Fires, homemade pills, and gardens
October 24, 2020 6:18 PM   Subscribe

Stories about how we cope with disasters, in the short and the long term. "Ambient and Isolated Effects of Fine Particulate Matter" by Emery Robin (horror-y), published in April, and the more hopeful "Growing Resistance" by Juliet Kemp (audio and text at that link), first published in August 2019.

Reckoning, "a nonprofit, annual journal of creative writing on environmental justice," published the (horror-y?) "Ambient and Isolated Effects of Fine Particulate Matter" by Emery Robin in April 2020:
On Thursday the sun rose red and stayed red, and stared at us red and red through the shifting candlewax layers of sky. We sealed the windows and cancelled gym, and forbade the children to leave until their mothers came for them, and through lunch period they pressed their noses to the glass and left smears of rainbow oils there. Before their faces and ours the bloody halo crept through the silhouettes of our buildings, picking its way down the foothills, stealing hot and infected towards the wide soft swathe of nothing that had once been San Francisco.

In the early afternoon the children left in bunches and tangles, clusters of heaving minivans like lifeboats. We gathered in the teacher’s lounge and stood with our hands wrapped round our one o’clock coffee mugs and said quietly to each other and ourselves the air quality numbers in the neighborhoods to which we would be driving through the greyness: Montclair and Emeryville, San Antonio and El Cerrito, one-eighty-five, two-seventeen, two-fifty, two seventy-one.

Some of us had masks, and some did not. Some had the wrong masks—the flimsy kind, thin and cotton, with no wires at the top to mold over our noses and cheekbones—and we discarded these in the wastebasket, a growing pile of white leaves. Those who did have the right masks put them on and looked at the others with invisible mouths, invisible lips. There were no spares.

Cast of Wonders podcasted "Growing Resistance" by Juliet Kemp in March, noting: "This story comes with a pretty significant content warning. It’s an incredibly hopeful story, but the setting and themes surround healthcare in a post-pandemic world. This may be just the story you need right now, or it might be the exact opposite. Please listen or read with that in mind."
The late-afternoon sun hovers above the wall as I kneel on the earth, weeding tomatoes. Beyond the wall, yellow-orange light reflects off the clean sharp lines of the apartment blocks. Boxes for safe people, people who are provided for. People who matter. People who I knew, once upon a time. People who could afford the vaccine before the gates closed. The plague’s gone now, but the wall’s still here.
posted by brainwane (1 comment total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Good ones, brainwane.

The end of "Ambient and Isolated Effects" spoke to me as a teacher.
posted by doctornemo at 9:19 AM on October 25, 2020

« Older "Personal Instructions from My Totally Excellent...   |   She’s running Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments