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Today, it is a rainy Sunday. Not quite noon, and I’m sitting at my laptop listening to the rain crash hard on the flat roof above me. It is dark out, the skies are rumbling, and I’m wondering what to do next…

Why not write?

It is May 2021, and here on the shores of Lake Ontario, Canada, we are in our third lockdown due to the Coronavirus global pandemic. While other provinces start to recover, and are slowly getting back to life as normal, our numbers continue to get out of control. We are a province in conflict over everything. Divided not just by the physical restrictions of staying home, but divided by different ethical and political views. People conflicted over whether their basic human rights are being violated, or not. Conflicted over whether or not to get vaccinated; why it’s safer to do it, or not do it. Protesters in parks, unmasked and mingling, claiming this disease is a government hoax to control us. Life is stranger than fiction these days.

While this all goes on in the world outside my safe little apartment, I sit, stew, wait, watch, listen, think, write, create… By nature the human mind is an active thing. Many years of yoga and mediation have made me very aware of how our thoughts affect our moods, emotions, and quality of life. It can be very therapeutic to direct this excess energy (aka anxiety) into art.

The first few months of the pandemic, which began with a lockdown in March 2020, I (like many) felt a lot of anxiety. It took a long time to get into a creative groove. In fact, for me, the pandemic started with a complete creative block.

In January that block was demolished by the idea to make 2021 a year of creativity. With a long list of projects, I dived into one every month. In January it was photo-poetry, in February daily drawings, in March mini-paintings, in April I started an embroidery piece (which has overflowed into May). Next will be a basic square-patch sewn quilt. The months ahead will explore pastels, water colour painting, and more writing.

Our creativity sure can help us during these strange days. Just as the sun has started shining through this rain, your art can shine some light on these dark times.

“Art is a way of Survival” – Yoko Ono

Let’s do more than survive, let’s thrive.

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Jennifer Anne Burke

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