Leaning Together Into Uncertainty

Emerging Form launches a new miniseries devoted to creating during coronavirus

What kind of tracks are we leaving now? That’s part of what we look at in our new Emerging Form series on Creativity and COVID-19—what meaningful mark can we make in this time?

Preview: Creativity and COVID-19

Things are changing rapidly all around the world—and so we thought we’d adjust the podcast, too. We’re wondering about how other creatives are using their art to meet the pandemic, and how they are stifled. In our mini-series on Creativity and COVID-19, we’ll be interviewing people we admire about where they find support, what they’re doing, and what they’re not doing. To start our series, we spoke with two podcasters—one on the west coast, the other on the east. One with young children at home, the other who is currently living alone in a small apartment in New York Cit. Both are finding healthy, creative ways to meet the new set of circumstances. First up is Laura Joyce Davis, a writer from Oakland, California, who is hosting a new daily podcast, “Shelter in Place: finding daily sanity in a world that feels increasingly insane.” And the following week, tune into our interview with Helena de Groot, a Belgian radio producer living in New York, the host and producer of Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Off the Shelf.

What We’re Reading:


· Inspired by Christie’s recommendation in our last newsletter, I just finished The Dog Stars by Peter Heller—and it’s wonderful. I have long admired his ability to write powerfully in every genre. This was his first novel and was a New York Times best seller. Heads up readers, we have a little surprise in store for you …

·  Together Apart is a new series of letters from isolation. Every week under lockdown, Orion eavesdrops on curious pairs of authors, scientists, and artists, listening in on their emails, texts, and phone calls as they redefine their relationships from afar. This first exchange is between my close friend Amy Irvine and our guest from Season One, Pam Houston.

· I’m enjoying reading Drew Myron’s blog which features poetry creatively presented—collage, block out poetry, and more. And her last few entries speak so movingly and feistily about dealing with COVID-19.


·  I fell deeply in love with The Way Through the Woods: On Mushrooms and Mourning by Long Lott Woon. It’s a beautiful little memoir about how mushroom hunting gave her a path through her grief over her husband’s sudden death. The book has lovely little illustrations of mushrooms throughout and and it’s the best description of the joys of mushrooming that I’ve ever read. Even though the book is also about grief, it’s less sad than you might expect and it felt more hopeful than melancholy.

·I Loved this Longform podcast with Eva Holland, and it has me excited to read her book, Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear, which is on my “to read” pile. 

Poem About Feeling Helpless in the Pandemic:

“Pneumonia” by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

And if I could, I would breathe for you.

I would inhale and exhale and hold

your breath for you. For you I would

sigh and rant, I would hack and pant,

I would be your lungs if I could. I would

ease this ache, I would carry this pain,

I would take away fear, I would be

the wind, the wild mesa wind,

the late April wind that blows change

into all we thought we knew

and rearranges the meaning of here.

No one could ever speak for you.

But I would breathe for you, friend.

Please, breathe, please keep breathing.

I need you to breathe for you, breathe

for me, please, friend. I wish I could

breathe for you, breathe for you.

Two Questions:

(share your answers with us here on Substack)

  1. How is your creative life different during this time?

  2. What kind of support systems do you have right now?