Q(uar) & A is a series of interviews with some of our favorite storytellers and creators about how they’re living while in lockdown.
Bizzy Coy is a humor writer who’s been published in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Vulture, and The Belladonna. She’s also a copywriter for theater and entertainment brands. Bizzy founded #Scribblewits, a project that spotlights unsung witty women of history.
Where are you currently sheltering in place?
I’m at my home in Yulan, New York, a minuscule hamlet in the Catskills region of Sullivan County. Population: 300 and Bizzy! My little 1950s cottage sits on a lake and I’ve dubbed it “Camp Coy.” It is a truly beautiful place to be quarantined. I’m here by myself because I’ve banned all visitors until coronavirus is under control, and also because I’m unable to maintain a successful human relationship. My dog Henry is here, though, and he’s thrilled at the constant attention.
What does your face mask look like?
I picked up a three-pack of fabric masks in plain white, gray, and black and I feel like I got ripped off because they don’t stay up over my nose and they seem kind of flimsy. I’m currently looking for another mask that fits my face and better shows off my difficult personality.
Do you follow any kind of routine at this moment?
Henry and I pop outside for a pee in the morning (to clarify, he pees outside and I do not). I eat breakfast and enjoy my coffee at home in a travel mug because I appreciate irony. I read a bit and do some personal writing. Maybe I’ll run an errand, such as driving my garbage to the town dump (one of the most fun things to do in the country) or going to the post office to pick up my mail (it doesn’t even get delivered to our houses here!). I eat lunch and then think about work. I’m a freelance copywriter and branding strategist for theater clients, and with everything shut down, copy jobs have been scarce.
After dinner, I check in with friends and family and watch something online. Around 7pm, I watch the deer munch on my lawn. Later on, I take Henry outside for one last pee before bed, and we look at the fireflies and the stars. I watch TikTok until I fall asleep because nothing makes me more relaxed than dancing teens and apps stealing my data. (← I expect this joke to age quickly and badly.)
What are some pieces of entertainment that you have consumed and loved during this time?
I’ve never consumed so much media in my LIFE. I’m bingeing whatever I can get my grubby little paws on. Recent enjoyable TV has included What We Do in the Shadows, Mrs. America, and RuPaul’s Drag Race (Season 11 was a breath of fresh air; All Stars 5 is a snooze). I started listening to Bridger Winegar’s I Said No Gifts podcast which is charming. I’m reading Mia Mercado’s excellent book of essays Weird But Normal and watching YouTube clips of Judge Judy and On Cinema at the Cinema.
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 riding waves of total inertia and intense productivity. One thing that keeps me motivated is my #Scribblewits project, where I share the stories of lesser-known witty women of history. As a humor writer and comedy fan, I’m inspired by how many funny women there were in ye olden times who paved the way for comedy today — court jesters, clowns, playwrights, poets. I love to dive down that rabbit hole and research people like Isabella Andreini (an improv comedy actress in Renaissance Italy), Aida Overton Walker (the vaudeville dancer-comedian), Esther Johnson (Jonathan Swift’s funniest friend), and Sulpicia (Ancient Rome’s only female satirist). You can read all about these ladies, and many more, at www.scribblewits.org.
Have you taken up any new hobbies?
I ordered a pack of origami paper and I’ve been making paper cranes. I’m also sending lots of cards and letters to my three-year-old nephew, who’s bored at home and likes getting mail. It’s fun to think of creative things to write or doodle. His bar for amusement is set VERY low, which makes it easy for me and quite enjoyable.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten so far during quar? What’s the worst?
Best: A simple chicken coconut curry that hits the spot every time. Chicken, onions, yellow curry paste, coconut milk, chicken broth. I also made a satisfying salad the other day with kale, sliced nectarine, candied pecans, red onion, dried cherries and balsamic vinaigrette.
Worst: I’m struggling to remember something bad because there’s been so much badness each and every day. I’m sick of cooking. I never want to cook again. Somebody come make dinner for me, for the love of all things holy.
What’s your current iPhone wallpaper and what’s the story behind it?
I was driving home on a foggy day and it was so moody and eerie that I stopped in the middle of the road to take this photo.
What’s the best quar purchase you’ve made so far?
I just bought new bras online. My breasts are 40% of my total body weight and my old bras were stretched to the limit and begging to be put out of their misery. I don’t care that it’s quarantine, my drooping meatsacks need support 24/7. Did I mention I’m single?
Any unexpectedly memorable moments so far?
My biggest surprise in the midst of quarantine has been finding out that I won a Fulbright award! I’m now in the midst of preparing for a 10-month trip to Ireland to do some creative writing and continue my exploration of the witty women of history. After quarantining for so long, I welcome the opportunity to quarantine someplace else.