My self-inflicted haircut is crooked. Who cares? I’m invisible while we hunker down “safer at home.”
That’s apart from several video conferences a week, which take me into homes of people I’d normally see only in public, and brings them into mine. Social distancing blurs boundaries to create a kind of intimacy. Who guessed we'd ever watch members of the Paris Ballet dance in their kitchens with toddlers and pets?
Visibility, invisibility, a blessing and a curse. I hate being invisible when a meeting chair ignores my raised hand. I love invisibility in a pre-pandemic crowd where no one notices or cares how I look.
Writers choose how visible to be to their readers. I hope someday to read coronavirus memoirs where the author shines through on every page, alongside histories and analyses where the author disappears. Unless those lines, too, begin to blur.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.