Seven pandemic questions

By Caitlin Kelly

I really enjoyed this New York Times special section where they asked a range of artists — 75 in all –these questions:

Some produced nothing.

Some went into overdrive.

Some did a lot of cooking.

Some binged on much older works of art, from the Iliad to old movies.

My replies:

If you’d known you’d be so isolated for so long, what would you have done differently?

I would have rented a house somewhere upstate and fled our apartment. It’s been a challenge with two people home all the time working, between no privacy and noise and endless cooking and cleaning. Even fled overseas or back to Canada.

Did you find a friendship that helped you through this time?

My husband has been the best and most consistent.

What’s one thing you made this year?

My book proposal.

What’s the one moment you’ll remember most?

Two…my last gasps of non-COVID travel, seeing friends in D.C. in early March 2020, and a Degas show there. And the (thank God) defeat of Trump.

What art have you turned to?

I watch way too much television: new shows, older shows, new movies, older movies. Have tried to read books but with less success. My Insta account includes several people who highlight works of art and this has been really sustaining. Music, every day, thanks to my vinyl and global radio and Sirius XM.

What bad idea did you have?

My book proposal — so far proving impossible to sell. Very frustrating.

What do you want to achieve before things return to normal?

Lose more weight. Get really thoughtful about who I will spend time with.

How about you?

How would you answer any or all of these?

10 thoughts on “Seven pandemic questions

  1. I wouldn’t have done much differently. We have been very safe here in NWT – no community transmission, very low case numbers and I got my second Moderna shot in early March. We are at 75% now. My workload and stress levels increased substantially, so I’m really tired and need a break.

    Same – my husband.

    I didn’t really make anything. I found out that I’m pretty good at (unofficial) counselling. 🙂

    Remember most? Getting the second shot. It was much more of a relief than I realised it would be.

    Not much art. Some movies, some music. I relax by watching the Toronto Raptors. 🙂

    Eat less.

    Same, eat less. 😉

    Bad idea? Eating too much. 😉

  2. I’m not sure what I could have done differently, but I remember my last trip – Arizona early March 2020, just as everything was about to go down and I produced homemade bread at last.

  3. Hmm…good questions. Of the things I would have done differently, they’re all too personal for me to air on a public forum. Sorry. However, I did form friendships with a lot of writers, some of whom I see regularly through Zoom, and that helps quite a bit. It’s good to have a group of writers to laugh with while we work and discuss our projects together.
    For the making…jeez, I wrote so many stories, made a new bookshelf, learned some new recipes. It’s hard to pick just one thing. Something I’ll remember the most? Also hard to pick. I guess when I got to travel during the summer and stay at some famous/infamous places, including the Villisca Axe Murder House. And all the insanity of the election and what occurred afterwards. That’s something I’ll remember as wel.
    Art? Well, I’ve watched all the Avengers movies again, as well as a bunch of other stuff. I’ve read plenty of books, and even got into webcomics. And I even had a chance to buy some art while traveling.
    Bad idea is again too personal. And as for normal…I don’t want to go back to normal, because normal was a world that was getting more hateful and less scientific with every passing day. I want to move forward instead, to better times. I want to write stories that scare people. I want to make positive choices and changes in the world and in my life. I want to save money so I can eventually afford things I want, like a home. And I want to travel and see places that I’ve either seen and want to revisit or have never been to and want to make memories.
    Hopefully at least some of them will be possible.

  4. Put on some weight and stressed myself out working full hours plus overtime and much too hard while simultaneously trying to home-school a toddler during the first lockdown. I have spent lockdowns two and three getting the weight off again and trying to maintain a greater sense of equilibrium.

    Accidentally managed to buy a paddling pool online that was much larger than expected, but this meant the whole family could sit in water outdoors during the heatwave last summer, and the toddler got to sail a boat and play with a ball in the water, so that worked out just fine.

    Spent a lot of spare time early on trying to finish half-done DIY and craft/sewing projects (quilt, dressing gown, party dress for the toddler, nightgown, etc.) Eventually ran out of steam and started writing again to keep myself sane.

    Tried to spend more time outdoors. Grew some fruit and veg in pots on the patio. Wasted a lot of tiny potatoes that we grew but harvested all at once – far too many to eat and they all went bad. Note to self for this year — grow fewer potatoes and only dig them up as you need them.

    Did a lot of cooking (and a lot of eating of experimental home-cooked pizza). Did a lot of baking and DIY projects (e.g. wendy house) with the toddler.

    Dismantled the office and transitioned all staff to home-working for the duration.

    Didn’t read as much as I wanted due to constant toddler questions and poorer than usual attention span.

    1. This is a lot!

      Love that you tried fruit and veg in pots….so far we’ve only had flowers but we loved every morning visiting with all the bees. Such a great way to start the day.

      The paddling pool also sounds great!

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