In times like these, we all need something beautiful, something that blooms – and something that makes us or the world a little bit better.
If you are out of school or out of a job because of coronavirus, it’s time to get past the basics of hand washing and social distancing. It’s time to grow. In times like these, we need to create something that will last or give joy – and learn something new.
“I try to take every conflict, every experience and learn from it. Life is never dull,” said Oprah Winfrey, the entrepreneur and media mogul. “I consider the world, this Earth, to be like a school, and our life the classrooms.”
So today, start learning and growing and making beauty in one or two of these ways:
Start a garden. Sow seeds to grow beans, kale and peppers, though you will need to start them indoors until the last frost sometime in April. “Such a hopeful and revolutionary act…to grow food,” wrote my friend Kelli Carpenter-Crawford. Need help with this? Check in with Keep Growing Detroit or ask a neighbor who is an experienced gardener for some advice.
Write poetry or create a journal. Document these unusual days, suggested artist Rose Lewandowski, using photos, sketches, snippets of overheard comments and more. Or play with words and write a poem, suggested Nick Rowley, who offers this online guide to the wide variety of poems. If you’ve never written a poem before, read some poetry first or check out the tips from the Young Poets Network.
Volunteer. Choose a safe way to give back in your community. Search VolunteerMatch or the United Way of Southeast Michigan for opportunities. (Check for minimum age requirements on some volunteer roles.) Or look for virtual volunteer opportunities on social media or through friends. Create a half dozen handmade cards that are encouraging and upbeat; then mail them to a nearby senior citizens home. “Those that know shut-ins/ people quarantined call them up and tell or read stories over the phone. Also they could sent videos they’ve created to shut-ins,” suggests my friend Kim Kensler, a travel agent and active volunteer. If you want to volunteer with Mint Artists Guild – help us with a fundraiser or other cool, creative projects – please drop us a line and tell us about yourself.
Research your family history. Start by interviewing your mom or dad or Aunt Helen and record the interview. Then review resources compiled for young people by the New England Historic Geneological Society. Or create a digital family tree and use other apps recommended by Scholastic.
Make a movie. Create “a short films. Doc, zombie apocalypse, public art video, nature video, whatever,” said Pam Murray. The world put so much on hold now, creating room for storytelling or short videos that are humorous, helpful or encouraging. Mint may share some prompts on this and other creative projects fairly soon.
Make some joy. Create a self portrait as if you were your most dreamed-about zoo animal, or a favorite fruit. “Empty a closet and make up silly stories about the contents. Turn the contents into actors in the story,” writes artist Dolores Slowinski. Make seven paper crowns, wrap each one carefully in a bag with a note declaring the finder a king or queen for a day. Then leave them on benches, tables or other public places. Or bake cookies and eat half and donate half. (Leave a plate for your mail carrier or the package delivery person; take some to a local supermarket for the staff who are working hard – or contact us at Mint!)
Check out our first post for more ideas and share this with a friend who is bored or worried all the time. Then share your best and most creative activities for these trying times in a comment and we may use them in our third post!