A Rather Haunted Life We’re living in unprecedented times.

Welcome to the Week 14 discussion board! This week I’d like you to focus on practicing the skills you’ve been working on all semester long. Please choose one of the writing prompts below and post your creative writing piece to the discussion board. You should title your piece and tell us which option you chose. Have fun and be creative! 1. “It’s incredibly useful both for us personally and on a historical level to keep a daily record of what goes on around us during difficult times.” -Ruth Franklin, author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life We’re living in unprecedented times. Not too long ago terms like “social distancing,” “shelter in place,” and “quarantine” were unfamiliar or rarely used. We are all witnesses to a rare event in history. For this option, I’d like you to write a letter to a future generation describing your pandemic experience. Details count, like the need to wear masks, the closure of parks and schools in the spring, and the increase of outdoor dining. What has your experience been like during the pandemic? What has a typical day consisted of? How has the pandemic impacted your loved ones? What are your fears and hopes for the future? What was the highlight of your day today? What do you miss most about your pre-pandemic life? What would you like a future generation to know about this moment in history? These questions are intended as a jumping-off point to help generate ideas. You do not need to answer all of them. Your 250+ word letter should begin with the salutation “Dear Future Generation” and should be written from the first-person point of view. You should also sign the letter at the end. You should read the articles “What Historians Will See When They Look Back on the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020” (Links to an external site.) by Audra D.S. Burch and “Write It Down. Keep a Pandemic Journal” (Links to an external site.) by Ari L. Goldman. 2. After the death of a close relative, Itaru Sasaki installed a phone booth in his backyard garden in the coastal town of Otsuchi, a glass enclosure where he could speak into a disconnected rotary phone as a way of processing his grief. After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Sasaki opened his kaze no denwa, roughly translated into “wind phone,” (Links to an external site.) to other community members mourning loved ones. Write a 250+ word personal essay or 20+ line poem in the form of a letter or communication to someone no longer in your life. What would you choose to share about your own life and current updates? What feelings, emotions, or sentiments would you want to reiterate to the other person, whether for the hundredth time or for the first time? 3. What would motivate you to walk thousands of miles? In 2019, researchers released data that tracked an arctic fox that had made a trek of over two thousand miles across the frozen Arctic Ocean from Norway to Canada over the course of seventy-six days (Links to an external site.), most likely prompted by a search for food or a new habitat. Write a 250+ word personal essay or 20+ line poem about a time that you traveled a long way—traversing a great physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual distance—to achieve something that was of utmost importance to you. What motivated you along the way? How did the trials of the journey compare with the end result? If you’re in the middle of a journey, tell us about that! 4. On the TV show Parts Unknown, the late chef and writer Anthony Bourdain (Links to an external site.) traveled the world and sampled cuisines from a variety of cultures. Although the show employed food as its central component, Bourdain was more interested in exploring the customs and histories of the countries he visited and got an outsider’s glimpse of the particular magic that makes each place uniquely itself. Write a 250+ word personal essay or 20+ line poem based on an experience when you left your comfort zone for a place, community, or situation that felt different from your own. Your experience could involve travel, as Bourdain’s did, but travel is not required; the unknown often exists in your own backyard. 5. “Let Nature be your teacher,” wrote William Wordsworth in his poem “The Tables Turned.” (Links to an external site.) Closely observe the environment and jot down your observations. For example, if you were observing your environment during the spring, you might notice later sunsets, lighter clothing, the pastel colors of budding leaves and flowers, the buzzing and chirping of insects and birds. Write a 250+ word personal essay or 20+ word poem that explores your relationship with nature, whether that involves being out in the woods or desert, or interactions with urban wildlife and navigating public transportation in extreme weather conditions. Reflect upon the ways in which the natural world introduces itself into your everyday life and how it affects your moods and emotions. How does the changing light and weather influence your daily rhythms? Are you uplifted and energized by a sense of renewal, or exasperated by pollen and allergies? What has nature taught you about yourself?