Coping with Covid?: The Exit Plan

Part 1 of

A (hopefully short term) series on understanding the complexities of the “new normal” experience.

During a burnout prevention workshop, I  became curious about the concept of making an exit plan. 

What would my pandemic exit plan look like? 

I was so completely unsure I even googled “exit plan” images to see what they typically look like. 

How does one go about making an exit plan into the future with so much uncertainty? Nothing I saw on google captured the ever-changing and inconsistent of what I was/am currently dealing with.

I am going to share my process of how this unfinished exit plan came to be. Also included below is the poetic exploration of the piece, which is also evolving as things go.

It started with tissue paper by the roll. I stretched it along my studio floor to give myself the most room to draw the first set of black markings. I used a cute little black marker, I later noticed the marker has a smiley face printed on it. 

The studio was quiet while I made one continuous line, moving up and down the paper in a geometric fashion, making short turns up and down the paper, going back and forth, and so forth. I slowly moved the line down to the opposite edge of the paper.

Silent and alone with my marker I was careful not to tear or crinkle the fragile paper. Weights (unlit candles and paint containers) held the paper in place to stabilize the stretch of paper.

From there I began slicing up the paper into rectangles varying widths and lengths. Slowly cutting each piece slightly different from the rest. 

I began to glue the pieces to the canvas. I did not focus too much on securing each piece but focused on covering the canvas in its entirety. Pieces were glued up to and including the canvas edges. Each layer grayed the previous layers’ line. Additional black markings were added to a few layers, connecting the unconnected pieces.

As part of the creative process and final creation includes a poetic exploration. Collections of words and phases expand on the piece and the process of how it came to be. Also included is a wishful intention of the final living form of this creation, one day, when it’s all done, I will paint it gold.

A few things to note about the piece:

-Used recycled canvas (thanks Jenn!)

-Choose tissue/tracing paper, knowing I would need many layers to capture the full complexity of what I was imagining,

-Tissue paper is delicate, had to be mindful when cutting, gluing, drawing, and painting over. 

-Tissue paper is also transparent and would allow for some visibility of the layer underneath. Further confusing the eye into following the course of the mark maker. 

-Possible nod to the TP fiasco of the early pandemic daze.

It is done? No. I ran out of glue and am at a standstill. 

For now, it will remain the black, white, and grey mess of a flaky, “tearable”, plan.

Poetic Part

I have an exit plan in my hands but I cannot read it.
I cannot tell where to go next.
Drawn in large and sliced into smaller pieces.
There is no bright red exit sign hung in the hallway.
No EDR indication.
I have an exit plan made of many thin layers. Each superimposed and translucent.
Outlines bleeding through layers.
I made an exit plan without an exit.
My exit plan has no starting point or finish line.
An exit plan for something I’ve never navigated.
There was no drill in elementary school.
No waiting outside patiently with the other kids while we waited for the adults to let us back in.
This exit plan is hard to read.
My exit plan is never-ending.

My exit plan was made in the muck of it.
{From the inside, it’s hard to see out.}
The garden walls are high and hard to climb.
Fragments glazed over the sides. Barley secured to its brim.
No neon haze to guide me through.
My exit plan is made of rules. Which fluctuate, daily, weekly, monthly, timely.
Back up by yesterday’s science and today’s frustrations.
Cut up and glued using a broken paintbrush, with rips and slips in the fragile drawing surface along the way.

How many layers will suffice? How many layers until it’s over?

Hopefully one day I can paint this sh*t gold.
But for now, it remains unfinished, with no glossy exterior or containment. Hung by my kitchen, facing me as I click away on the computer.

Published by linneatheartist

Canadian Art Therapist and Death Doula. All services are currently offered online. Sharing my experiences with healing through art.

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