That it’s Tuesday took me by surprise; learning the actual name of the 24-hour period we call a day happens more and more. That is one of the effects I’ve noted as our stay-at-home period lengthens. No longer are my hours circumscribed by a day in someone’s classroom filling in for a missing teacher. I am the one missing.
Several weeks ago a good friend introduced me to Suleika Jaouad and The Isolation Journals project via Instagram. Avid New York Times reader that I am, I still had somehow missed her brilliant, moving “Life Interrupted: The 100 Days Project” which is to be published recast next February (can we all keep breathing and being ’til February 2021, please?) as Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted.
But The Isolation Journals has provided me with the writing push when I sat frozen, pen-in-hand. Jaouad has enlisted the creative support of musicians and writers—thanks to one post, I learned about the rare talent of Jon Batiste who now dominates my Spotify rotation. (Recently Stephen Colbert featured his “Scores Your Chores”playlist. You should check it out.)
I apologize for all these links and realize that many of them will sit idle, but hey, I had to try because truly, the creative selves that we are will not be denied. A young man who was tapped for West Point from a nearby high school in 2016, the local newspaper headline announces, is “doing extraordinary things.” Cadet Easton Smith, determined to help during this global pandemic, retreated to his “girlfriend’s dad’s basement on Cape Cod” and emerged 15 hours later with a design for a “unique, inexpensive ventilator.” The human being is a wonderful, awful thing. We are seeing both amplified.
Despite the muddling of days and the mundane tasks that often fill the landscape before us, many of us find ourselves exploring inside—our insides. And that gives me hope. I’ll take this time to show up, to be present, missing as little as possible. I know I’m not alone.