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Jessy Randall


I’m fine, I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m fine. I’m surprisingly fine. I’m awful, but no awfuler than usual.

I can do anything I want, as long as I stay home. I can finally read all day long, as I’ve always wanted. I wander around the house, picking up books, putting them down. It turns out I hate reading. Reading is stupid. And I definitely don’t feel like writing. Why make up a story when everything is so completely weird right now? It’s so boring, and yet so weird.

It could be so much worse. I know that.

I decide I will re-read all the Daniel Pinkwater books I’ve collected over the years. These books are great! I do like to read.

I draw my quarantine uniform. I draw a book cover I saw in a dream. The title of the book is The American Poet We Reject Is a Ladies Club Poet, All Love and Hath, Hath, Hath. There are little ferret-like animals all over the cover and one of them is saying SCHNEEZ. I draw a New York City apartment from last night’s dream. I decide it would be a good idea to make hand-turkey drawings and put words like “despair” and “hopelessness” inside them. I can’t draw at all. I love to draw.

Puzzles are utterly pointless and do nothing whatsoever for anyone. I have completed six 1000-piece puzzles and four 500-piece puzzles since the Governor’s stay-at-home order. Why?

I make pirozhki. I make pies. I make cucumber soup. I play point-and-click adventure games. Maybe if I put the match on the stone? Maybe if I use the knife on the pillow?

I’m fine. Why would I write anything?

I receive many rejections from literary magazines for submissions I sent months ago. Presumably all the editors are catching up on all the rejections. Since I no longer care about writing, I shouldn’t care about the rejections, and yet they piss me off. Maybe not the first or second one but by the fifth or sixth one I want to murder someone. Guess I will go work on my puzzle. I’m perfectly okay.

I cannot escape the sounds of other people in and near my house. My son is learning the bagpipes. Yes. He is. He already plays the piano. Other people in my family are playing the guitar, the violin, the drums. Not at the same time. My neighbor blasts NPR talk radio while he does construction work. I hear the word “virus” over and over. I’m not okay. I’m terrible.

We have dinner in the back yard, with the trees shimmering. That’s nice. But it only lasts maybe twenty minutes? I’m okay though. I’m fine. I have the line “Bustin’ makes me feel good” from the Ghostbusters theme song playing on repeat in my head. I guess I feel good? Because bustin’ makes me feel good.

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All images other than author photos and artist artwork ©Matthew Batt 2020