Dasha Makarishcheva

The world revolves around the Coronavirus now...

COVID Break Journal

I started writing as the panic started

March 17, 2020

I’m writing this in Word and redacting sensitive commentary.

Part 1

The world does not end today, but the worlds of many individuals come to close as Death comes through the crowds.
This year started with the silhouette of War standing at the doorway, Illuminated by an explosion from millions of worlds away. There were jokes about it all over the internet. How else would we have dealt with the anxiety of a whirlwind out in our front yard? [Redacted] …if any English teacher ever asks – I’m trying to highlight the apathy of the time that I’m living in now.
There were so many more controversies – unforgettable, hilarious ones.. I’ve already forgotten them all. But within two months we’d practically forgotten the Horseman who shook the earth that long night.
Half a month ago the Horseman of Pestilence crawled out of the sewer. We read as he flew past borders, swam over horizons, and dug graves for the ones he’d marke’d.
First it seemed like another joke. I myself spent a hearty moment declaring the true meekness of the situation – as if the numbers held any truth to them! This is fine. Everything is fine.
Ah well, the truth was clearly far off. Pestilence, when the cloth was ripped off of the birdcages of certain societies, had been found to overwhelmingly drown the people of other controversial lands.
My mother noticed early – as she gets obsessive sometimes – and she and my father picked me up from school together one late night with the small car packed to the edges with boxes and cartons.
“What the heck? How will I fit?” I asked, as I went around to the side of the vehicle. I shoved myself in next to one of the cardboard boxes.
I thought my mother was crazy, stockpiling so much food. Our fridge had hardly enough room in it to store a thing already.
“We should just buy a second fridge,” I joked, as I stood in my father’s room, edges of which were lined with cardboard, “this is insane. We’re going to be fine.”
“Doomsday preppers,” I called my parents. We were going to be fine. My mother assured me that the store was packed with people prepping for Pestilence to come and cage us too.

Part 2

I saw a video of a quarantine in a controversial city. There video was taken from an apartment high up among the buildings. In the dark of night, no lights came from the ground. There was light coming from windows in the buildings, luckily.
The video was of people screaming.
Hundreds, probably thousands of voices, screaming, screaming in the night. Screaming to be heard, Screaming to drown out the screaming, screaming to scream… to feel alive.
I think of that video sometimes. A hell on earth. How many people lost sleep that day? How many needed help that day? Was that an appropriate reaction from the controversial country’s government to pestilence nesting in its’ bedroom? Wasn’t that only the third day of the quarantine? How much longer is this going on for? Why isn’t there more footage?
I remember, now, another video of a doctor in that controversial country: Crying into the phone of an overwhelming inability to take care of the needing.
Even today I read a comment by a young doctor about working around-the-clock without enough protection from Pestilence’s breath.
Nobody has enough resources.
Each country has a different reaction to Pestilence trickling into their direction.
Ours is a shame. [Redacted]  Why is there a lack of realism?
[Redacted] The first places to understandably get it were the most popular and crowded. New York, California, Chicago. The first place with unclear roots: Washington. Pestilence has entered the cage.
Just this week a priest was diagnosed with the virus after shaking the hands of 500 people. With the incubation period of Pestilence’s creation, all of the people may just as well say they have it. Someone in my school’s region has already been diagnosed with Pestilence’s grief.
Schools across the country have closed. My school’s board has been discussing their thoughts for the past few days. It’s been so long since the virus has entered, and with the incubation period of the virus I tell my classmates, “Someone in our school definitely has it – they’ve just not been diagnosed yet.”

Part 3

A large number of my classmates joke that they would “take one for the team,” and get the virus to close our school. I’m not one of them. Just before the virus infiltrated our society my school had begun going through its flu season, and I didn’t catch a cold. I’m not sure if that’s how it works, but I think my immune system is less prepared to fight the virus than all of my friends who’ve gotten sick for the past few weeks.
I’m also a Type 1 Diabetic and all the health professionals in my life tell me that I’m in a higher degree of danger than an average person.
When the virus started and someone would cough at school it was a fun quip to call “virus” on them. Unfortunately, people had started to use that to bully people of the race of the controversial country in which Pestilence had made its home. It sucked that the easy, go-to joke had been ruined by racism. Racists suck and nobody should be bullied. I stopped making that joke to people from the virus’ region. I know that the argument is that I should’ve stopped making the joke altogether, but this is simply the way it was. I didn’t want to add to a negative culture but I wanted to make jokes. I haven’t made the joke out of respect for a few days, anyway. It’ll stop now.

[Redacted] has spent a large amount of time delegitimizing the media.
I work for my school’s news magazine. I try not to read the articles, as if someone complains about it I can easily say, “Oh, I don’t read/write the articles – I just make the design!” and that’s an unfortunate side-effect of the climate I’m in right now.
It’s easy to write off journalism. “They’re doing it for the clicks!” people claim and I can agree that for paid publications it’s likely true. Our news magazine gets no funding from our school and it’s completely free for our student body, so I get to see the work that goes into thoroughly researching and writing genuine, well-meaning and well-informed articles whose main goal is to educate the public. It’s never even hit me – the possibility that people could possibly doing the work for a grade – until just now after working on the staff for four years. This is how dedicated and amazing the journalistic student body is at my school.
So you could say that I’m either biased, or well-informed in the argument about journalistic integrity during these times. It’s not like the general public knows what goes on behind a publication’s doors.
What if the media, which some say are “blowing everything out of proportion,” isn’t? I would certainly like to know more about the city of screaming. Yet, people point towards other epidemics and ask: “Why isn’t that covered? Why is all of this attention given to this one thing, but not this other super big thing?”
I’d like to say that it’s because news publications aren’t “Big Media.” They’re full of people and individuals. They’re people who care a lot about specific topics. Imagine the heroes who went out and gathered the information on the numbers of people dying from Pestilence, and then reported on it – the “minor flu that would disappear by summer.”
It’s a bit why I get upset with people calling out publications for publishing specific articles. The publications are just a forum. It’s the authors that really hold responsibility for their craft.

Part 4

I wash my hands all the time at school.
I used to have OCD in 2nd grade. A tingling in my hands would tell me that I’ve touched something dirty… something covered in germs and that I’d have to wash my hands to get rid of that feeling and become “clean.” After I got over the initial radicism of my quirk, it became somewhat of a background noise – the tingles would only show up if I did something like touching a computer after someone sick used it.
Now I let it affect me more. High-five a friend? Use a mystery computer at all? Sit at a desk? I’ll wash my hands afterwards. And by goodness I will not touch my face. Ish.
The virus paranoia is real. Someone has it and I mustn’t get it.
One of my friends has scrubbed her hands raw.
The government has posted everywhere their hand-washing regulations. People joke online about our generation establishing life-long, useful skills.
The internet points out the irony of the state we’re in: How all regulations recommend staying home when sick, while our culture dictates that we must go to school or work no matter our circumstances.
For my region specifically – it’s pretty difficult to abandon school. Everyone is highly educated and is expected to go to Ivy League colleges or at least have a GPA of approximately 4.0.
I’m on that edge – entering my senior year of high school with a 3.96 – nowhere near enough to stand out from my classmates, but there was no need to anyway:
I’m an artist.
So far I’ve been accepted to 5/8 of the schools that I’ve applied to, and I’ve been planning to finally visit one of them – a college I’m genuinely interested in – over Spring Break. In the middle of the Pestilence’s outbreak.
I wish they’d take our unspent snow days and add them to our break as our “school closure” from the virus. There were about two weeks of snow days set aside for this winter, but winter was nonexistent and January had been the hottest it’s ever been since record-keeping started.
I’m afraid of visiting the college now. Everyplace is a virus hotspot. It’s far away from our home, so flight became out of the question. What is the likelihood if Pestilence breeding there? I’m not familiar with the environment and I won’t be able to protect myself well.
It’s amusing that our generation will have to deal with all of this. I hope I don’t get sick.
I bet out of the two, Famine will come next. What if our food providers will get sick?
I don’t think Death is here yet… where I live. Right now it’s only loitering outside the entrance, snapping butterflies out of the sky. All their worlds end today – individuals skinned of their glowing presence. All their worlds end today, but mine has not died yet.
Dasha Makarishcheva,

Part 5

Today is Saturday, March 14th, 2020.
Thursday was unique. My physics teacher couldn’t even start the class period before one student called out a neighboring school for being closed. In Journalism Nicholas Lohman, an Editor-In-Chief of the newsmagazine said that he wants to create a section on the newsmagazine’s website where students can post coronavirus updates in a journal-style fashion (Little did he know). “Media would reference us all over the country,” he said. “I’ll become famous!” he said.
So when school got canceled on Friday and I texted him if I should make us a section on the website for the “Lohman Logs.” He said no. If these logs ever become anything let us title them the “Lohman Logs” as a power move.
Most of Thursday was spent discussing if school would be cancelled or not on Friday. My reasoning was that there would be no difference in the ideas that it should be closed or opened because we had school out that Monday anyway and that it wouldn’t negatively impact us much to be open one more day.
The county reasonably agreed so they sent out the message that they would remain open on Friday.
The next morning I wake up early and get ready to go to school. My sister came knocking at my door.
– “You know that school got cancelled, right?”
– “What? No.”
I immediately check the website. It seemed that enough parents had complained that the county had to respond to their concerns. Reasonable, but inconvenient; I needed to pick up an art piece – I left it at school but I needed to turn it in digitally that day, and I was planning on setting up online learning for the artists in the Journalism staff.
I spent the morning doing what I would usually do: Watching videos online. I also spent some time messaging a friend who is in the air force, halfway across the world right now. Conclusion: People panicking is bad. “The Coronavirus is just like the swine flu epidemic,” he said “once it blows over we’ll see it wasn’t such a big deal.”
“Well, we want to treat it in such a way so that we’ll be able to think that in the future,” I said. I also read about the swine flu that morning. It’s existence just might make me get the flu shot.
I really wanted to go on a walk, but it looked like it would be a cold and cloudy day.
I’d been feeling a dryness in my throat. Afraid, I introduced myself as the “living Coronavirus,” to my mom that morning. I didn’t say I was feeling off. We discussed what would happen if one of us was sick. Essentially, I’d be locked up in a room for a month if this was the case. I didn’t say I was feeling off.
It turned out that by 11:00 the temperature outside would hit its 60s, so I got some art materials, got a book I’ve been illustrating for a few years, and went outside.
The sun was warm, but the wind was chilly. There were children playing in several yards. I remember seeing 6 of them on one trampoline. I was thinking that that was stupid, but then it really hit that there’s almost no way the kids themselves would die. Some girls were playing volleyball in their front yard, and I thought that they would really have to wash their hands and clean the volleyball after that activity. Parents were outdoors, I remember seeing a mother on a laptop in front of her house as her daughters played behind her.
There were a lot of people outside, taking walks and jogging. I drew a flower by the church in my illustration book while a large group of younger adults were gathering in front of the school building that was a part of the church’s juridistiction. As I wondered what group of fools would be gathering together during a time like this one, I realized that they were teachers (They seemed to keep respectful distances, anyway). I overheard some of their conversations from across the road – where I was drawing.
“…even the MBL cot cancelled,” “…what to do about projects,” and “…we have to make plans,” are the closest things to what my memory recalls. As the adults drank what I assume was beer together they discussed the way things across the country had been cancelling and shutting down. It made me think about my school’s teachers and how they would be making plans – they’d be meeting on Monday.
The days leading up to Friday my teachers had been discussing online learning with my classes. I know that my English and Government teachers would be leading their department’s discussions on the subjects on Monday. Our government teacher made us fill out a survey.
– “Nobody’s been asking the students what they’re thinking.”
So I wrote a very long statement about how my grade in particular would be almost impossible to retain and that the types of assignments would have to be concept-based and not time heavy to keep us focused. And then I got logged out of the school’s email system. I have no clue if the message was received or not, but I hope that most of my classmates expressed the same sentiments.

Part 6

After my walk I come home to find out that school got cancelled for two weeks.
“What about online learning?” I asked in the Managing Editor/EIC/Advisor group chat.
“We’ll be meeting about it on Monday,” was essentially the reply that I got from the teacher.
I don’t know if the core exasperation was expressed through that question. If school was cancelled, then it would have to be just like on Friday, where I should have no school-related obligations (Besides the online art stuff I had to turn in and one online Gov assignment that most everyone in my class had completed the day before).
Must students would be turned off from school-related things, and if when the teachers meet on Monday they decide to go through with online learning, it’ll be even harder to deal with students then it would have been if at least Tuesday was a school day to tell us about the new type of learning we’d be doing.
My mother wasn’t home. It turned out that she went shopping. She went shopping on the day almost everyone would be off from work. This over-concerned mother decided to go to a store full of people which significantly increased the chance of one of them actually being sick. I let her know that I wasn’t comfortable with that.
I cleared up a copy of Pokemon Y for my sister to play during the break. She seems to be enjoying it and I hope she gets into playing the game.
As I checked my phone I found a unique message: I got an invite to join an online server called the “McLean Corona Gang.”
The server invited the students from my high school to gather during our quarantines and hang out online. I got to watch it grow from one channel, to a whole panel of them. I spent some time playing Minecraft with people, playing quiz games, and meming some ex-school board member that used to announce snow days online until he ran for office that year.
The kids on there pointed out that two weeks off of school + spring break + teacher work days = a month off of school.
Special note: this ex-school board member has a cult following. When I say we all memed him, I’m saying that he had a whole channel dedicated to posting only him. He had his own reaction image. Someone made a 3D model of him. He was our server’s icon. A good few hours had been wasted illustrating him. Shoutout to Ryan McElveen.
It was a fun channel. Just as if 100 high schoolers with free time under quarantine had been gathered into one spot and told that they could do whatever.
I did all of my homework really late that night.

Part 7

Today is Saturday. I woke up really late because of the chat, and absolutely in a bad mood. Apparently my father had been to the store too – another disappointment.
Did you know that our economy has been collapsing? I believe that the current drops in the stock market have been the worst of – literally – all time.
[Redacted] The virus had just started to affect the country.
Before school went out my Gov class had been discussing this a lot. One point I’ve been thinking a lot about is that this may be reasonably advantageous for our generation. Most of us don’t have long-term personal funds invested in the market, so if we start now that it’s on a low, once it’ll recover it’ll be a financial benefit for us. We’re just starting out our lives, able to take a risk, and by the time we’re 80 the market should increase our investments a reasonable amount.
Yet I’m most concerned because I’m going to go to a college soon and I need to be able to pay it off. My mother said that our savings had been moved to a more conservative fund recently, which I hope guarantees my financial safety. She keeps on telling me to make a table listing the prices of the colleges I’ve been accepted to. Well, I have 34 days of break to do that, and I’m assuming that my college visit trip has been cancelled (I’m not alone in this, a bunch of us complained in Gov). I have no clue what’s going to happen.
Today mother joked today that she should start a journal. “This is a perfect time, so historic,” she said, “historians would reference it.” I may or may not have mentioned that I already started something, and then denied it when she started prying.
I went on a walk today. It was colder. I sat by the road and drew cars coming by. I had converted a bunch of nice songs into .mp3 files for once, and I played Pokemon Go until it got cold. Once I came home I checked in on the Quarantine server and played video games until late. I’m probably waking up super late again tomorrow – I’ve been writing for a while.
The very real mood of the day has been Absofacto – Dissolve
I used to wonder as a child if people during the Great Depression had an understanding of the historic value of their time – with the market crashing and everything. Now I can say that I know the answer to that question. This is absurd. The world’s absurd. The country’s absurd. I’m absurd.
I don’t know why I write.

Part 8

Today is Sunday, March 15th, 2020.
What’s making me write right now is a post that I was online about the Federal Reserve cutting rates to 0. After reading for a bit, I’ve come to understand that this is to encourage people to invest in the failing market.
This won’t work. I know this because practically no one my age has an interest in the market, and this is just the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. It’s as if they’re shooting their final shots before things even get bad.
Someone who works in an elementary school in my county got diagnosed with Coronavirus, and now school functions are completely closed for Monday. I was planning to pick up some art supplies and hand in some homework to teachers tomorrow, but now that I can’t do that I’m not even bothering completing my homework today.
Teachers aren’t allowed to grade anything for the next two weeks and anything assigned is “optional.” This is a very wicked situation.
I’ve been getting updates from the Journalism department for the past few days, and now it seems like we won’t be able to produce one of our issues. It also looks like I’ll have to create a template – by the time we get back – for our final, graduation issue.
One of my friends texted me about the opportunity to hang out yesterday, but I said that we should wait a few days first – so we know we’re in the clear.
I spent most of today sitting around and browsing around online. I’ve made some memes, but it seems like the Covid Gang chat group has dialed itself down. It’s cold outside, which means I can’t go on a walk today. I wanted to walk the treadmill while a show was playing on the TV, but my mother pointed out that I won’t be able to do that because Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden will be having their democratic debate during this time.
I’m trying to get healthy during this long Coronavirus Break. Unfortunately my family went to the store again this morning and I when I checked the quarantine room I found some chocolate chip cookies on the shelf. I can’t really stop myself from eating them so it’s unlikely that I’m going to lose any weight on this break.
My sister has an appointment tomorrow, and my mom is taking her there. I’ve joked with Mom that at this point I’m most likely going to get the virus from her since I never leave the house.
I know that I’m an artist, but it’s really boring to make anything without constant feedback. I can’t find a solid source of entertainment.
I used to be a big reader, but the business of my life turned me away from books a while ago. My insides are fighting for weather I should read a physical book or not. I’ve opted to listen to The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North again. It’s the only book I’ve ever really re-read several times, and I blame North’s The End of The Day for the first section of this story. We can’t check out books from the libraries anymore, and I can’t really pirate anything. All that’s left for me to do is refresh the comic site I frequent every few hours in hopes of an update.
I left stopped reading Webtoons in October in order to focus on applying to college, and just like with physical books I’m wondering when I’ll slip back into that world.
The feeling that tells me that I need to create something for people is starting to slowly stab at me again. I wonder if I should publish a comic, but when I tried to do that my Freshman year I learned how grueling it is. I didn’t find myself enjoying it.
Making stuff for the Journalism department has kept me afloat for years. How am I going to be once I graduate? I’m going to lose this piece of my drive and it’s so hurtful inside when I don’t have it.
This is an awful personal struggle.
To motivate myself before the Coronavirus break I joke-swore that if we went under quarantine I would write a book. I’ve always wanted to create an illustrated kids book. I’ve also been illustrating that book with flowers for a while now – I want to fill it with poems. Now I’m writing this Journal.
I looked up the average number of words in a book, and the internet says it’s about 90,000. I’m only about 4,500 in just about now in writing. It seems that if I keep up this pace, by the end of the Quarantine I should have written about 50,000 of them.
I hope I’m doing a good job of logging. There’s just so much happening, and everything keeps on building on top of itself – I don’t know where to start or end. I don’t know what details are important and I don’t know how everything will end up.
I hope everyone is safe. The number of cases is just going to keep rising. My swordsmanship class almost happened today because the old people running it decided that it would go on despite the fact that they’re the ones that should be social distancing the most.
It’s very easy for me to decide to not attend an event if it’s mentioned that “those who are immunocompromised need not come,” because I fall under that category. Have I mentioned that I have type 1 Diabeties?
I just find it absurd how the people who were teens during the Cold War era would place themselves into danger in order to practice swinging a wooden stick.

Part 9

Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

I messed up – I messed up, okay? They made me turn this writing into a blog on the website.  The journalism teacher sent the group chat a blog from the site full of students writing about their Coronavirus Break experiences and said she thought it’d be cool if we did that. Suddenly everyone started agreeing. I mean – I agreed, too, but that would mean having to post everything I’ve written so far, no? Yep! Now everything is on the websiiiite.

I’m the Website EIC so I had to make the page. I took everything I wrote so far and just… copy-pasted it all in. Of course, I’ve redacted some commentary that could chase me later, but I’m still concerned about my openness in writing. I’m so desperately concerned about doing this. Who isn’t, really? What’s essentially been my diary is just available for anyone to read. It’s also a book, anyway… I just don’t know how I classify this. Is it safe to think out loud online? OF COURSE NOT!

Hopefully I’ll be able to dele- it’s probably too late! I haven’t even posted what I’ve written so far for THIS section but I know that I will.

Part 10

Yesterday I woke up late again. It was cold. I sat around and played video games all day, but it eventually turned into a nostalgic experience. I took out an old copy of Pokemon Dungeon, Explorers of Time and I decided to finally get around to reaching some milestones. I used a wonder mail generator and I ended staying up playing past midnight, but now I can finally feel like I’ve “completed” the game.

The internet was a mess again, but it’s just become a blur by now.

I am definitely not the only gaming addict out here this season. On the arrow blog site I noticed that most people were just lounging around at home not doing much. One post clearly referenced the incoming Animal Crossing game. I know many people that are literally holding on to their sanity because that game is coming out soon.

The post in particular referenced the fact that they’re focusing on getting their homework done before the game comes out. When I checked our Google Classroom for any homework-related posts yesterday I found that most of my teachers posted “BE SMART” as their focus subject.

The teachers didn’t get to meet yesterday, so each of them is just posting general requirements. My art teacher still requires our class to somehow participate in an art critique on Thursday. My Gov teacher notified us that she wasn’t able to pick up some grading materials since she wasn’t expecting a cancellation on Friday. She has been posting about her daughter – who is adorable, and asked our class what we should binge watch during our free time. My recommendations were Parks & Rec, Avatar the Last Airbender, The Good Place, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch – all to satisfy different tastes. I also messaged the teacher implying that I wanted to – perhaps – make a kids book for her daughter using my free time and what her favorite animals were. Time to make something about fish-dogs.

I had physics homework due online today, but I didn’t do it because it can’t be graded. I bet my teacher is disappointed in me. Also, everyone who’s reading this. I’ll just add it to the packet I’ll submit once I get back? If anything comes up I’m doing it right away. I just don’t know where anything is going right now.

Today was a good day. I woke up at around 10 and spent some time online while walking on the treadmill. My family went on a walk while I played some games

Today I pulled out my old copy of Pokemon SoulSilver. I was sad when it didn’t show up in the DS’s selection menu at first, but then it all worked out! I was happy playing such a nostalgic game. It’s weird, but being inside all day has made me interact with games that I haven’t touched in several years. The console is over a decade old and works just fine, yet newer ones break in about two years. This break has seemed like something out of my childhood, but with the weather not as warm.

I think at some point yesterday my mother acknowledged that we should no longer go to the store. My dad had bought a lot of bananas as they started going extinct from the stores. He’ been putting them though the blender, and although I tried to avoid drinking the smoothie, my mom tricked me into trying it. Of course, it was delicious.

I decided to be productive today and I finally finished a job application for this summer. My mom pointed out that this job will potentially become unavailable because of the Coronavirus, but I think that you never know. Seriously. I have no clue if the Coronavirus will interfere or not, but no business leader wants to lose a market over this pandemic. If I were in their shoes I’d wait a bit to see what will happen by the time the summer starts. Especially since it seems like the virus is starting to die down in China.

Today online there was a post about how while Italy is under quarantine that wildlife is returning to it, and how people are preemptively sad for its disappearance. That sucks. It sucks, in a way, because the people who see the possibility of a world that isn’t severely over-influenced by tourists will be haunted by its beauty for the rest of their lives.

One story that’s been gaining track recently is about this one dude who allegedly bought out the hand sanitizer from several stores across several states – he collected something like 17,000 bottles and sold them back to the market on Amazon. He has become a subject of public scrutiny as he expressed that he held no remorse for selfishly exploiting people’s need for a resource. I think the government began an investigation into him, and every time his story is mentioned there is a note that this type of unreasonable up-selling may be illegal.

He only deserves mentioning because some fellows wrote a really catchy song about him, and its been stuck in my head for two days.

Yesterday I got a message on Discord asking me to critique a piece of art that… wasn’t there? Eh, I’ll see where this’ll go.

Today I got a DM from a friend that asked if we could draw together online. I think that’d be fun, but I said that it would be nice to do it with a group of people. It’s fun making memes as a group.

Speaking of which, I got accepted into RISD today! I also got an email from Pratt – which had me waitlisted – that one of their branches was interested in me being a student, and that I’d be guaranteed to be transferred into Pratt if I attended for two years. SO IN A WAY I’ve been accepted to 7/8 of the colleges I’ve applied to! Sometime during this Coronavirus Break I should be getting the decision from the final college. It’s the hardest program to get into (at least from my perspective).

I wonder how – if – the virus has been affecting the lives of admissions officers.

My mom has told me to graph out the costs of potential colleges again. Once I find out what the final college thinks of me I’ll put everything together and form a decision. It seems that by the end of this pandemic I’ll know where I’ll be spending the next few years of my life. Just thinking about that is unsettling.

I want to wake up at a reasonable time tomorrow and maybe spend some time outside. As far as I can tell Thursday will have the best temperatures but rainy weather. The weather app is showing me a snow icon on Monday in spite of the low temperature showing up as 42 degrees. Despite seeming like a summer break this definitely isn’t one. I can’t spend a day hiking in a park just yet, but hopefully by next month I can spend a few hours in a medium-warm sun.

Part 11

Merry morning! Today is Friday, March 20, 2020.

I usually write these before I go to sleep, but it takes a long time and I couldn’t stay up until 1 writing this.

On Wednesday I woke up freakishly early. I’d say I had about 5 hours of sleep, and wanting to seize the day I seized it by waking up just before the first bird of the morning started singing. I fought with myself, questioning if I should go back to sleep and miss all that time I could be productive. So I got up and… was unproductive for a few hours.

Checking the weather on my phone, I reasoned that 11 would be a good time to go outside! 60 degree temperatures seemed reasonable, no? WRONG. It may be nice outside, but the wind chill brings the temperature down about 10 degrees. The wind is freezing!

I played some Pokemon Go and drew a car by the church that morning and then went straight home.

My friend who wanted to draw together had set up a call for 1:00. Just as the call started I was setting up my equipment. There were 3 of us in the call. I thought it was going to be kind of awkward, but I’ve been trying to appreciate the silence more because it seems like it’s only a bad thing in our culture. It was peaceful. We did discuss some things, like what we were working on and how we were dealing with the Covid break. It seems like everyone’s in the same boat. I tried speedpainting using techniques I learned from Aaron Blaise and Marco Bucci and my drawing turned out great! It took about 1 ½ hours.

The call ended and I had some soup. When I got back I decided to try and experiment in making a comic using my new illustration as a starting point. I’ve wanted to try out a technique; I found that in InDesign I didn’t have to sacrifice the quality of the art I make in order to make a comic in the right publication size.

During the call I told my friend that I would share a resource document I made for the artists in the Journalism department with her. After finishing up the base of my comic I sent her the link. Later on she messaged me saying that my “resources are literal gold.”

Well, they are a collection of literally every single art-related link that I’ve bookmarked over the past 4 years.

My teacher contacted me about a comic idea she had, but hasn’t seen anywhere. I have no clue how it’s not been seen anywhere – it’s brilliant – the world revolves around the Coronavirus – it’s now the featured image on this post.

At about 7 the Editor-In-Chief of the newsmagazine created a group chat of allll of the editors saying that there’s going to be a call at 11:00 on Thursday to discuss the Coronavirus Issue. That’s the time I usually wake up.

It’s also on an app that I’ve never heard of before. Once again I complained to myself that I should’ve pushed for that Discord server I wanted us to have as a staff at the beginning of the school year.


I had a discussion with my mom. She was reading a forum on how parents were enforcing social distancing with their kids.

Hey kids, PSA: Just because “everyone” is hanging out together, don’t do that. Not even a week of social distancing had passed yet, and that’s about enough for someone to know if they’re sick or not.

I realized that despite parents’ desire to remove their kids from social media, it’s actually a benefit during these trying times. The teenage years are a prime time for socialization, and social media helps social distancing in that there is still that feeling of connection to social circles while in literal isolation. If social media didn’t exist, the social distancing requirements would be such a radical change in mentality that most kids would absolutely not social distance. In other words…

Hey parents, PSA: Let your kids be online during the outbreak. It protects them from the real world and hanging out with actual people.

My mom and I discussed our plans for the next day. In order to prevent my dad from going to the store to buy bread, we would try making it at home in the morning.

Ava and Ben uploaded their blogs onto the site. Ava’s featured her baking experience. Fresh coincidence. Ben’s blog featured artwork that put mine to SHAME. He’s literally a god.

I kept on getting messages to feature the blogs on the site, and I guess 3 was about enough to start doing that. I decided that I would do that Thursday afternoon.

Part 12

I woke up at 11:00. I missed the start of the call, but I could make it at a reasonable time. I went upstairs and ran into my mom in the kitchen.

  • “Can you help me? Here, grab the [net thing?] and start sifting the [flour?]”

I guess family comes first.

It turned out that she’d been working on sifting the stuff for a while. The little net thing was tiny and she needed to get through two more cups of flour. Eventually we found a second net thing and I helped her finish making the dough. Cool, done. I went back to my room.

I couldn’t decide on which device to download the suspicious app. I even looked into the background of its creators to see if there were any grounds for suspicion that I could refuse to download on. I found nothing so I downloaded the app on my computer and joined the call. Not too late – I joined about halfway through the article sorting. I’m glad I’m not really essential for the staff… I kept myself muted for the most part anyway because I have a ticking clock in my room.

It was nice seeing everyone.

Just before my walk I checked in with my family upstairs. The bread was done! It tasted delicious. Like, seriously. Most breads have stuff added to them that make them taste certain ways, but this bread was… simple.

My sister isn’t able to eat the bread, so she asked me to describe it to her. I did my best.

  • It tastes like – like if oatmeal was a bread. It’ mass is on the heavier side and it’s very smooth texture-wise, with a crunchy exterior. Like a cookie.

I’d been looking forward to Thursday all week. The weather app said that the weather would hit the 70s and I was not going to let this opportunity pass by. I packed all of my essentials – from granola bars to my sketchbook. I decided that since I haven’t been able to go outside in the past few days that I would go on a long walk. I was going to go to Kent Gardens’ Park.

But first, of course, I played Pokemon Go at the church.

On my way there I saw one of my “sweet old lady” neighbors who was out on a stroll. I wondered how she’d been doing for the 40th time this week.

“I’ve got to stay away from you,” she said, as we curved away from each other on the sidewalk. What a fulfilling interaction.

The trip to KG Park took about 25 minutes from the church. At first I thought that it was strange that there were no people outside, but as I got closer to the Elementary School I realized it was a rather romantic scene:

As Ella Fitzgerald serenaded my ears from my playlist I watched from underneath the large cherry blossom – a landmark to my destination – as a dad biked with his kids. Toddlers ran around outside and tweens played basketball in their front yards. It looked like any regular summer vacation. As a mother and her two daughters walked toward the park I realized that social distancing didn’t apply to the family, too. Silly me.

There were lots of people in the park. A large group of kids was playing down the stream – which was rather still that afternoon – and there was not enough room on the bridge to effectively social distance with strangers while crossing it.

I decided to walk a portion of the trail. The part where I saw a group of rowdy boys use a giant tree as a bridge was different now: The tree had sunk into the water. Apparently its roots couldn’t hold it any longer, and now rather than remaining dry the boys were splashing around in the water nearby.

Looking where the tree-bridge used to lead I noticed… something strange in the trees. It looked like something of a log cabin. How did it get there? Did the boys build it? It looked like it was built out of some heavy branches and I doubted it. I looked around for a path that could lead up to there, and I saw none from the beach area across the river.

I reckoned, there was probably an entrance on the other side of the river.

I walked back along the trail. There was a clearing by the bridge – maybe there was a path that would lead to the weird log cabin-thing at its edge. I walked across the clearing and… there. There was a small crevice, dug out by a small stream. I saw a pair of kids on the other side. I wondered for a moment if I was going to be a boring adult that wouldn’t risk getting muddy by jumping over the stream to figure out what a mysterious log cabin was.

I jumped. I got a little mud on the back of my pants, but I’d made it across the little crevice.

The two kids were witting inside a little log-cabin-esque frame. There were only 3 walls. It looked cool.

There were no bushes anywhere – just flat ground and tall trees. For all of my years of hanging out in this park I never knew it existed. I went further down the flat area and I found a small trail. The trail opened up to a bigger area at the edge of which stood that weird log-cabin that I saw in the beginning across the river. There was also a small tent made out of sticks nearby, and a fallen tree had been turned into a bridge over a gape in the ground with the creation of a railing.

I went over and examined the cabin. There was a little stump in the middle, like a little table with sticks on it and everything. There was no doorway, but there was a hole dug out underneath one side of the cabin that a small child could easily fit through. The two kids I saw in the beginning came by and I asked them if they have any idea of who built the things in this area. They didn’t know.

Suddenly two new kids appeared and they crawled into the cabin. I asked them if they had any idea who had built the cabin. The girl replied that it may be the father of one of her friends because she had seen her friend build similar things before. I asked them how old they were – I had just wanted to get an idea of how old the general kids were playing outside that day. I guess it was strange, but she had helped me realize that the kids outdoors that day are about 6-12 years old.

I guess I’m an adult now because all of them seemed so tiny!

As I filmed the general area the kids left out a small hole in the trees and into a second clearing. I never had to jump a crevasse to get there. I felt stupid for being so dramatic, but I realized that my initial entrance was the better one as I soaked my sneakers in some puddles.

A fulfilling walk! I hope that the buildings that are in the park now won’t be torn down, but in turn encouraged. They seem like a fun and interesting, mysterious forest playground!

Yesterday was a fulfilling day, and my mom has been pushing me to go outside again today. I just checked the weather app. And it seems like the weather is mid-70s all day! Awesome.

Also, I got an email from someone who read my blog. I have a fan. :0

Part 13

As I walked home yesterday I saw a group of 3… teenagers? Who were older than me? Aha – college students! An unusual sight, but definitely a group going through some stuff these days. As I walked past the group of blondes, I definitely caught wind of them talking about how unusual it was for them to be here.

College students across the U.S. are in a very unusual predicament. One of my college-aged friends has been posting a lot online about their struggle with having to suddenly return to a toxic family. With nowhere to go, students across the U.S. are being forcibly returned to disgraceful living situations. My heart reaches out to them – I hope it all ends soon.

On my walk home I also saw one of my neighborhood kids playing basketball. Our families used to know each other pretty well, so he and I engaged in some small talk.

  • “Were you the one drawing… over there yesterday?” he asked, gesturing towards the distance.
  • “Where? I don’t remember where I was drawing yesterday, all I remember is that it was cold. Oh, wait! I drew by the church, yes.”
  • “Ah.”
  • “I was actually drawing some cars. Want to see?” I asked, as I pulled my sketchbook out of my pack. “But with the quarantines and stuff… you might want to keep your distance.”

I showed him my car drawings as he stood a pretty far distance away from me. He said they were good. I asked how his family was doing and I wished them well.

My art teacher created a FlipGrid assignment for our class, and only 3 of us did it. ¾ of us – the loud kids in class. It seemed kind of ironic that the kids who one could easily label “the most distracted” are the only ones keeping up with assignments.

Collegeboard changed the requirements for AP exams and the art portfolio changed from 15 to 10 pieces. It was 20 pieces last year, so I feel great on that front.

I have no clue what’s happening with my Gov. exam. I should find out.

Okay, it seems like I’m likely going to take the AP Gov. exam online. Which is fine – I should pass it anyway (I can’t see myself failing it). I don’t see it having a big impact on my life anyway  – I’m more concerned with passing the citizenship test.

So for the past two days I’ve had to edit the website to feature the Covid Blogs, but not too much because of the preferences of my staff. I may have overdone it, because Ben’s Covid Blog is now the second-most viewed page on the site this month. Mine has very few views, but I’m completely okay with that because I’m writing this all for myself.

I’m planning on adding a ton of images and links to my blog page at some point.

During Covid-Break I’ve been reading a lot of comics online, and it’s clear who’s being impacted by Coronavirus-Break by which comics are being updated and how often. It’s especially obvious as some have been on break for a very long time until now.

I decided to work on a video advertising Journalism as an elective for school this afternoon. I connected my storage drive to my laptop and looked through old footage of people that I’ve recorded in Journalism. I laughed a lot. Journalism is fun.

I ran into one video of a friend who’s been slightly dissatisfied with their time in Journalism lately (Or something along those lines) and so I texted them, asking if they were enjoying their time off.

Turns out that they weren’t – and they’re feeling kind of bad about having their senior year torn away so suddenly. They expressed issue with having to deal with isolation.

I guess some people don’t know how to deal with their own selves. It’s just like how one person accidentally sent a screenshot of one of my friends saying that they’re so bored that they’ll do LITERALLY ANYTHING to get rid of their boredom.

I get loneliness and boredom, but is it unique to not struggle with it? By no means am I an introvert – I’m definitely between the two people that I’ve mentioned in my extravertedness, yet neither is okay with their current circumstances.

I will say, though, that this is definitely a situation of nurture, not nature.

I decided that in order to help some friends socialize that we should have a group lunch together! With the power of video calling, of course. We’re planning to do it on Monday at noon.

The news hasn’t been uplifting. Corrupt government actions, earthquakes, shut down cities, nothing unexpected. One thread started up this morning asking how things could naturally get worse and it made me die inside a little bit.

On the positive side I found a fun forum of a bunch of moss fanatics!

I’ve been peeking at Russia’s predicament in the world right now and there’s been a suspicious rise in pneumonia cases. They definitely don’t have Coronavirus cases. Only pneumonia. Ignore the fact that pneumonia is a possible effect of the Coronavirus. Russia doesn’t have the Coronavirus.

Virginia has 114 cases now.

My mother pointed out that since quarantine started a week ago, and it takes 2-5 days to notice initial symptoms of the virus, that now should be the approximate peak of the disease. She said that state hospitals have been reporting no overwhelming numbers of patients.

I wonder how deflated the numbers are across the board – as in with the lack of testing kits and the natural need for countries to appear tougher than they actually are.

I’m also wondering how we’re going to get out of this. As long as people carrying the virus exist, are we going to keep hiding? When do we get to start feeling safe at our schools?

Is this similar – in any way – to the mass school shooting epidemic from… last year? Two years ago? I don’t remember. It was just so recent.

I just wish I could binge-watch some Netflix alone in my room, but I don’t have a Netflix.

Speaking of which, I’ve been browsing some design stuff. Did you know that the N in Netflix is a crossed-out “pause” button?

I’m about 9,500 words into writing today. As far as I can tell, I’m alive and at peace. My mom says that I’m absolutely not allowed to go into a store and that I will get sick. I’m just jealous that everyone else got to see the empty shelves.

My walk today was nice. I played Pokemon Go and as I sat down on a staircase by one of the 3 local churches I noticed that my knees were paler than the sidewalk.

People are going out on walks, jogging, playing soccer, riding bikes together. As the cherry blossoms bloom, and the daffodils under them die there is a slightly sickly-sweet smell in the air.

Part 14

March 22, 2020. Sunday.

The creator of Binding of Isaac has created a bundle of a bunch of his games (with the BoI expansions) and due to the Coronavirus Break it’s all 80% off. I was planning on getting one of the BoI expansions when I graduated but it doesn’t look like that’s happening now. In order to celebrate the early “ending” of the school year I got the severely discounted bundle.

In other words – I’ve been playing video games for two days straight.

Since November I’ve sunk 550 hours into this game. It’s such a great time waster that I’m confident that I’m going to get out of this quarantine completely sane.

Yesterday my family decided that they would go to DC to view the cherry blossom trees. Unlike them, I’ve seen enough on my walks so I stayed home.

Apparently there are some services that will bring food from the store directly to your home. My mom ordered some a few days ago and we got some bread this morning. Last night she woke up at midnight in order to order in the digital system early. There’s panic even over the internet, but at least she’s not amid a crowd of people.

Around midnight my brain started to think in that sleepy insane ways brains function in the middle of the night.

For example: I don’t care about graduation, but the Journalism department has an annual banquet that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I wanted to give a speech and see all of my friends together.

We haven’t been able to hold interviews for staff positions yet. I wanted us to tell the future EICs their positions on April Fool’s day again – it was hilarious last time.

Note: Covid jokes on April Fools day are BANNED!

Also, what if the Coronavirus interferes with college? I want to do tons of socializing, but what if I’ll end up having to take mostly online classes? I’m definitely not going to be able to visit any campuses at this point.  I desperately want this to be a summer thing, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be that way.

Apparently St. Patrick ’s Day happened at some point? And fools went out partying.tsk tsk
I’m sad that I couldn’t mess with my English teacher – I had a small joke I was going to play in his class, but now I can’t and that’s sad. I’ll save it for some other special event.

I’m worried about getting into online learning, or back to school because I could be productive now and actually figure out Physics before we get back.

I want to be productive, but video games. I didn’t play BoI for the beginning of this break, but now it’s taking up all of my attention again.

My drawing tablet is literally right in front of me. I could work on art! I could make that will it/won’t it exist kids book. I’m being encouraged to do it and publish it on the online blog and I’m not confident that it’ll ever exist.

At this point I forgive myself for my erratic sleep schedule. I think it’s the way that I’m supposed to function, actually.  It’s nice, but it’s getting really hard to actually fall asleep now. I still want to get everything in order and actually function. There’s so much to do!

Tomorrow my friends and I are going to have our mid-day lunch.

We called my grandparents who live in Crimea, they’re being safe and my super-cool grandpa stocked up on things like rice and buckwheat. Apparently schools in Russia are closed because of the… sudden leap in pneumonia cases.

Last but not least, I got a compliment on my writing today! It made me happy – especially since I try to avoid writing. I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me.

When I was a kid I said that I wanted to be a fire fighter and help people. I was told it was a man’s job – just like being a member of the police force

Then I said that I wanted to be an author and entertain people. It rained on every book I wrote. Literally – there were at least two occasions where I left my works-in-progress/inspirations outside on rainy days.

Then I said that I wanted to be a comic-book author and I published a popular series to my class library in third grade!

I’ve peaked long ago, guys. The only person stopping me now is myself.

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