June 1st, 2020

Words by Alia Wilhelm & Anna White · Illustration by Lily GD

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Dear Nearness readers,


This month, though many of us have not witnessed particularly concrete changes in our lives, we can feel our minds reaching farther out into the edges of the future. Our routines, which felt new and not fully formed a month ago, have a sense of establishment now. If we were lonely a few weeks ago, we may be lonelier now, but at least the feeling has a kind of enveloping familiarity about it. And what we thought was strange back in April and May feels slightly less like a sci-fi plot point now and more like life, readjusted. Similarly, what’s to come feels less blurry than it did when we were in the midst of change. Something about feeling more settled in the present moment makes the future seem less out of reach.

With some states and countries moving towards different versions of re-opening and summer around the corner (at least on the northern hemisphere where we are), there’s a definite shift in mood. Though nothing will return to the way it was before the pandemic anytime soon, it feels like we’re settling into a new normalcy, which may soon expand slightly past the bounds of our homes and the grocery store. It’s relieving as a prospect, but brings its own doubts — are we really ready for this? Is this safe? 


For the month of June, we’re encouraging contributors to submit content that’s forward-facing rather than retrospective. We’re looking for content from artists and writers contending with feelings of anxiety, dread or joy when they attempt to conjure up an image of the future, however blurry. What do the coming months look like in your mind’s eye? Does your new self feel different now than it did before all this, and how so? How have your relationships evolved, be it to your friends, family, neighbours, strangers, even yourself? For everything lost, there is something gained. What has this time brought you, and are there things you will miss about it? What do you hope will be different? 


We’re lucky to have published some beautiful content this May. We’ve seen quarantine fuel artists’ creative pursuits, as in Nina Turok Shapiro’s beautiful crown-themed portrait series “Heavy Is The Head That Wears The Crown” and Caroline Cash’s black and white comic, “Calling”, about simulating hangouts with friends on Zoom. Our essays have touched on love and loss, as in Zea Asis’s heartfelt “Memories Of My Father” and Maeve Brammer’s “A Sudden Ending”, about the writer’s last few days in college. We have shared several playlists, many film recommendations and a list of reading suggestions, as well as “Feline Fundamentals: A Guide To Cats In Quarantine” by Frasie Molina. This shift has certainly not just been felt by humans, but pets and plants and the sky, too!


The two of us commission, edit and curate all of the content on Nearness, and our site functions entirely as a non-profit. Our GoFundMe campaign is still live, and each and every donation goes directly into paying our many talented contributors. We’d love for you to check it out if you haven’t already. In the meantime, please keep sending your work our way, whether that’s poetry, essays, illustrations, photographs, comics, playlists, collage kits, DIY guides and more. Thank you so much for being here with us!

Much love,

Alia & Anna