This Time in Place

When I was young, I had a fantasy of being locked inside a bookstore overnight. My wildest dream, apparently, was to curl up for an extra 12 hours (which I tended to do in my bedroom anyway) and absorb as many words as I could. Despite the fantasy of being surrounded by books, no doubt my reading of choice would have consisted of Madeleine L’Engle and “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, which I tended to read again and again. Cocooning, for me, meant escaping into new worlds.

Decades later, when I was a solo mom, home on maternity leave, the months of beautiful sleepy days with my daughter eventually gave way to strong feelings of isolation. By the time winter months rolled around, I had begun to feel trapped indoors. My identity felt limited largely to diaper changes and breastfeeding. Who was I, without my fast-paced job at a New York City magazine company? 

I suspect many of us today who are required, and privileged, to stay indoors are beginning to feel suspended somewhere between relishing home life and being bewildered by it. 

Some of us have filled out a flurry of paperwork for unemployment or small business loans and now worry as we wait to see what our financial picture will look like. Others are figuring out the structure of home office life and Zoom calls, working additional hours as we check in with clients and coworkers for conversations that linger longer than usual. Still others struggle to create new routines of safe socialization, shopping, and stretching.

Minnesota Women’s Press enters its 36th year this month. Our usual anniversary lunch in mid-April with long-time supporter Margaret Shryer and her lasagna, salad, and almond cake will be curtailed for the first time in decades. In its virtual place, we are heeding the insights of three pioneering owners of this publication about how they weathered financial downturns.

Every day, the sales & development teammates are reaching out to hundreds of our small business clients — some of them supporters of this publication for decades — to talk with them about how they are doing.

Our job is to offer inspiration, action steps, and strong storytelling to readers. We are stepping up that mission in new ways over the coming weeks, as we create additional digital content, thanks to small business sponsors. We are calling these storytelling compilations Quaranzines, to reflect the unique space and time we are all in together. View the complete downloadable version here.

Upcoming topics:

  • The Ecosystem (mid-April) — an homage to Earth Day, when we explore the viral nature of our interconnectedness as humans and habitats
  • Transformation (late-April) — individual and collective visions of rebirth; how will we use this metamorphic time in our cocoon to transform into a society more inclined to heed the pulse of community and connection?

Please share these stories with others who might value the diversion, and our work in tandem with advocates, small business owners, writers, and women of passion. 

Be engaged, be safe.

— Mikki, Sarah, Shelle, Fariba, Ryan, Ashlee, Lydia, Ashley, Quinn, Kelly, Selena