Letter 36

April 23, 2020

On quarantine

I told Summer there were two directions we could go in this week: we could write about quarantine, or we could write about something else. We both agreed it felt wrong to choose the latter, at least right now. So we’re writing about it—it’s just that writing about it is hard. Maybe because it’s no longer new; it’s been 39 days, for me, of feeling anxious every time I go outside for groceries, wearing a mask and gloves and staying as far away from other people as I can. Part of me is worried I’ll forget what it feels like to go outside without thinking about it—or that I’ll never be able to again. I am making peace with it, but that doesn’t always mean I feel good. Some days are okay, and other days I carry the heavy weight of anxiety around in my chest no matter what I do. There’s no way to put it lightly: this sucks. I am trying to take it one day at a time, and to look for small moments of joy: the sound of rain outside through an open window while I sleep, dancing in my kitchen while I make dinner, the way the sun hits my bedroom wall just right in the afternoon, underlining a line in a book that makes me feel good. (Also: I am still revisiting our last newsletter for suggestions of ways to feel better right now—maybe that’s something you need, too.)


Quarantine is really the only angle I can think about things, which I’m sure many people can relate to. I’m still working, from home, trying to keep normal business hours. I wake up, drink coffee with my boyfriend, check my turnip prices, and check my e-mail. I’ve broken the “no working in bed” rule many times these past weeks—it’s the most comfortable place to be. Every workplace annoyance feels worse, every headache or stomach pain the end of the world. I dropped half a banana today and almost cried. I’ve always been dramatic, quick to jump to the worst conclusions, ruled by anxiety, but some of it doesn’t feel as irrational now. We are making do; I’m lucky I’m with people I love, and I have others to reach out to often. Every time I am outside I am grateful in a way I wasn’t before, too. Picking produce at the grocery store a few weeks ago felt like a deeply precious thing and I love the taste of everything fresh, so much. It’s weird, it’s fucking weird, it’s tragic, and don’t let anyone make you feel weird for thinking it is.


We recommend

📽️ Clue (1985)

Whodunnits are just the best! I’d be wanting to see this movie for quite a bit, but it’s finally streaming on Prime Video and Kanopy. This movie is based off of the boardgame, Clue, which may not be a big selling point, but listen. It’s perfect! It’s perfect. It’s so fucking hilarious, everyone in the cast is a gem, it uses its source material very creatively, campy as hell, and has the best last line of any film in history. Nothing is better! Please go have fun!


🎶 Collaborative playlists

This week, my friend Cassie asked a few of us to pick ten songs each to put on a collaborative playlist that we could all listen to. Picking just ten songs was surprisingly difficult, but it was fun to come up with a mix of songs that I’ve liked for a while and newer songs that I’ve been listening to a lot lately—and I loved seeing what my friends added. I won’t share our playlist, because I like that it’s just for us, but I do recommend making collaborative playlists as a really cute way to connect with people.


📖 Birthright by George Abraham

George’s work has been among the batches of poems I’ve recommended before, but their full length debut is finally here—Birthright! It is a stunning, heart-wrenching, brilliant collection that I am so, so happy to finally hold in my hands. George is an absolute mastermind with form. They know how to communicate intensely and intricately, and there’s nothing more I want to do than spend hours and hours and hours with their work. You can buy it from Button Poetry (make sure to check out the blurb I co-wrote with other friends, hehe).


✉️ The Morning Report

The Morning Report is one of my favorite newsletters right now. It started as a series of tweets from Haley Houseman about things she saw on early-morning walks with her dog, and is now a beautiful, occasional newsletter that is mostly about nature but is sometimes about other things, too. The most recent one, titled “Potential hauntings,” made me feel all kinds of things, but I suggest you read this one to start with.