Make sure what you and your family are living through is not forgotten
February 21, 2021 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Writing the COVID experience. The Pandemic Journaling Project hosts people recording their thoughts as they live through the COVID-19 era.

Featured entries.

Sponsored by the University of Connecticut, Brown University, and Trinity College.
(via this undergrad's COVID-19 research project)
posted by doctornemo (8 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I've been telling my teenage kids to write down what's happening: someday they will get asked about their experiences by their own kids.

And more immediately, writing down what's happening to you can be helpful for processing (and later to use those lessons as fodder for school essays or college applications). That's just a self-care effort.

Sadly, they haven't listened to me yet. *shrug* Guess I ought to go catch up my own journal so they'll have something to refer to in 50 years....
posted by wenestvedt at 7:43 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]

I have been journaling and just signed up for this last week. I fear my entries are boring AF though since at this point nothing interesting is going on for me and I have literally nothing to talk about but whatever I watched on television.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:13 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]

I have been journaling through the pandemic simply by virtue of having a long standing habit of journaling. I am always suspicious of the grand claims of how useful any of this will be to future historians. I find there is always a mis-match between what we retroactively realize was a world historical moment and whatever nonsense I was actually up to that day. My pandemic journal has been very similar to my pre-pandemic journal, but with more working from home and no travel, the privilege of being a single, childless, introvert who lives alone I guess.

The one big change is that the journals themselves are now more often that not hand made because my pandemic hobby has been book binding.

Flipping back to March 13th of last year, when my entire office went work from home for the foreseeable future (and still are), I gave the pandemic one sentence and then spent the rest of the page talking about making scones.
posted by selenized at 10:30 AM on February 21 [11 favorites]

I have signed up.
posted by aniola at 10:37 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]

I feel similarly to selenized as someone who keeps a regular journal. Sometimes major events barely get a mention because they are not the thing I am interested in writing about. I don't think my daily journal has much value for anyone but me. Sometimes I mention what is happening in the news but a lot of what I write is what I am thinking about or what I did that day.

It is interesting to see what other people are writing about in the journaling project. Some of the entries I see are similar to things that I would write.
posted by arachnidette at 12:35 PM on February 21

Huh. This project is based right near me, I know one of the people on the advisory board, and this is the first I've heard of it. Thanks for posting. I'll probably sign up.
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:11 AM on February 22

I started keeping a handwritten journal on March 12 last year; I think I saw a mention of this project or something very similar, and thought that keeping a daily written record might be interesting for someone (me, my kids, future historians, whoever) to look back at someday. Much like selenized, it's the most boring stuff imaginable. Whatever future historians get ahold of it will be reading a lot about potty training, and what we had for dinner, and my annoying coworker, and whatever adorable/hilarious/infuriating thing the kids/my husband did that day, and how my knitting project is coming along.

I've tried journaling many times before and never been able to stick with it; I always fall behind, get discouraged at how much there is to catch up on, and quit. But this time, I've managed to write a page for every single day. Sometimes I forget one or two, but I always go back and fill them in as best I can remember afterwards. I treated myself to a fancy pen and some nice notebooks to keep it in, and I'm about start Volume 4. What seems to be making the difference this time is that I write one side of one page, and that's it. Even if that means leaving out something I was intending to mention, when I run out of room on that day's page, I'm done.
posted by octothorp at 2:02 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]

In my dark moments, I think we're post-legacy because we're ruining the environment to the point of inhabitability. Will there be anyone to read our journals? But one good reason I could find to journal during COVID, was so that I could be accountable to the contact tracers if I tested positive. I haven't taken up the journaling, because my husband is journaling, and we only ever go out together, so he has the tracing covered.

We are also recording "podcasts" - in that, we are recording ourselves talking, as if it's a podcast, but we haven't posted them anywhere. They are often rants about COVID and about state violence in the form of police brutality or the white supremacy movements that are given a pass by the state - our twin crises. We almost can't talk about anything else, even when we try.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:15 AM on February 25

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