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I’ve started keeping the world’s simplest diary in quarantine. It’s inspired in part by the Susan Sontag book I’m “reading,” a collection of the “Notes on Camp”-writer’s journals and notebooks kept between the years 1964-1980. When I pulled it out from the middle of my “to read,” pile I imagined it would be a more classic sort of literary diary—the kind with polished prose that seems like it was written by candlelight itself. Instead, it’s a chaotic bowerbird’s nest of random thoughts, memories, and realizations, which, it turns out, is much better for me right now. The very pages of this book seem to have ADD—and, well, so do I.
I’m keeping my diary partly because George Saunders told me to, but also because I’m afraid that if I don’t make an effort to differentiate the days in my memory, they will cease to differentiate themselves. It’s a very unfussy affair—my notes are housed in a Google Doc called “CV Diary.” Here’s a sample week.
April 11, Sat:
April 12, Sun:
Distanced walk with Matt’s parents at Art Omi
April 13, Mon:
Rainy & windy
April 14, Tues:
Lunch with Haley (Google Hangout)
PM walk, complained to Bennett about a variety of things over the phone
April 15, Weds:
1 year at MR!
April 16, Thurs:
Stayed up till 2 am listening to new Fiona album
Felt really good to indulge in collective excitement about something
April 17, Fri:
Went on a morning run so I could time the “running up that hill” lyrics in the new Fiona album to literally running up a hill. Worth the effort
April 18, Sat:
April 19, Sun:
Made eggplant parm literally all day
Cursing Claire Saffitz in a good-natured way
Some days I write more, but never anything even approaching a paragraph. Other days, I don’t write anything, which sometimes leads to multi-day stretches of nothingness that I will go back and fill in after consulting my Google calendar, text messages, and camera roll for hints about how exactly I spent that time.
I can’t believe it’s been an entire month since I told you there would be no official April theme, and nearly everyone in the comments responded with a “yep, that checks out.” At that time, on April 1st—April Fools Day, if you can believe it—I didn’t even consider that I’d be writing the same thing again on May 1st. But of course I am!
Things have changed though, even if the message is essentially the same. On April 1st—an era that my diary informs me entailed “fluffy coffee x2” and “skipping therapy”—many of us were still getting into the rhythm of things. Today, both the pervasive fear of how bad this would get and the novelty of a new indoor life has faded slightly, but new concerns and interests (culinary, sartorial, and otherwise) have emerged in their place. I’m back on May 1st, not to tell you what’s coming, but to ask you what you need now.
Styling ideas that bring Spring indoors? Recipes that make good use of leftovers? New skincare tips? Good excuses to play with makeup again? Silly-ass articles about the Sauce Man du jour or an update on the animals who’ve gone wild?
Let us know what you want to see right now and we’ll get to making it.
Photos by Heidi’s Bridge.