By Cheryl Scheir
My essay for our first issue highlighted the pandemic-driven transfiguration of “How are you?” From the feeling created by our shared experiences of isolation, anxiety, and uncertainty, we have reclaimed the phrase as more than just a synonym for “hello.” We now pose the question in its plainest sense, inquiring after how people really are…and actually sticking around for their honest answers.
In this next issue, I find myself asking another everyday question: “What have you been doing?” The answer of our contributors, likely along with binge-watching, comfort eating, news obsessing (or, perhaps, news avoiding), clearly points to creative endeavors. We’ve been making music, painting, taking pictures, crafting stories, and writing poetry. As it has reset the boundaries of what is normal, COVID-19 has led us to listlessness in need of a project, overwhelming concern in need of a distraction, and lonely dark caves in need of our family and friends.
In our coping, we have stretched as the new normal has taken shape. Some of the pieces in this issue are the result.
Thank you to all our contributors—your acts of expression and courageous creativity reflect a hope that inspiration has persisted in the midst of our shared challenge. Thank you also to our audience—your participation in support of these writers and artists who are your friends, family, or even strangers reinforces the hope that creative communication is a community survival skill.
As you make your way through the issue, I hope you’ll take heart. Whatever your pandemic mood is today, I hope you’ll be enriched.
We’re glad you’re part of our community.
As such, remember, we’re all in this together.
-Cheryl Scheir, co-editor