Under normal circumstances, most of us will live our lives hidden from the scrutiny of history. But right now, we’re all part of history. Now’s the time to think about how we want future generations to learn about our individual stories.
Here are five ways to tell your own pandemic story.
1. Write Your Story
Well, this is the obvious one, isn’t it? Keep a journal or write some short fiction or poetry. Encourage your children to write down their own experiences. These pieces could be autobiographical, or observational, or fictional even. When you have enough material, get it edited (ahem, I am available) and self-publish all your essays and short stories and poems as a book that your friends and family can download from Amazon or the like.
2. Make A Documentary
Sure. You could vlog your thoughts, or keep a video diary. But why not go further than that. Interview the people in your household. Conduct virtual interviews with friends and family. Edit their answers into a long-form video documentary. Take some photos from around your home or neighbourhood or find some images from the world in general. Add some inspirational music (ahem, I am also available), and voila; your very own Ken Burns documentary ready to upload to Youtube.
3. Create Some Abstract Art
Some of our feelings during the pandemic will be too big or complex to put down in words, so why not channel those ineffable emotions into some abstract art. A painting or a sculpture or even a found object. Work off your anxiety and frustration by throwing paint at a canvas Pollock-style. Release your inner-Picasso. Build a giant statue in your front yard for your neighbourhood to admire. Or turn your spare room into an art gallery, and broadcast your creations to the world. You might even be able to sell them!
4. Record A Concept Album
If you belong to a musical household, why not write and record a concept album. It could be a rock opera like The Who’s Tommy, or a collection of thematically related songs, like Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon. Get your online friends and relatives to add backing vocals, or write lyrics, or add an electrifying guitar solo. Anything that works. When it’s done, get it mixed and mastered (ahem, yes I can do that too) add some album art, and share it online. I’d recommend Bandcamp for that!
5. Keep A Scrapbook
Finally, why not go old-school with a pair of scissors and some glue and create a scrapbook from articles and pictures you find online. Create a bespoke physical record of the events of 2020 and beyond. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to create a unique heirloom that can be handed down from one generation of your family to another? Something tactile and weighty with its own unique smell and identity. What a great legacy that would be!