As for most people, 31 days through this unprecedented time have gone by far more quickly than I could have imagined. I’ve been writing as a way to document my experience, but even so much writing only begins to tell the story. And while I’d like to look at everything written through the days to piece together some explanation of it all, it’s also true that I’ve got still more writing to do.
There are serious moments when I look at the world around me as though I may be the only one who truly exists in it. I know that might seem strange, but my mind is like a great shadow, cast over everything I say and do. Writing is a way to subdue this shadow, to reflect it back, and to let my mind connect with other minds who may also exist.
This probably also explains why I take so much pleasure in reading. I can be anywhere in the world, on an airplane 10,000 feet above sea level, or at my desk in the middle of a pressing workflow, but if faced with an engrossing read in my hands, the real universe can wait. A good book makes me a part of two worlds, both of which deserve my utmost attention and courtesy in equal degrees.
In the days following this quarantine, I hope to see more libraries, and more spaces where people are encouraged to sit peaceably as they read, write, and create their day in every other way they might. For now, while the “real” library is closed, there is another library stored in these entries of mine, as well as in the precious world offline, which still exists as mightily as ever, in the pages of a million books still left to read, in a million journals still left to write, and in countless real stories still between each line.
And for the record, I do not mean to be the only one who may exist. I value immeasurably every voice and every face promising that other minds besides mine also verifiably populate the world around me just like I do. In fact, as it turns out, the very mind that leads me to wander away from reality is the same one I use to get back to that very reality. I believe this is how it works for most of us, right?
In other words, it’s becoming clearer to me that perhaps even before the quarantine many of us were already quarantined, in our minds. But just like “the real one,” I can admit the long shadow has its upsides too. Today turns out to be one of those days. What does your quarantine say?
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