Q(uar) & A is a series of interviews with some of our favorite storytellers and creators about how they’re living while in lockdown.
What does your face mask look like?
I was just wearing a plain, black cotton one, but my mom sent me a yellow, paisley-ish mask to shake things up.
Do you follow any kind of routine at this moment?
I usually wake up pretty early, feed Pancho, water the plants, do yoga, play piano, and then go for a long walk. The rest of the day is a real blur. Depending on the day, I either get lost in one big project for the whole day or start and stop a million little tasks. Now that the new semester has started, I spend a lot of time in Zoom classes and Zoom meetings.
What are some pieces of entertainment that you have consumed and loved during this time?
As far as books go: Raven Leilani’s Luster, Ottessa Moshfegh’s Death in Her Hands and Jenny Offill’s Weather,Jihyun Yun’s Some Are Always Hungry, Leila Chatti’s Deluge, and Taneum Bambrick’s Vantage. I’ve listened toJoey Agresta’s new album Let Me to Rock a lot. And I’m nearly finished with a Sopranos rewatch.
Are you working on anything during this time? And if you’re having trouble “creating” things at the moment, how are you getting around it?
I’ve been trying to work on a second book of poetry and a collection of short stories. I don’t have the best, most regular writing practice—it tends to come in waves—so I also try to focus on other collaborative projects. This summer, we produced three new issues of Tele- Magazine that will be released throughout the end of this year, and I’ve been working with a group of artists on a new project called Gestures, which is the brainchild of the brilliant Estefania Puerta.
Have you taken up any new hobbies?
I started a little container garden with some herbs and vegetables. Most have survived so far, but I wouldn’t say they’re doing great. I’ve also been getting back into playing piano.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten so far during quar? What’s the worst?
My partner Misha makes a really good pistachio pesto. Any of his pastas would be in the running for best meals. Worst meal: I tried to replicate a really good black bean chili I’d made before, but I messed up and made it so spicy it was nearly inedible. I actually did this twice and the second time might have been even worse.
What’s your current iPhone wallpaper?
What’s the best quar purchase you’ve made so far?
I got myself this Gates of Heaven t-shirt as a birthday gift.
Who are the writers, storytellers, or makers who are bringing you great joy right now?
I’m so impressed and inspired by my friends and the things they create. Rachel Elizabeth Jones is hosting a few open studios this month, and I got to visit last Sunday. Her work definitely brings me joy. Erin Marie Lynch‘s poetry and video work. Mia Pinheiro’s Nudes by Delivery project, which started as a result of being in lockdown. And the work of Ama Codjoe, one of my absolute favorite poets. Her chapbook came out earlier this year and she had this stunning poem, “After the Apocalypse,” published in the Yale Review a few months back too, that I read and immediately printed out and read over and over.
Any unexpectedly memorable moments so far?
I got married on Zoom, which I never would have expected. It was also an occasion to wear a cool mask.
Do you have a favorite photo you’ve taken since lockdown?
My phone is mostly full of pictures of my dog, and those are all my favorites. My favorite videos I’ve taken have been things I’ve seen while walking around, like a heart-shaped balloon floating past the palms or wild parrots.
Follow Alexandria at @alexandriakhall.