Beginning in July, 2020, coping with lock-down.

Someday it will be difficult to remember all the nuances of 2020 separately - the staggering loss of life, the fear and anxiety, and the strangeness of the lock-down.

If you had asked us in March, when New Jersey entered full lock-down, where we thought we'd be in July, most of us would have said something like "back to normal, hopefully." But, here we are in September and that is still a hope rather than a reality.

My friends and I were in the midst of in-person art classes in March. There are several local venues, and people come from all directions, some as far as 40 or 50 miles, to attend these classes. Suddenly, we had to switch to "virtual." That's a new word, along with "Covid" and "Zoom" and several others. The best thing about going virtual was that distance from New Jersey stopped making so much difference.

By July, people were getting really concerned about each other - some folks were afraid of Zoom, unsure about their welcome when existing groups felt so closed, and just generally fearful. Many people have been working to address this, specifically in this case, the Church of the Holy Spirit, in Lebanon, NJ. I was asked to head up one of the new virtual groups and since I have good experience with teaching beginning drawing and years of experience with virtual meetings, it was just so easy to say "yes!"

I'm so glad I did! This has been 6 weeks of great fun. The people joining the class have been so forgiving of my clumsy attempts to set up cameras and talk about drawing and my occasional Internet freezes when Zoom just locks up. We were planning on a 5 to 6 week course, but we've just decided to keep going indefinitely. Yay!

We hope you will join us, we are not scary. There are brand new beginners in every meeting. Nobody will ever, ever wonder why you're here or question your belonging with us. My own objective is just to share the joy of being together. One friend said to me recently, "What if I just can't do it, won't I feel stupid?" NO, you won't, because this is for fun and only for fun. If you are enjoying being with us, then please be with us. Bring some colored pencils and a coloring book, nobody's going to care. Listen in while you knit, it's fine. Eventually, you'll pick up a pencil and try it, but we don't need to know about that unless you want to talk about it!

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