Illness on this scale can threaten our families, our friends and ourselves, and for most people the immediate response is to retreat. As a community, we are scared. Vulnerability is magnified and our emotional senses are heightened.
We acknowledge this instinctual desire to protect and preserve the health of those around us and never want to coax people from comfort zones during such an unsettling period in history.
Instead, we do want to gently (and virtually) knock on your door, offer to put the kettle on, and ask how you’re doing…but really, how are you doing?
People all over the world are quickly learning that at this time nothing is certain, but there is one thing we know for sure. Those around us have needs and we want to meet them with curiosity, creativity and passion.
We understand the questions and the hesitations, and we invite them. This is a moment for change, a moment for sitting with the uncomfortable whatever form it may take. It is human instinct to be fearful of the unknown. So let’s get reacquainted…
A few questions that we have received.
My child is already getting so much screen time, why have you taken bookclubs online?
Instead of having to share your child with a screen, you can share the screen with your child. Our discussions nurture and encourage active engagement with the material — the computer is not an extra participant, but the vehicle for exciting literary conversations. We strongly believe in the power of a family that reads together and so all of our bookclubs are parent and child/youth. During Covid times we are not inviting parents inside the way we used to in an attempt to manage our circle. Taking the bookclubs to your home allows us to keep adults in bookclub. It is also a mask-free activity that does not require transportation. For our part it allows us more time to deep clean the building before our first class the following day.
With the rise in cases, I’m not sure how comfortable I feel sending my child to an ‘in person’ writers’ workshop or early childhood class.
All of our classes are now capped at 12 students, with each studio table playing host to a custom made plexiglass sneeze guard and sanitizer bottle. All students must have a temperature check at the entrance and wash their hands before entering. Even with this fancy new equipment and myriad cleaners, the Lyceum sentiment remains the same. Connection is the heart of what we do and to be trusted with students’ creativity has always been, and will always be, the greatest honour. It has been heartening to witness the excitement and the compliance as students reconnect with old Lyceum friends and make new ones.
We understand that feelings are in flux too, and if there’s a week that you’re just not feeling up to it, we would be happy to suggest a make up.
All of this is to say that it’s never been more important to support local. Whether it’s passing on our program information to a friend you know who’s looking, staying comfy and cosy with a Zoom bookclub, or regaining connection in a safe space with a writers’ workshop. Please never underestimate the part you play, or the significance of contribution (no matter how small).
We need you now more than ever.