Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 33

When my spirit is scattered and restless, as it was this evening, I take a walk through Los Angeles, trusting in the endless road’s ability to host my insatiability.

At moments, it feels like my spirit can devour the entire road. At others, like it needs to simply lay eyes on its slopes and curves, acknowledging their lonesome ranges. There are also moments during my walking when I feel like the paths I take are that of an outlier, well past the standard deviations of distances usually traveled when moving about the city on just two feet.

Then there are moments when none of it matters because I am alive and ready to take on all challenges presented by the terrain. At still other moments it’s the opposite; I need to be sensitive to every noise, brush of wind and slight of concrete facing my direction.

Finally, there arrives a moment during every one of my walks when I’m called back to work by that other movement emanating from the same spirit from which the walking journey began.

Especially as the days begin to warm, I recommend every reader to take advantage of the road in their midst in whatever fashion works best for them. If you need a cap to guard against the roar of the sunlight, or simply to show the solidarity which eludes so many of us workers during the “regular” seasons, Los Cuentos got you covered.

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 31

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?

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 06

Today was a windy day through the city of Los Angeles that felt like winter trying to sabotage Spring after the new season basked L.A. in fresh light following days of rain; grey clouds loomed overhead from morning into early evening, but the day belonged most of all to gusts that roamed like jackals through the recently emptied city. The new ghost-town of Los Angeles.

As sunlight swept over the horizon I got up to a light snack to calm my appetite for the morning’s interval: a delicious chocolate concha with almond milk to soak it in. After that, I quickly got ready and headed out to the town. The fact is, although the city is mostly shut down into an eerie solitude and autopsy of itself, there are still plenty of places for me to see and take a seat at to sift through the day’s tasks with; on reaching my oasis, there was much to do.

There were articles to finish reading. And there were announcements to make on the Instagram.

There was the word of the day to post up. And there were also more students’ poems to review, which are soon forthcoming.

There were also at least two phone calls to make and a few different texts to send out. Then, before I knew it, it was time to get back to home or headquarters for quesadillas.

All of it felt very occupying. The only difference was that where I used to complete these tasks while finding myself surrounded by the myriad of groups which the city seemed to produce out of the blue any given second, this time, it was just me and the winds. I have to admit: there was a special charm to the isolation, like marinating in a deep, whirling secret, or the way a child alone at the candy store might feel when they realize they can finally see everything without anyone over their shoulders. The truth is I’ve always enjoyed Los Angeles when it’s had its volume turned down.

On getting back home, las quesadillas set me upright like a tower, which reminded me: tomorrow I need to head out to the store early to grab some more tortillas. I’ll make another walk of it. From there, I’ll have just as much to complete with Los Angeles yet again. Ghost-town or not, the lists yours truly has to get through before sun sets on the day continue to sweep me away.

J.T.