Of the many casualties of this pandemic, large and small, one I grieve personally is the writing program in the University of Wisconsin’s Division of Continuing Studies. Its workshops, classes, spring Writers’ Institute, and week-long Write-by-the-Lake retreat have taught me so much in recent years and introduced me to so many amazing people. Now the program’s big events are discontinued, online services are winding down, and the last of the staff will leave by the end of June.
To grieve is not simply a stronger form of to miss. I miss family members I don’t live with, Door County vacations, eating out. They’ll be back. I grieve the deaths, the abandoned dreams, particular shops and restaurants closed forever. I miss informal interactions over lunch or breaks when a conference has to go online. I grieve how, when budgets get tight, the arts are the first to go.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.