April 20, 2020

A Preamble

Friends! To begin, thank you. To expand, a letter about the ones to come:

"Time doesn't exist in the Q," Mary says to me. If it does, she is drinking a quart jar of draft cider mixed with two shots of tequila at three o'clock in the afternoon - a concoction that she calls sun tea - and moving in and out of the shade off of Main Street in her briefs: sunburnt and hungover and effervescent. I haven’t seen her in two years and now we’re both home, with her residency cancelled and my employment terminated. I hear her voice skip down the street as I pass the Post Office, quickening my step in its direction.

On the news they say that dating apps have experienced a substantial rise in messaging but say nothing about the merit of the United States Postal Service. They bring on a professional to warn against getting too serious too fast but are silent in regards to the dangers of privatization. All of my digital platforms keep telling me how to communicate digitally. To ask, What are your plans tonight? Or say, It’s okay to be sad.

I am sleeping in my childhood bedroom and wanting to be both in love and alone, cursed with remembered pubescence. Meanwhile, everyone is playing Animal Crossing. People in metropolitan areas are fishing virtual fish and selling them at the store while my brother and my parents and I are taking turns shooting pop cans off the fence. If I were Matisse in 1941 and accepting visitors I would say to them, "Basically, I enjoy everything; I am never bored."

When I was young and would complain to my mother about having nothing to do, she would tell me to run laps around the house. I reference this often as an anecdote about when I used to appreciate physical exertion, but I am realizing that it is perhaps more useful with self-reliance as the moral. In essence, that is what this newsletter will be: my laps around the house, my letter in the mail, my underwear on Main Street.

I tell my mom about this project and she says, " I hope you have enough to write about. I'm sorry we don't have all the bells and whistles here... but of course, all the bells and whistles are closed." I am with my family in the country. I see more deer than people in a day. I find that it’s the familiar voice ringing from two blocks down that soothes my longing, not What are your quarantine goals?

I abhor the taste of virtual fish. I fear getting too serious too fast. So this is my best solution: to land where I have permission and to receive without request. I want this to be a correspondence, a conjuring of those voices I miss. I want this to fuel itself from week to week; I want to be in love.

These are my dispatches from the pandemic.