Highlights of the week

As you might notice from the list below, I had a hard time sorting out the highlights this week. There were so many wonderful posts!

Generally speaking I am noticing a difference between posts that approach the blog as “here’s what I’m doing” versus posts that are stretching out to teach or relate to readers about our humanity.

The difference, I think, if a matter of process. I suspect the writers below start their process or even their drafts with “here’s what I’m doing,” but they push it to the “so what?” question — a question that all good writers must ask when they go public with their work. In my experience, that question usually has to be worked out through a process (otherwise, “so what?” would stop us before we could even start). We answer the “so what?” through our writing — sometimes in one sitting, sometimes through many published posts.

So if there’s a common thread between the posts I highlight below, it’s that: these posts are trying to reward you as a reader by answering the “so what?”: they describe the complexity of our emotions (Dylan and Ava), interrogate how our everyday language has material consequences (Matt), take stock of the life systems that surround us (Christina), reflect on our personal traumas and histories (Tom), respond to absurdity with absurdity (Jared), or use the experience to learn a new thing (Maranda).

Posts (in alphabetical order):

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Jenna: Over the past few weeks it’s been difficult for me to find a balance between making sure that I’m up to date on where we are and where we go next and taking time not to think about it. It seems like every time you turn on the news or scroll through social media it’s nothing but sadness and fear and it can be overwhelming. Regardless, I know it’s important not to be in the dark and to be aware of the details of everything that’s going on. With that being said, how are you guys going about getting your news? What forms of media have you been using (TV, social media, podcast, etc.)? How often do you check the news to get your information on the virus versus how often do you ignore it completely and try to focus on something else? Do you think you’re striking a good balance, or do you feel like you’re concentrating on it too much/not enough?

Christina: Usually when it comes time to make a meal you make a grocery list, head to the store and grab what you need. Now that many people are buying food and supplies in bulk quantities, a lot of items are just not available. Cooking meals has become a free for all. My mom loves to watch Food Network and I can’t help but think about the show “Chopped”, which is one of the shows where chefs need to use surprise ingredients and create a dish within a certain time. I feel like we are all competing on this show whenever we go to the grocery store. You show up with a list of ingredients from a recipe and half are missing. You then are faced with the challenge of creating a meal from what’s left: what can I make for dinner with organic peanut butter, chicken, potatoes and bacon. Has anyone else experienced this? How have your eating habits changed since this pandemic began?

Dylan: A majority of my struggle right now is trying to keep some sense of variety in my day-to-day activity. Meals have become monotonous since I’m limited with grocery store supplies and no restaurant food. Physical activities and hobbies are confined to and around my home, so it becomes very repetitive. What are some methods you employ to mix things up, and keep a spark of spontaneity going while we are all so limited on options during this quarantine?

Marissa: Although I haven’t been sleeping well at all during isolation, when I do sleep I often dream more than usual. Last night I had a dream that my friend took me to a huge party hosted by some uber-rich person. Neither of us knows any rich people or goes to parties. Weird. Have you all had any particularly strange dreams during quarantine? Describe the weirdest dream you’ve had in isolation. Take the characters and setting and describe them well–if you like, feel free to turn it into a story!