For the last two years, in the midst of the wildly disconnecting times the 2020s have been, Fridays have become a highlight of the week, and one of my favourite moments of connection. When you live six hours and a state border away from your number one crafty enabler, during a pandemic, and don’t get to see each other for almost four years (and counting…please please may camp be an actual thing this year!), you have to take what you can get. In fact, it’s been a silver lining of the past few years that we see each other more regularly than we did in The Before.
In The Before, we were allergic to video calls, almost pathological in our avoidance of being caught on camera. I once famously left my friends looking at my bedroom ceiling for an hour while I chatted, to avoid the video part of the call. When Car and I first started seriously nutting out the logistics of this podcast that we might sort maybe think about doing but don’t say it out too loud, the how was one of our biggest stumbling blocks. Could we really face up to a video call, EVERY WEEK?
It turns out, we could. Not only have we shown up to record a podcast now in it’s fourth season, but even in the off seasons, we’ll often jump on a call, to chat, to catch up, and to just hang out and art together. Half the time we aren’t even talking, just existing in the same virtual space and working on our projects. It is a call back to our camp days, where the manic talking is interspersed with zen crafting, the quiet of the room disturbed only by the clatter of snips being picked up and put down, or the rustle of a book page, or the boiling of a kettle. It’s doing an hour of life together, in a very real and raw way – my kids wander past and ask for food or a bandaid or mediation in whatever they have decided to bicker over today. Car’s dog wants out. And in. And out. And in. Then the parcel man arrives and I get to see a super fun show and tell. It’s something we’ve podcasted about previously, the “errand hang” and finding connection in the everyday. I’ve also shared some thoughts on how sharing our everyday rhythm has helped build a foundation of friendship, for the podcast blog.
There’s been a lot going on for both of us recently, and so when Car messaged me last Friday and asked if I wanted to zoom, I immediately typed back “YES PLEASE”. Clearly, we both needed a slice of calm creative connection in a crazy couple of weeks, since we both turned up well in advance of our usual call time. I turned up with two journals, a piece of Lino, my knitting and a waffle. We chatted. We arted in quiet reflection. We shared what we did, and shared the inspiration behind what we were making. We caught up on the nuances of the past couple of weeks that don’t make it into the brevity of messaging – if brevity is a word that could be applied to our message chains.
For me personally, it was the kick start I needed. I’d been languishing after an injury. In that hour of parallel play, I did more creative work than I had done the previous week. Suddenly, I felt productive again, and because my brain works backwards, having been productive, I became motivated to keep making. I found inspiration in the making, and in sharing that making. Those little mushrooms in particular, are currently taking up some headspace as I toss around ways I can bring them out of my working journal and into a big project. It’s also super inspiring and motivating to have someone right there to bounce off creatively, in a way that doesn’t always translate energy wise, into messaging (though sometimes messaging allows the space for an idea to fully form before it can get shot down in the bounce).
With the weekend just gone marking three years since the start of the pandemic, I found myself especially thankful for this little silver lining. If you had told me in March 2020 that I would look forward to video calls, and consider them a highlight of my week, I would have thought you were off your rocker. And yet here we are, three years later, and your internet friend is not only loving the video chats, but contemplating how we could add video hangouts to the Ministry so all our friends can come and play with it. It’s been a wild topsy turvy time, and it’s been hard and tiring, living through the Roaring 20s (where’s the jazz music and flapper dresses dammit), but this little part of the pandemic pivot? Yeah, this pivot I am thankful for.