In the past, I know I’ve talked about how much I love Laura Tremaine, and how her words inspired me to record life during Covid. Last week she posted Write Down Right Now: 10 Prompts for this Historic Moment. While some prompts refer to the American election, many refer to life during Covid, so I decided to respond to three of them for this week’s post.
1. What do you remember about March?
I remember March being normal. I remember driving to pick up sushi on slushy winter roads and listening to a CBC radio report about how the WHO had decided to hold off on declaring Covid-19 a pandemic. I remember the Wednesday where I taught, attended a department meeting, and met with students. And then I remember the Thursday after where it felt like Covid became a real threat in a single day. I remember standing in a line up at Save-on that was wrapped all the way back to the dairy section at the far end of the store. I remember my first Zoom meeting where I embarrassed myself by not muting my mic: everyone could hear the pen scratch from my nervous doodling. I remember teaching myself how to make a screencast. I remember the unknowns of the shut down as being scary, but also a little like an adventure that we were all in together.
2. How did Covid-19 change your year?
When I look at the goals I had for 2020, and the vision board I’d made back in January, it’s obvious that my marathon dreams went out the window. If I’m going to complete a marathon, I want the full experience – the music, the energy, the camaraderie of other participants, the giant crowd cheering and holding dorky signs, so I stopped training when the Edmonton Marathon was cancelled. While I felt so discouraged at first, I ended up using my time to submit a book proposal and two full book projects to publishers. So even though I still struggle with guilt because I honestly felt a little relieved about not having to go through with the marathon, I’d like to think I’ve made the best of things. As Lisa Wingate said, “The secret to a happy life is not getting what you want, it is learning to want what you get.” And what I got during Covid was time to write.
3. What do your days look like 8 months later?
8 months later, on a work day, I take Henry to his day home. Sometimes when it’s nice out we use the extra time I used to need for my commute to walk there. I get home and prepare for my class. I throw a giant pink blanket over the window in our dining room because the blinds don’t block out enough light and it creates a glare against the glass in the china cabinet behind me that’s distracting on screen. I teach over Zoom and try my hardest to engage students and build connection and community online. I throw in a load of laundry during my break. If I feel lonely, I’ll run to the post office or grab a coffee before settling in for an afternoon of meeting with students.