I can across this headline a few days ago, and–being a writer–it caught my attention. You can read the full article here, but I’ll summarize for you. Dr. Karen Boren of Rhode Island College has started a project called Keep the Windows Wide. Using poetry or prose, write a complete story in 300 words or less that depicts a snapshot of quarantine life. The first or last line must have the phrase, ‘I blame the quarantine’.
“I chose 300 words because that seemed like a real window-sized story. You can write it on your phone if you don’t have a computer. It’s just a snapshot of this moment.”Dr. Karen Boren
Submitting a story is unbelievably easy. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the story or poem in the body of the email, and ‘WINDOW’ in the subject line. Boren asks that you include as much contact info as you can. You can send in as many entries as you want.
Since quarantine began, I’d wanted to do something like this, but I couldn’t figure out how to put it together. Boren’s plan is simple, succinct, and brilliant. I can’t wait to see what others submit. So far I’ve written two entries, doing so minutes after I finished reading the article. I plan to write more.
I’ve never liked grocery shopping before. I didn’t mind it, but more often than not I would choose to stay home. Now, I’d do anything to walk into a store.
I drive my mom to physical therapy every week. I don’t go inside the office. Across the parking lot, directly in front of me is a Super 1 Foods. I’ve never liked Super 1 very much. Now, it’s agony to sit in the car and stare at this store. What I wouldn’t give to browse the aisles, to help select our food, to compare prices.
It’s not just the shopping I want. No, I want to see faces. I’m not quarantined alone–far from it. Home almost seems too full sometimes, with an older brother home from college and three younger siblings.
No, I’m not separate from the human race. But I’ve always liked to people watch. I like to wonder about each passerby, to give them colorful stories and turn them into mythical creatures. I hunger for that silent companionship that shoppers have when they’re both looking at the same item, or when you have to figure out how to get a cart down a crowded aisle.
But now, the only strangers that I see are drivers in other cars. It only happens twice a week, and the glimpses last mere seconds.
I, a self proclaimed introvert, am longing to go shopping in the busiest store I can find. I want to spend the whole day in town, doing absolutely nothing. I want to go up and ask anyone and everyone whatever question springs to mind when I see them.
Insane, I know, but I blame the quarantine.
Now I Sing In the Car
I used to sing till my throat was raw When I was home alone Now everyone’s home all the time So I sing in the car instead I leave the house just twice a week Driving my mom to PT I sit in the parking lot, reading or writing And singing quietly I used to sing, loud and lusty, Acting musicals out But now I sit and sing in the car I blame the quarantine
I’d like to encourage everyone to spread the word of Keep the Windows Wide and to send in entries. We’re in a time of change, a tipping in world relations. The world won’t go back to the way it was when all of this is over. While it may seem like a punishment now, remember, we get to be here. We get to witness history being made, and we should do everything we can to record it. Remember this as well; it won’t last forever. Natural disasters happen all throughout history and the world keeps on turning.