Tea Lane Associates is proud to sponsor this Community Arts Project - the "Covid Monologues MV: Readings to Nourish, Inspire & Connect" book to be launched this December.
Dozens of collaborators, from the Martha’s Vineyard community, including one of our own Tea Lane brokers, took pen to paper to write about the pandemic in a year and a half-long project that was the brainchild of two island residents during the initial lock down.
The writings have have now been turned into a book “Covid Monologues MV: Readings to Nourish, Inspire & Connect.”
Readers can explore multitude of perspectives as writers share how they experienced the pandemic; monologues range from humorous to poignant to provocative. Editors Jennifer L. Knight and Moira Convey Silva hope the publication will help Islanders continue to cope with and better understand the challenges of Covid while leaving a testament for future generations.
Signed copies will be available to purchase on island in the new year, however, in the meantime the book can be purchased on amazon.com in time for the holidays. The official launch party is to be held in January - date to be determined.
Read below - from the editors...
Longtime friends, separated by the lockdown, Jennifer and Moira reconnected at Lamberts Cove Beach during the summer of 2020. While watching our boys—each of us has two—skim board in the “Coca Cola Brook,” we shared our thoughts about pandemic schooling options. Surprisingly, talk of Covid Monologues never arose, though, the concept had been percolating in both our minds since the onset of the pandemic.
For months, Jennifer, an avid actress and vice president of Island Theater Workshop, had been craving creative community. During her own daily swims at Eastville Beach, she had been envisioning a theatrical production of monologues. Her vision included a wide range of voices. As August hit, she became increasingly aware that creativity is what sustains our souls—especially in troubling times. Each morning as she swam, she wrestled with logistics and philosophy (creative compensation vs. budgetary constraints). The theatrical project stalled as the upcoming school year took priority.
Since the very first week of shutdown in March 2020, Moira had been teaching Zoom writing courses, feeling deeply moved by how her writers helped each other cope with “quarantine life.” Along with her writers, she penned and published Covid-related essays, relishing the relief she felt from the act of ordering thoughts on paper. As her writers responded to prompts like “Distance” and “How to Survive a Pandemic,” the myriad of ways that they shared their personal experiences told Silva that their reflections would have universal appeal— well beyond their small groups.
One rainy, mid-October day, when our newly homeschooled boys were making Halloween costumes in Moira’s frigid open air-garage, Jennifer mentioned her Covid Monologues concept. Even though the idea was fascinating, the chaos of four children working with scissors, glitter and glue took over. Later that night, Moira reached out to Jennifer to suggest they might have some synergy. The project quickly blossomed.
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum agreed to host the live, kick-off event on November 14, 2020. Kevin Ryan, president and artistic director of Island Theatre Workshop, offered a dramatic reading workshop for monologue participants. A domain was secured and Facebook page created. Artist Fae Kontje-Gibbs donated images for publicity. Jeremy Berlin volunteered to play piano at the kick-off reading. A grant was proposed to the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council.
Our collaboration has felt seamless, with each of us bringing our own strengths. This community arts project, which now belongs to everyone, expanded from our individual visions to include live readings, virtual readings, dramatic workshops, a student-centered monologue experience and now a published collection of monologues.
We are proud to have compiled Covid Monologues MV: Readings to Inspire, Nourish & Connect—a heartfelt, historical record of how our Island community has experienced these unprecedented times.
While our aim was to have our project represent the diversity of our Island population, in truth, we have fallen short of that goal. Despite our outreach to a wide variety of people, there are still many Island voices that you will not hear in this collection. It takes time and energy to compose a monologue, and many found themselves without either as they took on added responsibilities of teaching online or working while supervising children or laboring to keep supplies on our grocery store shelves or struggling to keep food on the table. Still others found themselves ostracized for questions they had about Covid mainstream messaging, fearful for their livelihoods if they were to speak their concerns.
We believe Covid Monologues MV has offered the Martha’s Vineyard Community a chance to openly share our stories. Writers and attendees have commented that it has helped them find humor in the absurd, comfort in the distance, strength in the struggle. It has been an opportunity to be there for and with each other. It is our hope that you will find connection, nourishment and inspiration while reading this collection. Perhaps another’s story will reflect your own experience, or you will be comforted by a shared feeling that resonates with your own.
Through their stories, poems, and essays, our authors have invited you, the reader, into their lives. We hope that you will be nourished by the care and vulnerability with which they share their stories. May you be inspired to step into the shoes of another whose perspective may differ from yours, finding deeper understanding and appreciation for our shared humanity.
With Love and Gratitude,
Jennifer & Moira