to not remember mine for an hour at a time.
I’ve also decided I’m going to try my hand at some new skills in this time as well. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I will try acetone image transferring for the first time. I haven’t done this before, but all you need is nail polish remover and a pencil, and I have both of these things. I will also be trying to teach myself to juggle. This is a skill I’ll learn and tell nobody about unless pressured to or it’s somehow extremely relevant. It will be my little secret, something I'll boast about later only to round me out as a character in the lives of other people.
Then, there’s the mindless stuff. Currently, the Sims 4 is only $5 on the EA website. I have bought it. I am playing it. I have also started watching Love Is Blind, which, if you know nothing about it, is the perfect reality show dystopia to match the chaos of real life right now. There’s lots of drama, and I’m eating it up.
On top of all of this, I’m trying to make sure I’m taking care of my body. Waking up at normal times, eating meals at normal times, brushing my teeth, showering, going to bed, all at their regular times so that my grip on reality doesn’t slip further away. These steps are probably the most important. I’m talking to people, and I’m taking breaks when necessary. I’m saving my energy because this is a long battle and will be even longer battle than currently predicted. Please, stay home.