Mary Fletcher

How has the past Covid year been? I am surprised how quickly I have got used to such a restricted life.
I loved dancing and going to St Ives jazz club, meeting other NAE writers, seeing exhibitions, putting my art into shows, mooching about in shops, wondering if I could visit Greece again. But now I get by with a walk round the park and a few words with my neighbour, zoom meetings and email and phone calls. I’ve had various things wrong with my health, but it’s the first year I ever remember not having a cold or chest infection.
My husband died in June 2018. Since then I’ve continued my existence on a far lower level with what spark of life insists on enjoying brief moments. I can’t help thinking how different it would have been if he had been alive and well and we could have enjoyed being together. I feel envious when I meet couples out together, but it’s not really worse for being in lockdown.
There are 30 books waiting to be read, lots of art on YouTube, the flute I am trying to play, my piano needing to be tuned, and a painting I want to finish. I get up late, go to bed early and fail to get on with several book projects – but writing for NAE is still enjoyable and I keep drawing.
I hope to avoid the suffering that catching the virus would bring, that we come through to resume more social activity, that this life, like being under house arrest, can eventually be left as the memory of a strange affliction that passes.
Will art and the absurdities of its marketing, its fame circuits, its hierarchies, resume unscathed, or will some changes develop?
Politically will folk demand better services, more equality, socialism in fact, or will the Tories carry on crushing the workers to serve the capitalist machine? World War 2 motivated Labour votes, the making of our NHS – can the Covid crisis bring similar benefit?

Volume 35 no 4 March – April 2021

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