Quarantine has taken a hammer to many things that previously grounded us: our senses of time, connections with other people and routines. As an extrovert, the second loss has been the most profound for me.
I found myself, reliant on getting my emotional energy from others, lost adrift now on a sea of total indifference and numbness. I found a life raft and want to extend it to anyone else who feels similarly; I found poetry.
Writing poetry has been a fantastic coping mechanism during quarantine because it allows me to generate my own catharsis, to experience emotional highs and lows without relying on my present empty experiences.
I can reach back into my memories and force myself to experience the good and bad in visceral ways by attempting to describe them in poetry. Even the most intense and miserable emotions can feel beautiful and life-giving when we find ourselves stuck in the sea of numbness.
I have never, and still do not, really consider myself an ‘artsy’ person. No matter how many poems I write I don’t tend to share them with people, and that liberates me from having to feel like I am writing anything good. I allow myself to be dramatic, immature, haphazard and messy. That fun and raw form of creating for nobody but yourself can be extremely liberating.
At this point, I would like to point out that nothing I have said is unique to writing poetry. Really, it is just the act of making something and not being worried about the end result. It is almost impossible to be emotionally vulnerable to others and receive validation right now, so we must learn how to be vulnerable to ourselves, and to accept ourselves and the ugliness of our circumstances.
We need to create now more than ever, not to make this bleak time beautiful, but to rescue ourselves from our profound apathy and loneliness and remind us that we will feel alive again.
Logan Graham ’23 is from Warrenville, Ill. He majors in philosophy.