Feelings of being claustrophobic, shut in, or cooped up, during lockdown, are bound to fray even the most even of tempers. Strains on people’s mental and physical health become evident, as we long for “everything to be back to normal” (though just what is “normal” now?) But there are the positives. Renowned Irish author, Colm Toibin, recently noted in a Weekend Australian magazine article, that he’s been writing poems (though he concedes that “the one thing nobody needs now is another Irish poet”). He’s also been writing another book and playing more tennis, and reports “my boyfriend and I didn’t split up” – “I believe if you didn’t split up during the pandemic it’s like an eternal nod. It means you’re blessed”. Canberra’s recent good news is an increase from one to two hours daily when people are permitted to exercise in public spaces. And what better place to walk or jog than the tracks described in Canberra’s Best Bush, Park & City Walks. Writing wise, travel journalist, Susan Kurosawa in Weekend Australian (Review) suggests keeping a journal of daily events during lockdown, recommending Adventures Through Covid by international tourism industry executive, Parris Fotias. Based in Sydney with his wife and daughter, Parris has documented his transition from regular travel to the Asia-Pacific region, to life at home where, as Kurosawa says, he is “pondering the minutiae of domesticity, watching too much TV, obsessing over his beloved Manchester United, trying to avoid ‘lockdown fads’…[and]…attaining black belt status as a Zoom meetings master”. The Canberra Times journalist, Karen Hardy, suggests that Hugh Mackay’s, Kindness Revolution: how we can restore hope, rebuild trust and inspire optimism “has never been more timely. Reflecting on the challenges we faced during a year of upheaval, Mackay looks at all the question we’re all asking ourselves about what really matters now”.
Geri Bryant-Badham is a Canberra-based freelance researcher and journalist.
Geri has substantial experience in advocacy, policy and organising and managing projects, including handling budgets and finances. She has worked in various offices for a small business, a university and in the parliamentary, political, government and non-government sectors.