Just checking in to see what’s up with everyone in their neck of the woods. How are you coping with your COVID-19 restrictions? Are you getting stuck into those projects that have been hanging around forever? One of our friends is finally sewing clothes out of fabrics she bought on overseas trips years ago, another is starting to scan old photos, while yet another is decluttering one item a day. (Now that’s a goal I could probably meet!)
I haven’t quite been able to get seriously stuck into those sorts of projects yet, but we are gradually rearranging our lives, COVID-19 style. Here are some of the ways …
Anyone with any sort of social media account can’t help but come across programs/sites/apps offering to help you stay fit. As a ballet lover, I am particularly seeing programs coming out of ballet companies. My favourite, which I first saw on Instagram but which is also available on YouTube (and perhaps elsewhere), is Dancing with David (that is David McAllister, Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet). The first one is How to do a plié:
But, he is adding other ballet exercises, including, to date, calf rises and port de bras. These are exercises you can easily do at home. They also introduce those who have never done ballet to some of the fundamentals, while for those who have, like me, they offer such a fun trip down memory lane – made even better by McAllister’s delightful personality. He makes me smile, and that is the best thing of all in thee difficult times.
Of course, we also do some walking, as I mentioned in my first post, and I have continued doing something I’ve been doing for years, Yoga with Adriene (who is also on YouTube, like David, though I have subscribed to her app.)
Finally, last week, our Tai Chi teacher test-drove a Zoom Tai Chi class with our group. It worked – well, enough anyhow – so we have that to look forward to next term.
Gradually, we are increasing our online social life with friends and family, matching the technology to the group – from simple email discussion times with older groups, through WhatsApp for those let’s-keep-in-touch groups, to all sort of Zoom events from committee meetings to classes to Happy Hours! (Almost anyone who is anyone is now a Zoom-pert it seems, though I’m not always sure why other free technologies like Skype and FaceTime aren’t used more! Anyone? For the record, we use FaceTime for our hookups with our Melbourne family members.)
Literary and other cultural stuff
Again, like exercise, opportunities to engage in literary (or other arts) culture abound, so I’ll just share a couple with you here that I’ve had time to check out (or plan to check out).
- Living in Solitude: Donna Ward & Donata Carrazza: A Zoom conversation inspired Donna Ward’s new book She I dare not name, and focusing on “what it means to live alone during this new era of social distancing”. This was a free event promoted via Facebook, and took place on Thursday 2 April at 7pm. I attended a small part of it, but it was a difficult time for me so I wasn’t able to listen to it all. However, it did work as a good proof-of-concept.
- Newtown Review of Books started a new series of Friday book extracts, which is intended, I understand, to help promote new books which are missing out on all those launches and Festival appearances the authors were expecting. First up was Kirsten Krauth’s Almost a mirror (April 3) followed by Chris Hammer’s Silver (April 10). It’s a shame they’ve not “tagged” the series so readers can locate them easily.
- Heather Rose Reads is an initiative by Australian author Heather Rose (see my review of her novel The museum of modern love) in which she … well, I’ll let her explain it:
Dear parents of primary age children! Monday April 6th at 4pm Australian EST its time for Heather Rose Reads. We’ll begin with the first book in the acclaimed children’s series I co-author under the pen name Angelica Banks. Book 1 is Finding Serendipity for children aged 8 – 12 (grades 3 -6). If you have primary school children this is my way of helping you have a break for a little while on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I’ll also post the readings on YouTube if you’re in a different time zone. See you and your children here on Facebook Live 4pm this Monday April 6th … it’s going to be fun.
As you can see, it started last week, but she is posting them on YouTube too. Her Angelica Banks co-author is Danielle Wood (whose Mothers Grimm I’ve reviewed). What a lovely idea.
- This is History: The National Library of Australia has produced a video conversation between ACT-based historians Dr Chris Wallace and Professor Frank Bongiorno on “why it’s so important to document everyday life during irregular times” like our current COVID-19 pandemic. They talk about what citizens can do now to help historians of the future document and interpret the life we are living. We often don’t realise we’re living through a major historical moment until the time has passed, but we surely do this particular time. Anyhow, this 20-minute conversation is a lovely introduction to the work of historians and the importance of everyday lives to the study of history.
- Writing War: A Panel Discussion: Still upcoming – Monday 20 April – but I’m sharing it now in case any of you are interested in attending. It features Nigel Featherstone (whose Bodies of men I’ve reviewed), Melanie Meyers (whose Meet me at Lennon’s I’ve reviewed), and Simon Cleary (whose The war artist Lisa has reviewed) moderated by author Cass Moriarty. This event is not free, costing a whopping $5! To book tickets check this link.
“What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves.” (Albert Camus, The plague)
Wouldn’t that be lovely!
Meanwhile, how are you faring?