“Journaling Through Pandemic”

The hunger that no food satisfies. The thirst that no beverage quenches. The fire that resists extinguishing. Sometimes great. Often uncontrollable. At times unfulfilled. Burning with it. Heartbeats. High hopes. Wishes upon stars. Red roses. Purple prose. Poetry in motion. Share your most secret desires. 


Remember February 2020? When you could ride a subway, meet friends at the bar, get a pedicure and a wax, all without worrying that you would die?

Remember March 2020? When all the fantastical dystopian novels you’d read over the years were suddenly more real than you ever wanted them to be?

How did you get from there to here? How did you learn to navigate this new reality, and how did you manage your fears and expectations along the way?

These are the questions asked by the anthology How I Survived 2020: A Collection of Poems, Essays, and Affirmations, now available for pre-order from City Limits Publishing. For me, the answer was to repurpose a familiar tool — my bullet journal — into almost an obsession.

Setting up a new bullet journal in April 2020 was different, than half a dozen other times I’d done it. There was a new urgency to mapping out my days, weeks and months ahead, finding new ways to manage my time and occupy my mind when so many of my plans had been turned on their heads, so many of my preoccupations made moot.  

At the same time, there was a futile lassitude to the exercise. What is time, anyway? What use planning for anything in the apocalypse, in the third record-breaking recession of my working years? 

On the recommendation of many writers and writing teachers across the Internet, I began tracking my pandemic life more carefully in my bullet journal — not just the To Dos, but also the whys and wherefores. On the advice of the founder of the bullet journal, Ryder Carroll, I made long-form journaling part of an emotional outlet in a trying time. I illustrated the daily weather, invested in stickers and stencils to make up for my primitive artistic skills.

I made the bullet journal the practical and emotional lodestar of my pandemic year. And then I wrote about it.

I invite you to put in your pre-order for the anthology How I Survived 2020: A Collection of Poems, Essays, and Affirmations over at City Limits Publishing. Use coupon code CLPAUTHORDISC15 for 15% off your order.

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