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Chapter 1: Literature in the times of COVID (Sick And Tired of the Tragic Year of 2020)

These are my thoughts and they come and go as they please.

covid + literature

I can’t focus lately. It’s been like this for a while. The days keep merging into one another; they never seem to end properly. They just fade and by the time you notice a new one is beginning. A new one is ending. Today is raining and it is a beautiful day, it is different from the rest. Ever since COVID entered my life in March 16th, every day has been just the day.

Never ending and never beginning on time. Every day has just been a day. I have just been here. Every day. I apologize if I am not making any sense. These are my thoughts after all; unedited, unfiltered. Unattended until today. Another day among the every day. My calendar says it is October 13th. Somehow my birthday passed unglamorously as did everyone else’s.

covid and dreams

I think I drink more and more coffee every day just to keep my self from drifting into my dreams more than I have to. More than I need to. Because we all need dreams; I am not a doctor (I never finished medschool) but I can tell you that at night our brains reset everything. In the same way a lawyer clears his desk every evening after a long day of work as he prepares for the next day.

Except sometimes I have this funny feeling that I am sleeping more and more and at the same time I am dreaming less and less. Perhaps it is COVID, perhaps it is something else.

Perhaps I am one of those asymptomatic people. The ones blessed to carry death along. Perhaps I am not and I have only been very lucky. No, privileged is the word. I have been inside the house ever since this began, because I can afford it. Not because I am lucky.

The ones who have died did not have that privilege; they had to risk going outside. Because this world is unkind most of the time. I think someone in my family died of COVID but we are not sure. The government cremated her body and thousands more before as a precaution.

poetry & covid

Death is in the air. I can feel it, we all can; that’s why we cover our faces. So, that when it sees us it won’t recognize us. Perhaps Ezra Pound could have written a poem about it, maybe not; he was a fascist. But, a good poet. Not the best. Just good. Again, I am not trying to make any sense. These are my thoughts and they come and go as they please. They are the only ones who can, for I am here. Every day.

We were afraid that one day we would end up experiencing the world through a screen, well, I hate to break it to you but that is all we got now. We are not even faces in the metro. We are just faces. And names and characters in this performance called life; except I don’t know what it is we are doing. Is it a Comedy or a Tragedy? We haven’t reached the Augenblich yet.

We could be Malvolio or we could be Macbeth. We just have to get to the end. I have been thinking about it. The end I mean. Where is it? Is it going to come in the form of nuclear fire,  genocide or the slow but sure extermination that is global warming.

Everyday is the same, today there is no past, no future and the present is always here. So, the end is a nice thing to think about. It keeps me busy. It gives me something to look forward to. 

university; but, covid

Sorry, I got distracted. I’m listening to music while I write this. The rest of the household is carrying on through Zoom and Microsoft Teams and all that digital jazz. But me? Well, I just graduated, or at least I finished all my degree requirements. Concordia University has a funny schedule regarding the graduation process. It is unlike Mexico. Back in that little hell-hole I used to call home things work differently.

There are no deadlines in school, you just do things. Late or early, it doesn’t matter. You can apply for admission a day before classes start and they’ll take you. That’s the business model. Unlike here in Montreal where they ask you to make up your mind months in advance. It is unsettling. It is a bit discouraging when you find out that the admission deadline ended a week before you got off the plane. I am grateful of it though.

It gave me the chance to explore Montreal while I figured out what to do next. I know almost every part of this city. It is peaceful and boring when you compare it to the great city of Mexico. (¡Saludos a mi CDMX bonita!) Sorry, the mailman just left something on my doorstep; I gotta see if it is what I’m waiting for. I’ll leave you alone for a second.

writing about covid

I guess this is free writing, or is it automatic writing? Who gives a shit really? All writing is free. All writing is political. And there is nothing that Herr T. SS Eliot can do to stop me. I don’t know why I’m writing crónicas de cuarentena. Perhaps I’m writing crónicas de cuarentena as a way of practicing my writing. Or perhaps crónicas de cuarentena is just all trash. I apologize. My mind is not a nice place.

I am quite happy; for the past few moments and perhaps the next few hours everything will be perfectly splendid. I just finished reparing my iPhone. Well, I only replaced the battery. It had a tummy, like me. I am proud of myself, it is OK to be proud of oneself every once in a while. Why shouldn’t you tell yourself that you are worth something? If I don’t tell myself that every once in a while, nobody will. They ought to teach that in Kindergarten; I only found out recently, during this endless lockdown.

covid iotism

I’ve been spending more and more time with myself (not in the fun way), every day I look at myself in the mirror. Is this me? Is this really me? I thought I was uglier. I wonder what else I might found out about myself. I know it is selfish to think that these past few months have been good for me. Considering that everyone else is dying somewhere or about to die or have died. It is easy to blame COVID but the truth is that we created this crisis.

We facilitated the conditions under which the pandemic flourishes. The COVID pandemic is a monument to all our sins. And as a medschool dropout I can’t help think to myself that we were lucky this wasn’t a super-bacteria that is resistant to all known antibiotics; that one will come later. And at our pace, sooner rather than later. I hope I am wrong. Although deep down I know I am right.

I am sorry, my mind is sometimes darker than I would like it to be. Thank God we have the Avengers. Because in this world there is no Justice League; there is just us. I don’t know if there is a vengeful god out there.

i keep thinking about covid and the end

“Thou suffering thing, know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy, That thy’s love’s loss is my profiting!”

Thomas Hardy, Hap

Fucking Hardy man, he was good. W. B. Yeats got it wrong, he was off by a century. But is this truly the end? I keep thinking about the end. Lately, more and more. Meanwhile, scientists are trying to figure out the beginning. I wish them luck. During this endless quarantine I have learned a lot. 

I can tell you that the Earth is round because on the Northern hemisphere the stars move on the opposite direction than the stars on the southern hemisphere. I can tell you that vaccines work. I can tell you that at first glance Greta Thunberg looks like a Conspiranoid but then you realize that she has something that conspiranoids lack; the scientific community’s full support. I can tell you that she still has an important role to play in the days ahead. I can tell you that she is a symbol. And that we need more symbols like her.

“I know that twenty centuries of stony sleep were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, and what rough beast its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

WB Yeats, The Second Coming
W. B. Yeats’ “The Second Coming”

language + covid

I know that English is not my first language but still, I went and studied English literature. Because I am Mexican and I grew up thinking that my culture and the literature written in my language is not worth the ink it was written with.

That was an alliteration if you didn’t notice. I now find myself in a country that I don’t fully understand, where people are shitty drivers and they lose their minds when things don’t go according to plan. Canadians are funny like that. I now live in a “country were racism is a dark conceit.” After I learned what Canada did and still does to its Indigenous people I thought to myself that Mexico was better in that regard. I was wrong.

The American continent is still a colony. Vasconcelos was full of shit. I am sorry if I curse too much, it is just that I don’t give a shit. I am Mexican. A white Mexican at that. You should see Canadians’ faces when I tell them I am from Mexico. I am sorry, I thought this was going somewhere. I guess that should be Humanity’s motto.


covid is not funny

I swear I am funny, at least my parents think so. Every time we laugh, is a minute we are not crying. I just remembered something. It was during my first class of Introduction to literary study. Some guy said something along the lines of “I just don’t care about something written by some old white guy.” Thank God dear Shakespeare is dead. I am sure that the guy who desecrated over poor William was a Creative Writing major. You can tell their type kilometres away (that’s the equivalent of “miles away” for any Usonian reading this, (thanks Holly for the correct term)). The small notebook, the fountain pen, the boots and the pants rolled up.

But what is worse is the attitude. The arbitrary attitude of feeling superior than the other students just because… I mean; Creative Writing students I’m I right fell@s? I’m sure he writes very creative essays by now.

With a clear thesis statement that is not too generic but I mean, c’mon! All thesis statements look the same. So, cheers fellow student whom shall not be named. I think you are full of shit but that’s just me. Jesus that was harsh, even for me. I swear I am not like this irl. These are my thoughts after all. The COVID isolation health measures do funny things to the mind. Well, at least graduation is next. Congratulations to the rest of the class of 2020. May the odds be ever in your favour. We are alive and only for to-day.

Keep on reading! Stay alive and be kind. Crónicas de cuarentena is a literary experiment. Share with you friends or with strangers. Or better yet; write your own crónicas de cuarentena.

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