Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Who: Ani DiFranco
Where: New Orleans, La.
Recommendation: Staying informed and immersing yourself in activity
I know this is meant to be a recommendation of some wonderful something to escape into, but the thing I most want to recommend to you right now is a newsletter called Letters From An American by Heather Cox Richardson.
I read it every morning and it has helped me greatly to stay sane during this time. It is not an escape from the daily, churning doomscape of politics and pandemics so much as a steady guiding voice, helping me to step through the minutia of the news cycle while widening my understanding of legal and historical context.
I can't really feel calm when I feel uninformed but, between Letters From An American and NPR, I don't ever feel alone or in the dark. That allows me to make space and enjoy the benefits of staying in, of cooking slowly or playing cards with my kids, of going nowhere and buying nothing. It allows me to feel hope that we will use this experience to evolve — and that when it is time to "get back to normal" we will never go back to the "normal" we suddenly left.
Another thing that's helping is the series My Brilliant Friend, available on HBO. I have been captivated by the story and it has been a nice diversion to slip into the alternate reality of Italy in the '50s ... if only for one hour a week.
Thing three that's been keeping me sane: bike rides. Me and my husband and seven-year-old rode 25 miles today. My favorite part of today's ride? Passing a cheerful queen as we rode along Bayou St. John who, with one hand on hip, waved to us with the other hand and called, "Happy apocalypse y'all!"