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Pandemic Fun

By Carol Antman for The Island Eye News

Keeping our spirits united MyChapeau.com www.etsy.com/shop/JulieGlassStudio www.krismanning.com www.tatenation.com Tom Noren: Sullivan’s Island on YouTube

When the term “rage cleaning” struck a chord with me, I knew I had to make a change. The timeline of this forced isolation was coming into focus. The news was dreadful. I needed a breather. Some inspiration. What were my creative friends doing to lighten things up?

It was apparent that the lethargy that had infected so many of us had not contaminated my friends. They were productive and engaged.

While I was doing well to tune into my weekly Zoom Spanish class, two of my classmates were studying three foreign languages. One was researching her imminent move to France. Sharon, after a career as a travel writer specializing in nature adventures, was enthusiastically streaming naturalist’s tours. Their message: Embrace the virtual world. I may be slow on the uptake, but now I’m in the front row – for free! – streaming full-length concerts on YouTube instead of whining about missing live music.   

All around me, art is rescuing my friends from anxiety. Tate Nation gets thank you notes from around the country for the therapy his art puzzles provide: “It saved our family’s sanity. …” “It’s the closest family time we’ve had in forever. …” Among Kris Manning’s myriad of projects, she’s turning thousands of poptop lids and toothpicks into fantastic mythical creatures.

Julie opened an Etsy store and became a “happy full-time artist.”

Creating a Snapfish photo book of her mom’s life has kept Lila busy. Meryl designed an art camp for her grandchildren. Snazzy “Chapeau Runway” notecards that Leigh Cort designed are perfect for the snail mail we have time to write. I’m best at kindergarten art.

Granddaughters and Mod Podge have turned boring days into messy fun. 

Music is a strong muse, too.

I spent too many afternoons brooding at my piano, pounding out “St. James Infirmary” on repeat while my ambitious piano partner, Madelyn, was skillfully arranging “West Side Story” for our eight-hand piano quartet.

Even the quieted world sparked ideas. The empty beach access paths on Sullivan’s Island prompted Tom Noren to compose beautiful guitar music for each one. For a quick blast of joy, I turn up “Cha Cha Charleston” by our city’s best musicians.

My ambitious friend Sharon wrote four short plays and presented a live reading during quarantine. But Laurie’s idea to write six-word stories was more my speed. Here’s an example: Dumped stock portfolio. Buying toilet paper. (David Lenzi). Here is mine: Stuck inside. What now? More Scrabble? 

My creative juices are flowing again. The virtual world is my second home. Cheerful Haydn sits on my music stand. Six-word stories are accumulating on my desktop. The aroma of Mod Podge makes me smile. I’m reminded that art celebrates the best of human nature, so it’s an antidote to the nightly news. These creative sparks are not inconsequential or frivolous. They keep our spirits ignited. They’re the fuel of resiliency.

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