The independent online literature magazine Statorec inaugurated its Corona Issue on April 16 with an essay by the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Andrea Scrima, titled Corona Report. Returning from Italy at the end of February 2020, just as the first lockdowns went into place, she reflects on the beginnings of the pandemic and on the Bergamo/Valencia soccer game in Milan, the biological bomb that led to the virus’s rapid spread throughout northern Italy. The hallucinatory prose in William Cody Maher’s Double Feature, published one week later, gropes its way through a labyrinth of internalized fear as human encounters are measured in terms of physical distance. In late April, Statorec editor David Dario Winner’s Daisy Assassin followed, which exposes the uncomfortable barriers of ethnicity, civic cooperation, and racism as experienced by someone going out for what is no longer an ordinary run. In Windows, Beverly Gologorsky’s quiet meditations probe the geography of pandemic isolation in old age, while in Excerpts from Another Love Discourse, taken from a novel-in-progress, Edie Meidav weaves the virus’s sudden appearance into a larger narrative of love and loss. German jazz pianist Christian von der Goltz’s Halted Time listens to what’s behind the eerie silence of the virus’s global spread; Matthew Vollmer captures some of the more absurd aspects of lockdown in his kaledioscopic Quarantine Diary; and Aimee Parkison’s dreamlike riff Masks and Guns captures America in all its absurdity in a cops and robbers game gone horribly wrong. In Corona Diary, former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Joan Juliet Buck masterfully assesses the wear and tear on the psyche as we attempt to feel our way through this strange time.
What motivates us at Statorec is a concern that, faced with things potentially far worse to come, we will forget the current time and the feeling that there was nonetheless a fragile chance to be seized, if only we could sustain our attention and belief long enough to act on it. True to its mission, Statorec (“Statement of Record”) is motivated by the urge to record a variety of voices going through the same experience, but in very different ways—before the drive to return to normality becomes so strong that the time of lockdown, of charts and graphs and epidemiological factoids, will eventually seem like a bizarre dream. It’s this we find ourselves thinking about the most: how our reality shifts with each new outrage, and how little we understand about the way these events are changing us in the long term as we undergo a kind of grinding down of reality in the process of adapting to unheard-of change.
As of late May 2020, we are mid-issue (in blog format), with eight or more pieces in the pipeline. Authors to come: Cliff Thompson, Cheryl Sucher, Barbara Fischkin, Scott Martingell, Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, Alice Stephens, Rebecca Chace, and Alexander Graeff, among others, with essays on the othering of the virus; on the difference in economic impact and lethality between whites and people of color; on the plight of parents prevented from working and attempting to home school; on autistic people in assisted living who have suddenly lost all contact to the outside world; and on anti-Asian sentiment and ethnic persecution as compared to Japanese internment camps during World War II.