Other people’s words about connection
Paul sat alongside Julian on the kitchen floor. There was a long moment that they didn’t touch, or even look at each other. Paul could feel them staring at the same patch of wall, the scar … in the yellow paint. When Paul breached the distance he expected Julian to recoil, but he didn’t. Paul had barely touched his arm when Julian collapsed against him. He lay with his head on Paul’s lap, hardly making a sound but for the scattered rhythm of his breathing.
From ‘These Violent Delights’
by Micah Nemerever
Here in Australia, while countries all over the rest of the world have spent the last few months steadily vaccinating their populations against Covid-19, our population has remained largely unvaccinated. But now, with the kind of predictability that it seems only our political leaders were unable to predict, the Delta strain of Covid-19 has arrived on our shores. And because, without vaccination, lockdown is the only form of protection we have against the virus, we are — state by state — moving into lockdown once again, as the new strain of infection spreads. South Australia, where I live, went into a strict seven-day lockdown at 6pm on Tuesday night. The lockdown will be extended if the outbreak continues to grow, which is what has happened in New South Wales and Victoria.
Right now, I’m working from home. I’m lucky to be in the kind of work where this is possible, I know, but that’s the best I can say about the situation. Lockdowns are funny things, aren’t they? They do funny things to your mind, to your thinking. Maybe they lock your mind down, too?
Turn your back. Look away.
Anyway, in my spare time during lockdown I am reading, reading, reading. (Also writing a little, too, but that’s another story.) The libraries are closed but I have enough books from my last trip to my local library to tide me over, at least for now. And so I’m reading stories that transport me to other places and times, sentences that move me to laughter and tears, words that depict small moments of connection, like the moment between Julian and Paul in the passage above.
Everyone has their own way of coping, I know. Me? When things are tough, I collapse into books the way Julian collapses into Paul. I can think of far worse ways to collapse.
Lately I’ve been reading …
- I have made a commitment to not hate myself when my writing process becomes unmoored: I don’t live with chronic pain, thankfully, but this wonderful piece by Sonya Huber spoke to me about how the writing process changes with time and age, and how it is possible to keep writing when it doesn’t feel the way you expected it to feel.
- The library is more than a place: Lauren du Graf shares my love of borrowed books.
- Bad runners surely exist, because I am one. I am not even a little bit good: Caroline Donofrio and I have two things in common — we’re both bad runners, but despite that (or because of it?) we both love running.