The Sewanee Conglomerate
Named for the uppermost rock formation in Sewanee's corner of the Cumberland Plateau, the Sewanee Conglomerate is the magazine's blog. Check here for short pieces about books and current events written by SR staff and guest contributors.
There is a certain surreal quality about life now, the way it has stopped, that reminds me of the days and weeks that followed the earthquake. The difference, of course, is that this is not just happening to us, but to the whole world.
I pray for this virus to end. I pray it will not harm those I love. I also secretly wish that my own small removal from the world could go on forever.
Here, like in many of his poems, the surreal, end-stopped images rise out of the dark without the scaffolding of logic.
I’m a Gen Xer, the Generation that Didn’t; this is the crisis we were made for. We do what we can—we write cheerful letters, draw pictures for relatives, donate money, shop locally. It feels incredibly unimpressive.
My grandmother asks me to translate COVID-19 updates as well. Some of her questions are similar. Who? When? How many? And where? “New York,” I say. “Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, here.” I try not to lie. I try to keep her wary.
As worrisome as I find this unnamed age, I worry, too, about who will be able to tell these stories in full relief, and who will be able to read them.
Going back to mindlessly cheering for strangers playing a game would mean we have taken a step back to normal. I’m ready for back-to-normal.
Here is a better way to say it: when I am writing nonfiction prose I feel like I am simultaneously climbing and building a mountain. When I am writing poems I feel like I am throwing myself off a cliff.