ith the outbreak of COVID-19, more and more events in New York City and around the country are being cancelled in order to limit the spread of the disease. While impending school and business closures are going to have a tremendously negative impact on working families, freelancers, and anyone who travels or teaches for a living, the best thing you can do is stay home and avoid large gatherings. And for some of us, it might be necessary to self-quarantine.
But it’s not easy to be stuck at home indefinitely. That’s why we’ve assembled this list of five things to help you pass the time.
1. READ LOTS OF BOOKS. AND THEN, READ SOME MORE.
This is a pretty obvious thing to do while you self-quarantine: read! If you’ve been meaning to check out any of the books we’ve published, now is a great time to do so. While the launch for We Are All Things at Printed Matter has been postponed, you can still get a copy of the chapbook. And if you need even more reading material, the Futures box set and Aftermath anthology will also help you pass the time. Order anything from our store right now, and enjoy free domestic shipping. There’s also plenty to read on our blog.
2. WRITE THE THING YOU’VE BEEN WANTING TO WRITE.
Are you a writer? If so, you may have already been choosing to self-quarantine for most of your life. But all jokes aside, get to writing! If poetry is your thing and you’re a person of color, our Own Voices Chapbook Prize is currently accepting chapbook submissions through Submittable until May 31st. The contest is being judged by the amazing Aria Aber, and two winners will receive a cash prize of $500 plus publication.
If you’re not a person of color or don’t write poetry, don’t fret. We have open submissions year-round, which are also accepted through our Submittable page. So what are you waiting for? Write, write, write!
3. LISTEN TO PODCASTS.
There’s a myth that all podcasts are just a bunch of angry white men ranting from their pickup trucks, but this is far from true. Podcasts are a great way to get your dose of storytelling without subjecting your eyes to the constant glare of screens, especially if you have to self-quarantine for an extended period of time. Who wouldn’t want to lay back on the couch, eyes closed, and listen to a story?
For bookish folks, we love podcasts like Minorities in Publishing, Read Learn Live, and fiction/non/fiction. If you’re into science fiction and fantasy, Eric Molinsky’s Imaginary Worlds is a great one to listen to. For all things design, you’d be hard pressed to find a better podcast than 99% Invisible. And if you just want someone to read you a story the old-fashioned way, look no further than LeVar Burton Reads. Yes, that LeVar Burton. And yes, he just reads to you.
You might find that even after the outbreak is over, you’ll want to stay in more often!
4. WATCH MOVIES. DUH.
Even if you listen to all the podcasts, a good movie every now and again never hurt anyone. Proceed and Be Bold! is a fantastic documentary about the great Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., who we featured in our Community Spotlight series back in August.
If class war is on your mind, we all loved the Oscar-winning film Parasite by living legend, Bong Joon-ho. But if you’re looking for something a little bit lighter, check out the new show Gentefied on Netflix, about a Mexican family in Los Angeles trying to save their taqueria while also navigating the complexities of modern life.
5. DONATE MONEY TO COOL PROJECTS.
Not everyone has the means to do this, but if you do, lots of projects are going to be hurting financially. One project that recently began a crowdfunding campaign is Puestes pa’l futuro, an anthology of short stories in Spanish and English, written by Puerto Rican authors from the island as well as the diaspora, about a future, post-colonial Puerto Rico. It’s being run by our friends at Fireside, and it will be wonderful if it happens, but they’ll need your help to meet their goal.
And if you can’t throw down money? Then just be kind to people. It costs you nothing, and having to self-quarantine can potentially have a big effect on peoples’ lives and their livelihoods. Remember that we’re all in this together. So be sure to stock up (but not hoard), stay in, and stay safe!