Representations of Home Creative Journal

ROAM - Winter/Spring 2022 - ROAM 2


Emotions and the Pandemic 

Spring brings hope. It is when we witness the rebirth of nature, the cycles of life and welcome the return of longer, brighter days. Spring 2022 also brings us the second issue of ROAM which focuses on how the pandemic was experienced through the emotional perspective. As we rejoice in the wonders of the season, the pandemic feels more distant, and we can again take deeper breaths, hug, or hold hands, see one another smile and have a conversation without a mask. Life feels lighter at this stage of the pandemic, even though the virus is still here. And the past two years have taught us and continue to teach us much about ourselves and our communities, about love, loss and caring. Introducing the comics anthology Covid Chronicles, Kendra Boileau has written how the invisible microbes of COVID 19 and its variants have created “systemic upheaval, the greatest medical, economic, political and social trial many of us have had to face in our lifetime.” (1)

Creative expression helps us through these times of crisis. It is a channel for our thoughts and feelings; a way of speaking, sometimes shouting, sometimes lamenting, sometimes glorifying emotions: the fear, the love, the anger, or the longing we feel, through words and images. The pandemic has already yielded a rich and varied imaginary harvest worldwide. And this second issue of ROAM is just one among many different global cultural responses to the pandemic. 

In ROAM 2 Emotions and the Pandemic, we wanted to explore in greater depth the affective dimensions of the pandemic, how we adapt to a deeply altered world, how we survive emotionally, how we learn about and strengthen our sense of community both at home and more widely, whether in the natural world or across more extensive spheres, as we confront change. In this we were guided by philosopher Axel Honneth’s work on the “relational turn” (1995) in social and political theory, the need for affective ties, how individual experience can be meaningful only in the context of other individuals. The eco-philosopher Donna Haraway has also written about of the need for a new human worlding with animals, geographies, temporalities, of “learning to live and die well with each other in a thick present” taking on “repons-ability for a damaged earth” (2016). As in Boccaccio’s Decameron (1351) the pandemic that affects us all can be turned around creatively to offer rich opportunities for storytelling.  

Based in Portugal but with contributors from all over the world, ROAM 2 assembles English language texts and graphics (signs beyond language) from a diverse field, from Slovenia to Canada, from Australia to Italy, from Goa to Portugal. As suggested by its title Sarah Day’s poem “Transhumance” evokes a seemingly noiseless, slow but indubtible shift into a changed world. Similarly, Carlotta Micale’s poem “Chronicles of a search for the eternal” presents a defiant incantation of what is now missing but also a resignation to “resignation.” Alternatively, Diana Almeida’s poem “If everything else fails” offers a whimsical if chilling musing on other parallel emergencies, the perils of air travel and is followed by the serenity of her "Sunset Dragon". In the poem “Crow Plague Doctor” we encounter Crystal Hurdle’s clever avine metaphor for the predatory medieval plague medic “cawing an unintelligible language.”  The animal, that source of unfailing comfort during pandemia, also comes to life in Kaja Rakušček’s poem “Felix Catus”connecting a childhood memory of a pacing caged feline at the zoo with the subject’s more recent experience of lockdown — “walking in identical circles.” The sociological condition is also addressed. In Margarida Vale de Gato’s prose piece “The Virtual Class” the subject considers the contrast between social distancing and the parallel frenzy of the social media, the pressures of teaching online, but also, behind this virtual life, the sociological divide, the reality of increasing homelessness. Another account of online work, Jane Arsenault’s prose piece “Take My Kids” reflects positives emerging from the COVID crisis, a breaking out of personal isolation through acts of solidarity in teaching children in the broader community. Simone Lazaroo's light but biting prose dialogues in “First Wave” hold a comic mirror to the remote West Australian community of Fremantle confronted by the new fear of the virus, showing how suspicion, denigration and xenophobia lurk not far below the surface of even our most privileged societies. The issue would not be complete without Goan artist Savia Viega’s beautiful and meaningful artwork “Covid Album” with all its symbolism of isolation and enclosure that we invite you to dwell on and appreciate. 

As another crisis of a different nature and scale now invades our thoughts and feelings and awakens our emotional response, the pandemic seems a spectral precursor. Once again, may we turn to stories and images to discover a shared ground, and connect us equally as human beings in a world experiencing deeply testing times. 

We are grateful to all the contributors, and we hope our readers enjoy the rewarding cultural encounter and emotional responses to the pandemic in this new issue of ROAM. We look forward to more of the creative energy that keeps this project alive as we map together the challenges and explore new dimensions of home and hospitality in a changing world.

[1] Introduction to Covid Chronicles: A Comics Anthology, ed. Kendra Boileau and Rich Johnson, Penn State University, October 2020.


Jean Page and Margarida Martins

Winter/Spring 2021/2022



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