For generations, dreams have been a limitless source of fascination for humankind. They invite us into a bizarre alternate reality where nothing is as it seems. But what happens to our dreams when our waking life is upturned?
Within a week, writer Gabriel Flynn went from intellectually feasting on a scholarship at Harvard to delivering takeaways during lockdown in Manchester. Thankfully, he had the escapism of Gustave Flaubert’s classic 1856 novel Madame Bovary on-hand, which drew surprising comparisons to our present predicament.
Alexis Self just turned 30 – an event he was hoping would go unnoticed. Unfortunately for Alexis - though rather fortunately for us - he is also a writer and therefore couldn't resist the urge to pen his thoughts. Here are his musings on celebrating three decades of life and labour during lockdown.
The latest in this series, which sees us travelling the world on street view, is a trip to Mexico. More specifically, Las Palmitas, an impoverished neighbourhood, which has been transformed into Mexico’s largest mural.
The latest in this series, which sees us travelling the world on Street View, is a journey to one of the most isolated places in the world. Retracing the steps of early Antarctic explorers, we explore what their stories can teach us about so-called ‘third quarter syndrome.’
Incredible feats of bravery and demonstrations of leadership whilst serving his country earned Austin Dougall Clapham a strongbox filled with accolades and an exemplary legacy we should be inspired by.
In the third chapter of Grand Tales, Cristina Macia Briedis recounts her grandmother Astrid's life: escaping the Soviet army on foot from Latvia to Spain and on her pertinent advice, 'be the first ray of sunshine'.
The second instalment of our Grand Tales series features Disposable Cam's Glaswegian grandad, known during his career as The Poor Man's Doctor. Admirable in his dedication to craft but also a 'cold, remote' father, David Livingstone Charters MBE was 'eminent in his field, and praised by contemporaries, yet he now lurks in the family’s past like a shadow.'
Oliver Shamlou hopes that when Lockdown ends, he can reemerge as a more communitarian, less solipsistic person. Until then, participation in his household's Bondathon (Bond films 1-24 one day at a time) might enable him to work out how.
In a brand new series, our writers recount the lives of those whose journeys bought us the freedom and life we now enjoy: our grandparents. Here Nicole Zisman charts her Bisabuela's (great-grandmother's) life from fleeing antisemitic oppression in Romania to an industriously happy life in Caracas, Venezuela.
In the third and final installment of his lockdown diary, Alexis Self returns to Blighty, able to discern the different rhythms of lockdown life between London and Naples. Above all, he hopes never to take the UK capital for granted again.
When Katie Dancey-Downs passes her bookshelf, it's like passing photographs on the wall - the stories that unravelled, where we were when we read them, and what parts of the story connected with our own lives. Here are her strongest memories.
In the face of an invisible enemy and imprecisely paternalistic government, all we have is our decisions and, with luck, each other. The most important of those choices is whether or not we choose to love each other.
Charlie Mitchell might have reached breaking point over there in Ottawa as he longs for the catering enjoyed by bed-bound sanatorium patients in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. At the very least, they seemed to enjoy the fare far greater than his girlfriend's family received his banana bread.
Alexis Self, marooned in Naples and at the mercy of his own Italophilia, experienced lockdown two weeks longer than his compatriots in Britain. Weighing up whether the outbreak could in one country, Alexis resolved to be there to bear witness.
This lockdown account, from 3333 miles away, landed in whynow's inbox. It's from Charlie Mitchell, whose formerly hermetic lifestyle in Canada has been altered marginally. That being said, his ruminations almost reach eyebrow-raising levels.
It might prove quite hard to actually love lockdown, but there are many ways in which we might find it an agreeable use of our time. Percy Preston recommends reading Hemingway and learning from the lyrics of John Cale and Brian Eno.
'We soon learnt that the offy was an essential business and will remain open, and soon enough ordering in beers became our essential business.' Billy Holmes, responsibly practicing social distancing in South West London, discovers he has a newfound respect for his 1,600 neighbours in nearby HM Prison Wandsworth.
Suddenly, everyone has a lot of time on their hands. Our writers explain how they are making the most of a prolonged period of introspection. In the age of isolation, TV, film, literature and music make up the levees that keep boredom at bay.