a dog-year in isolation

If isolation tempers the strong, it is the stumbling-block of the uncertain. Paul Cezanne

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Isolation. That word conjures different emotions to different people. A creative introvert might, in another time, be inclined to enjoy having time to themselves for projects, artwork or blogging. Extroverts are animated being in public. Do different creative temperaments react the same to “sheltering in place”? The world experiences earthquakes, floods, plagues, and fire fairly regularly. Life tends to take these into account. Before the COVID virus, the last time Americans experienced anything life-altering were the months following 9-11. (The Afghanistan-Iraq War was initially an all-in retribution inspiring art, literature and music.) After fifteen years of conflict, and now a contagious disease, isolation seems preferable to everyone, not just soldiers, doctors, bureaucrats or artists.

What is beneficial to artists creativity is abhorrent to a contagion. A century ago, the Spanish Influenza, aided by soldiers returning to their home countries after World War I, infected the whole world killing millions. In the time of COVID-19, the new “normal”, until the ill and the dying do not overwhelm hospitals, or a vaccine is found, may be adjusting to isolation. For everyone, it may give time to think and reconsider one’s priorities. It does seem reasonable. Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden while alone at a wilderness lake. But the world’s civil authorities have also banned most activities, closed beaches, parks and State recreation areas to prevent the spread of COVID. It may be easier said than done. Thoreau also penned Civil Disobedience.

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