quarantine blogging: another poem

Another poem from the IG reading …

This one came about because our friend Ulrica messaged me about sending Scott a care package from Sweden, and she said, “The world as we know it is gone. Some of us understand that already, others need more time for it to sink in … So let’s just spread as much joy as we can.  And allow people to mourn what has been.”

Instructions for Quarantine
(Ulrica’s Poem)

We must sit with our grief
on the living room floor,
knees touching
(she is grief not pestilence)

She will be familiar,
delicate and raw;
this is not the first time you have met
(this is not the last)

We have done this before,
mourned a world lost,
the luxury of expectation
(the solidity of chairs)

I shall take her hands
and place in them
the bud of an orchid, a poem
(words will pour into the cupped hands of my grief)

Over and over
as the world dies again
as the world changes again, again
(as we mourn what has been, again and again and again)


copyright 2020 by Laura E. Price.  Feel free to link to this poem, but please don’t reproduce it without permission. 



quarantine blogging: a poem

This is one of the poems I read during my IG reading back in Year 5 of Quarantine.

I wrote this for a prompt: “Build the Wall/All Walls Fall.” 


What I Know About Walls

I know that there is something that does not love them.

Walls are made, of stone or wood or roles or rules.
Some have doors; some have windows;
some block the view of their other side.
Pictures can be hung from them; slogans can be painted on them;
there’s one that can be seen from space.
Another is long and cuts into a hill, a polished black thing
with names etched into its face, reflecting the people who pace alongside it, reading.

There are all kinds of walls.
There are kinds that  divide property.  Or cities.  Countries.
Another sort is there to remind us, of what we’ve lost.  Of what we’ve made.
People.  Wars.  Art and music.  Mistakes.
Some walls–closet walls, great walls, walls Mother helps you build–
are meant to keep you safe.  Keep them out.  Keep you in.

I know all walls must be tended.
With belief, with punishment,
with tools and more paint.
Guards.  Guns.
Cheap, badly-poured concrete.
Polishing cloths, survivor’s guilt, and tears.

Without tending, walls crumble.
The weather unseats them so they lean and gap.
Or maybe, eventually, someone wonders why they’re there
in the first place, kicks at them, gets a pick, starts to hack away.
And through the gap or the rubble,
or in its surface,
they see what’s on the wall’s other side.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall
The land.  The wind.  The rain.  And you.  And me.


copyright 2020 by Laura E. Price.  Feel free to link to this poem, but please don’t reproduce it without permission. 

quarantine blogging: shameless self-promotion

My essay “A Meditation: on Safety, Fear, and Rage”–which is also about the owls in the yard, the kid across the street, the obnoxious dude next door, and Kill Bill–is in the second issue of Fuckit: A Zine! $3 on Etsy, gang!

It’s not what I meant to write, but it got written.  One word at a time.  It got the husband, which is always a good sign.

quarantine blogging: bad head space Saturday

cw:  uncertainty, anxiety, depression, talk of death–but my family and I are all healthy, so if you need to not read, you don’t need to worry on that account.


It is a bad day in Laura’s brain.  One of those days of wondering will I catch this thing? If I do, will I die?  I’d like to not die in 2020.  Or, like, until I’m ridiculously old and waaay more okay with the idea than I am now.

I’m used to feeling like I will survive out of goddamned spite, if nothing else, but today I’m not sure that’s a viable plan.

The family is good.  We’re masking, we’re not going out much (curbside pickup for printer ink was the highlight of my week), so far we’re all healthy and hanging in there.  A writer friend on Twitter is also an ER nurse.  I think she lives in Kansas?  Maybe?  Anyway, she’s pretty sure she’s got it and is waiting on her test results.  So that probably hit me right in the anxiety, for her (she’s a great writer and hilarious on Twitter) and also as my day job considers how and when it will open back up (slowly, seems to be the plan right now).

The thing that brings me the least and the most comfort right now is a John Mulaney quote (no, not that one, Tumblr peeps.  This one comes earlier.):  “I think eventually everything’s going to be okay, but I have no idea what’s going to happen next. And neither do any of you, and neither do your parents!”

On the one hand, that is fucking scary.  I mean, I realize I’m not the rule, here, but my parents are supposed to know everything, okay?  My father is 81 years old.  The man spent 9 years in the Marine Corps.  He traveled the world and did shit he can’t actually talk about.  He dated Tuesday Weld for, like, a day.  He ran away from home at age 10.  He got kicked out of Catholic school for punching a priest.  He hates boats because he was on one that sank underneath him.  My point is that nothing should surprise him, and the world is making him say “What the actual fuck?” right now.

So when I think … will I end up dead from COVID-19 this year?  Or next yearI hear that in my head.

But on the other handNOBODY knows what’s going to happen next.  So who’s to say it won’t be good?  I honestly did not expect Harvey Weinstein to even come close to going to trial, and there he was with his walker, playing for sympathy.

So when someone says, “They’re not going to have a vaccine!  Or treatments! We’re all fucked!” I also hear that in my head: and neither do any of you, and neither do your parents!

In the end, I dunno.  Truly, ain’t nothing guaranteed, even when there’s no pandemic.  I know that.  I’ve also been dealing with anxiety for well-nigh 16 years, now, and in that time I have amassed enough tools, workarounds, and experience to know that this day, too, shall pass.  God is change, as Lauren Olamina tells us, and no head space lasts forever.


quarantine blogging: the days all blend together

It’s Year 129578394687 of Quarantine, and man am I sick of Zoom.

Some positive notes:

  • I managed to trim my hair so that it is not driving me insane.
  • I also started using the flat iron in the morning because I seriously hate looking at my hair doing weird flippy things during a Zoom meeting.
    • I have not worn makeup since sometime in March, but I am doing my hair.
    • The years, no doubt, have changed me.
  • I have new pens!
    • Okay, maybe not changed me that much.
  • The boy turned 13 on Saturday.
    • The husband and I made a cake.
      • It was pretty good!
    • I gave him a bear in Animal Crossing!
    • And a t-shirt in real life that reads “I’m an acting chameleon, ffs!”
      • He’s uncertain as to whether that would violate the theatre camp dress code this summer.
      • I kind of want to take a picture of him in it and send it to the camp director, anyway, because it seems like his sort of thing.
  • Today one of the burrowing owls in the yard behind ours was hiding in the burrow, poking just its head out, judging us for our sins.

Quarantine blogging: squirrel brain

Squirrel brain this evening; no focus at all.

Yeah, just lost the thread of what I was going to say two seconds ago, yay.

Finished a draft today! The manuscript is a literal mess—part typed into Scrivener, part into Google docs, part handwritten between two notebooks, and the ending typed into Word. This is due primarily to moving computers during the writing of it. Tomorrow I will type the handwritten bits up in Docs, paste in the ending, and then Wednesday I’ll figure out how to import the front of it from the Scrivener app on the iPad to the Scrivener app in Windows.

And then I will dump it into the “to be revised” folder and see if I can’t get this vampire owls thing drafted before the end of May. The Mess Ms took me like three months to write, thank you pandemic, so I have no real idea how long the next one will take. But June-December is revision time. Knock wood.

Took the dog for a long walk. She’s sacked out on the floor now.

Re-reading the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells currently.

quarantine blogging: oh bloody hell

From August 2015:

So life is ephemeral, adulthood is hard, and my child looks to be ready to go through another growth spurt. He’s chest-high to me right now–when I rest my elbow on his head, I have to tilt my arm up, which was not the case back when summer started–so I can only assume he’ll tower over me at twelve (and, wow, does he love that idea. Little does he know, height is not the controlling factor for the WiiU or the TV remote).

He’s got one week left before he turns 13, and he’s 5’9″.  I’m 5’6″.

I. fucking. called it.

quarantine blogging

Whenever I play Candy Crush I get the urge to go to Five Below.

Why?  There’s nothing I actually want at Five Below.  I refuse to spend more than $5 at Five Below, as well; I am morally outraged at the “sometimes $10” thing they started previous to the pandemic.  So what the hell is the deal, brain?

I also keep wishing I could go to Legoland.

We took the boy to Legoland a number of times when he was small.  It is a perfect amusement park for small children–say, ages 3 to 10.  The rides are cute, the roller coasters aren’t super crazy, you can get through it in a day.  If you add the water park (which we only did once) you can stretch it to two days, although we did two days and just repeated the regular park on Day 2 as well.

I think I’m missing the ways that the past was easier.

Not that the past was easy.  But parts of it were–going to Legoland was an easy family trip.  Easier than Disney or Universal with a small boy, anyway.  Less expensive, fewer expectations.  Obviously no pandemic to worry about.

The kid is far, far too tall for Legoland now.  Although he might still dig their roller coasters.


quarantine blogging

The husband is sewing masks.  This is his first time sewing.  I can sew a button, do some rudimentary mending, and embroider a little, but not enough to actually teach him anything past “hey, double the thread so tying the stitch off is easier.”

There has been swearing.

I am surprised at how well we’re doing with quarantine and me working remotely.  There was a time we ended up snarky and snappish with each other if we spent more than three days in a row together, uninterrupted.  Nowadays, though, that sort of thing is rare.  We’ve gotten better at recognizing our feelings and each other’s signals, and better at communicating those things.  We’ve also gotten better at communicating generally.

29 years together will do that, I suppose.  29 stubborn, stubborn years.

I’m also surprised at how well I’m taking to working at home.  There are things that bother me, absolutely.  My day job is something that is better done face to face; I get really freaking sick of videoconferencing very quickly; blah blah blah.  But I love not commuting.  I like being in my space (though I miss my officemate; the overlap of our jobs is such that working in the same room is more efficient).  My boundaries are pretty good.

I also like that I have Cadbury Creme Eggs in my refrigerator right now.