finding beauty & style in life—not just in a closet

Posts from the Words by — J. Category

2020 Apr 26 - Miquel Benitez, children playing outside, Spain 1
photo Miquel Benitez

A street where there are no children playing is a dead street.
— Mehemt Murat ildan

Children in Spain leave their houses for the first time in six weeks…
the country has lifted its 44-day mandatory isolation of younger children.
The much dreamed of return-to-normal life has begun.
Renewed hope is being felt.


*Spain, Italy and France, which have Europe’s highest death tolls from the virus, imposed tough lockdown rules in March but are now reporting significant progress bringing infection rates down and are cautiously ready to start giving their citizens more freedom. – Chris Caulfield, METRO UK

#COVID-19Black-Shoe 2Image: Instagram

banksy-face-mask #2Banksy’s The Girl With The Pierced Eardrum in Bristol (@Anth0ny_Ward via Twitter) 

Like us, Banksy’s world-famous ‘The Girl with a Pierced Eardrum’ now wears a face mask.

His 2014 mural is a take on Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting, The Girl with a Pearl Earring. Banksy ingeniously used the outdoor security alarm for her earring. 

Now she is wearing a blue surgical mask. Sometime in the last few days it appeared over her face.

It is unknown who put the face mask on the wall but it is thought to have been the elusive Banksy himself.



#face mask
#public healthBlack-Shoe 2Image:

2020 Apr 16 - Olivier Kervernphoto Olivier Kervern



In the Time of Pandemic

And the people stayed home.

And they listened, and read books, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.

And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.

And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

— Kitty O’Meara


Then, I was struck again by O’Meara’s words in an article that , a culture editor at OprahMag.Com wrote about her poem.

“We can wallow where we are or we can see the invitations. Anything that you can tap into that allows your feelings to be expressed creatively will do that for you. You will feel better on the other end of it. You will be changed.” — Kitty O’Meara

 went on to write, “O’Meara is not an expert on dealing with this global crisis, she says. She’s just another person, trying to find grace in the free-fall.”

And I say, “Amen. Me too.” Thank you so much for your deeply profound heartfelt words, and for sharing this beautiful piece of art with the world, Kitty O’Meara…thank you.”

#new choicesBlack-Shoe 2Image: Instagram

sketch Ruth Manning

Before Spain went on lockdown, Ruth Manning sketched Miraflores de la Sierra, a town north of Madrid where her daughter has lived for the past 15 years.

Art speaks where words are unable to explain. — Mathiole

I came across a rather interesting article in The New York Times called The Quarantine Diaries.

Reporter Amelia Nierenberg writes, “Around the world, the history of our present moment is taking shape in journal entries and drawings…the pages tell the story of an anxious, claustrophobic world on pause.”

Ruth Manning is one of the few artists Nierenberg introduced me to.

I look forward to sharing the works of some of the other artists with you as I continue to write my story of life during the coronavirus pandemic.

Plus, I would love to hear about your stories, too.


sketch Ruth Manning

After quarantine, she drew the sink.

#art in isolation

debmontipainting Deb Monti

These powerful words from Italy’s acclaimed novelist Francesca Melandri stopped me dead in my tracks last night. They are from a letter that she wrote to the UK. In it, Melandri shares insights, thoughts, feelings and many of the many emotions that Italians are dealing with in lockdown as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on their country.

I feel her words could quickly become our reality here in Canada.

We are but a few steps ahead of you… we watch you as you behave just as we did a short time ago, “it’s only the flu, why all the fuss?”

You will eat, you will not sleep.

You will miss your adult children like never have before; the realization that you have no idea when you will ever see them again will hit you like a punch in the chest.

You will make appointments in the supermarket queues with your friends and lovers, so as to briefly see them in person, all the while abiding by the social distancing rules.

You will count all the things you do not need.

You will not understand if witnessing the birth of a new world is more grandiose or a miserable affair.

The true nature of the people around you will be revealed with total clarity. You will have confirmations and surprises.

And when you blast I Will Survive from your windows, we’ll watch you and nod just like the people of Wuhan, who sung from their windows in February, and nodded while watching us.

Many children will be conceived.

Your children will be schooled online. They’ll be horrible nuisances; they’ll give you joy.

Elderly people will disobey you like rowdy teenagers: you’ll have to fight with them in order to forbid them from going out, to get infected and die.

You will try not to think about the lonely deaths inside the ICU.

You’ll want to cover with rose petals all medical workers’ steps.

At some point, you will realise it’s tough. You will be afraid.

You will eat again.

We’re in Italy, and this is what we know about your future. But it’s just small-scale fortune-telling. We are very low-key seers.

And if we turn our gaze to the more distant future, the future which is unknown both to you and to us too, we can only tell you this: when all of this is over, the world won’t be the same.*
—Francesca Melandri

(*words have been extrapolated from Francesca Melandri’s letter to the UK)

Her prophetic words continue to resonate with me.