Old, but still worthy: A letter from Quarantine

Friends, I wrote the following while I was teaching narrative writing to one of my advanced English students. I recently discovered it still lurking on my computer and thought I might share.

Before you read it, please know it was a writing exercise from September and not a reflection of my current state of mind. Think of it as a work of fiction, if you must, although I suspect the feelings contained may resonate with some of you.

September 2020

To my friends on the Outside:

Sometimes life hands you a bowl of cherries and sometimes a red hot load of shit. Which has it been for you lately? For me, well,…

After almost five months locked away in solitary confinement, these hard stone walls have become more than just a prison. They have started closing in on me like the trash compactors in Star Wars. Trapped, just like Princess Leia, Luke and Han, awaiting imminent death. At least until R2 and C3PO find the “off” switch.

It might not feel quite so bad if Lyn and I were more Howard Hughes/Catherine Hepburn, but we’re not. The sweet torture of being locked away with someone you love is a romantic notion that doesn’t stand up to reality. Torture it is, the rack stretching every last shred of patience and tolerance left within. A bed of nails to lay your weary body on. 

Five months now. Five. Months. No damn “off” switch in sight. No R2 to save the day. Just me and Lyn, sidestepping each other around the piles that life has offered to us. And yet it isn’t just us. It’s everyone, everywhere. A story Margaret Atwood might have written had it not happened for real first. 

I’m tired. Out of shape, exhausted from the effort to do nothing for Five. Freaking. Months.


If there is a lesson here somewhere, I have yet to find it. Curious what life is like for you. Drop a note and let me know.

Best wishes from Queretaro Jail!


Published by donnageisler

Former marketing professional turned teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Living in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Lover of poodles, large and small.

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