Start drawing again. Revisit childhood. Caress every pencil line. Marvel at the worlds birthed by blotted watercolors. Consider each attempt a masterpiece of your imagination. Create for no one but yourself.
Brush the dust off old covers. Indulgent spoils from bookstores and libraries past. Become a warrior, cloistered princess, earthbender, or a runaway. Migrate from life to life: Even while still, you are a nomad.
Make coffee. Cherish each course crystal, and brew it using the old ways. Hot water and patience. You have the time now. Become accustomed to new tastes. Fantasize about roast chicken while savoring strips of boiled yam. You discover they are, in fact, one and the same.
And every once in a while, go outside. You’re not trapped in the belly of a whale, after all; you still have the luxury of land and sky. Breathe in spring’s fresh must, and revel in sunlight when it sounds. Wave to neighbors from a distance, and smile at passing strangers.
In this new disaster world, old courtesies don’t yet have to die.
— Inspired by Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale by Dan Albergotti