The difficulty of this moment lies in the disjuncture between the new smallness of our worlds under stay-at-home orders and the enormity and incomprehensibility of the coronavirus pandemic. If you let it, the magnitude of it can consume you.
But art—and creative acts in all their forms—can serve as a corrective when anxiety and worry start creeping up. A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to make collaged postcards to send to friends and family. I pulled out old magazines and began hunting through them for interesting images and text. Cutting out the images occupied my hands and my mental energy. The act of synthesizing them together on a 4” by 6” card—pictured here—in a way that seemed logical to me felt like posing a problem to myself that I had the capacity to solve. And that isn’t something to make light of these days.
Investing time in a creative act doesn’t have to be what we typically conceptualize it as, though. After reading this piece from Bon Appétit about the necessity of taking time to make recipes without cutting corners, I stood in front of the stove, pushing my eggs around the skillet with a spatula for the duration of their scrambling. Usually, I abandon my scrambled eggs and check in on them periodically; usually, partially overcooked (or otherwise unsatisfying) eggs result. Not this time, though. They were perfect, and I ate them with relish. It was nourishing in more ways than the nutritional content of the eggs. And it felt awfully similar to making a collage—both involve tending and cultivating something with care.
In these moments, doing something creative feels like taking a deep breath—restorative and cleansing.