Opinion | In a Pandemic, Finding Comfort in the Arts

To the Editor:

Re “For Drama Fans, Lockdowns Stir D.I.Y. Creativity” (Arts & Leisure, April 18):

I loved reading about the many play readings that have taken place this last year. During the darkest days of the pandemic, Zoom readings of plays kept me (in Brooklyn) and my extended family in San Francisco and other parts of the country sane and connected. We started with Agatha Christie, thinking that my teenage nieces might participate, but they snubbed us, and the grown-ups went all in.

To say that we camped it up is an understatement. My brother’s partner accused us of picking plays just so we could flaunt our absurdly embellished British accents. (He wasn’t wrong.) We eventually moved on to Chekhov, Tennessee Williams, Oscar Wilde and many more.

The hilarity and joy of spending time together with nary a word about the fear and dread we were all gutted by was a gift beyond measure and a highlight of the week.

Here’s to the arts, lifting our spirits like nothing else can.

Joan Grossman
Brooklyn

To the Editor:

Re “Why My Family Is Watching ‘Gilmore Girls,’” by Sarah Wildman (Sunday Review, April 18):

The comfort that Ms. Wildman’s family has found in watching this show in trying times is something that hit all too close to home for me. I am a college student tackling this pandemic minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day, as many others have been as well. This past year has been nothing short of exhausting, especially for those like me dealing with a chronic illness and spending time in their own sort of isolated sick room.

We long for community and hope as we tread through these trying times, and as a terrified freshman in a new place, I, too, turned to my longtime comfort show “Gilmore Girls” for that sense of community and friendship that one can feel through fictional characters. The trials that the audience experiences with the characters somehow make us forget our own for just a moment, as we watch Lorelai and Rory hope for a better future, accept their past and take their present minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day.

Rebecah Barnett
Tallahassee, Fla.

To the Editor:

Re “Read the Doctor’s Advice, Chapter and Verse,” by Jane E. Brody (Personal Health column, April 13):

In two months my only child, my joyous son, will be gone seven years. He took his life one month before his 45th birthday. Closure is not in my vocabulary. The devastation is less only in relation to the rawness of the initial shock.

For a long time afterward I thought of ending my own life, but I am still here. Two and a half weeks after my son’s death, I found myself writing three short poems at once, and have written since to this day. I did not intend then or now to write poems. They just came out. A necessity. What I see out of a need to keep my son close.

Susan Grosse
Brooklyn

To the Editor:

I agree with Jane E. Brody that poetry can be a great healing activity during times of great stress. I often recite Wordsworth before I fall asleep to counteract the ugliness of the news.

I don’t do much modern poetry, because the loss of rhyme and rhythm in so much current poetry robs it of music, the element that makes poetry memorable and pleasurable to recite. Often I just write my own. Writing late at night, with the world gone dark, is another way poetry can be healing.

Dorothy Weil
Cincinnati

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