I wake up every morning under the COVID-19 pandemic gripped by anxiety and then seek to soothe it through ritual. This ritual mainly involves making art and making myself up. I create to exert the intense energy buzzing in my chest and my brain. Holding a paintbrush or a camera steadies my mind. I cannot linger in pajamas or else listlessness take its hold. Out comes the ruby lipstick. I must feel glamorous in quarantine. This I can control: the canvas of my face, the composition of a watercolor, the pacing of a short film. I pull all of the blankets and pillows from my bed and pile them high by my dresser. Then I open the curtains for sunlight to pour through my west-facing windows. I place my laptop on a stool and pull a drawing board into bed. Not wanting to wrinkle my dress or fall into a depression nap, I sit on the edge. The windowsills—close enough for me to reach from my perch—become a holding ground for pencils, pens, and paints. The bed is now my artist studio and executive suite as I juggle competition deadlines and video chats with clients. The day passes like this until I break to read or watch a movie. I can see the sunset from my Brooklyn bedroom, and I know that because there is still beauty in the world, there must be hope. – Christine Sloan Stoddard
Painting During the Pandemic
Garden in the Time of COVID-19
Christine Sloan Stoddard is a Salvadoran-American author, artist, and film/theatre professional who lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her books include Desert Fox by the Sea, Belladonna Magic, Water for the Cactus Woman, and other titles. She co-edited Her Plumage, an anthology by Quail Bell, her literary journal. As of 2020, she is a Visible Poetry Project filmmaker, Table Work Press playwrighting competition winner, and artist-in-residence at HeartShare Human Services of New York. Previously, she was the first-ever artist-in-residence at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House in Manhattan and Brooklyn Public Library’s Eastern Parkway Branch.