Home Lifestyle Spend Some Time With Your Pandemic Logbooks

Spend Some Time With Your Pandemic Logbooks


Took Mom for a foliage ride without masks.

Picked up medical supplies for an off-site flu clinic at a retirement community. Very dark, wrong turn, lost and late.

Ate mixed nuts from a white Russel Wright bowl while a neighbor played piano and the dog sang along.

A few weeks ago, thinking about how we’ll talk about this period of our lives many years from now, I suggested that we’ll remember the broad contours of the months, a top-level narration of “how things were,” but we’re likely to lose the small details that make up our days: what we wore, whom we spoke to, what we had for lunch.

We won’t remember the details that texture our hours, the minutiae that capture, in its utter mundanity, what it was like to be alive in this hour, in this life, this home, this body in 2020.

I suggested writing down the facts of your day as a way to remember so when they’re revisited some day in the future, they will offer a close-up picture of your life, unpolished, without editorializing. A low-effort logbook to serve as a detailed record of an extraordinary time.

Many of you sent us your logbook entries, which, taken individually, were perfect specimens of one person’s fleeting experience, quick peeks into a life. When read together, these ordinary moments (“I ate cereal for lunch and only walked about 1,000 feet all day,” “Bought a rake”), while unique to the lives from which they’re captured, share a common context. The pandemic and its effects, seen and unseen, are a filament woven through each of our lives and each of the entries we received. That commonality of setting is rare. We don’t always see so clearly the ways in which we’re connected.

We wanted to give you the experience of flipping through the logbooks of At Home readers, so we gathered a bunch for you to peruse. When I read the entries together, my perspective shifts. My aperture widens. I see more than the squares on my own calendar, the people in my own pod, the pigeons on my sill. I’m connected, for a minute, to you and your new haircut. Your uncle’s funeral. Your yard full of pine needles. Enjoy these excerpts from your pandemic logbooks, and let us know what you think.

  • The German artist Albrecht Dürer was fascinated by one subject above all: himself. Take a close look at one of the earliest self-portraits in Western painting, Dürer’s painting of himself at 28. “Here begins a Renaissance conception of the self that has become so commonplace we don’t even notice it: the self as a subjective individual, the author of one’s own life story,” the critic Jason Farago writes.

  • Join former U.S. Secretary of State (and lifelong theater lover) Hillary Clinton as she reflects on theater’s meaning, its absence, and its future, in a conversation with the theater reporter Michael Paulson on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. Eastern.

  • The filmmaker Christopher Nolan is known for playing with narrative structure, military-grade action set pieces and demanding production schedules on films like “Memento,” “Inception” and his latest, “Tenet.” We spoke with Mr. Nolan’s collaborators, past and present, about what it takes to make his visions a reality.

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