There is a huge amount of advice out there on what to do during the coronarvirus pandemic. Newsletters, emails, the media and other forms of communication suggest what we could/should be doing during these days when most people have a lot more time on their hands than they’ve had before.
You’d think it would be a slam dunk. Pick one or more and go with it. Spend more good-quality time with your kids and other family members while you’re cooped up at home. Clean the basement, garage, attic or even a closet or a drawer or two. Get out the cookbooks and family scrapbooks and bake something really good that you haven’t had time for. Play games. Read books. Talk to each other.
I’m suffering from overload. Looming over all of this is the threat that my family or someone we know, or don’t know, will get very sick plus the knowledge that financial stability is in jeopardy.
I told myself yesterday it would all be better if the sun would shine, but it’s not that easy. Depending on something I can’t control never really solves a problem. As sure as the sun will shine, there will be cloudy days.
I know there’s only one person responsible for this funk. Me.
So here’s what I’m going to do.
— Follow the lead of some gals I know and make an angel food cake from scratch and frost it with seven-minute icing. I know the recipe is in my mom’s recipe box, and I’ve already googled how to make cake flour out of all-purpose. Call Jackie Fragel or Roberta Temeyer for other advice.
— Take an uphill walk. It’s always great because coming home is downhill.
— Rake old leaves and twigs in the yard.
— Finish this column with something worthwhile: Become a story chaser, part of an initiative called “Stories Don’t Stop.” This project was started last year by Humanities Kansas to encourage people to share short stories from home. It fits in perfectly with this year’s events.
“As many of us curtail our outings and social gatherings for the health and safety of ourselves and others, stories persist,” says the invitation to participate. “The stories seep into our homes through the pages of a book, tumble out of our television sets and computer screens, appear magically in the unexpected gestures of friends and family and arise slowly but surely in our minds as we process this new world.”
The program can require us to be active on social media, sending our 150-or-less-word stories on Instagram, Twitter (140 characters) and Facebook, but you can also use email by sending your photo and story to email@example.com.
The guidelines suggest these possibilities:
— What books are you reading and why? Are you picking different types of books than you normally would?
— What creative ways are you finding to connect with others while attaining social distancing restrictions?
— How are you coping with stress and anxiety right now? — Do you see connections between what you are doing and what Kansans have done during national emergencies in the past?
This last question prompted a Dodge City resident to write that even though many people are talking about the Spanish flu, he keeps thinking about the “black blizzards” of the Dust Bowl and “how we handled the economic havoc it wreaked on our country.
“Like the Midwesterners who were displaced at that time, I hope I’ll be able to adjust to whatever new circumstances come my way. I like reading about families who were affected by the drought in the 1930s that went on to not only survive but thrive.”
Get all the information you need to enter by going to humanitiesks.org and reading “Stories Don’t Stop.”
Sharon Kessinger is retired co-publisher of the Marysville Advocate.