When you logged off a few minutes ago, I was startled to be staring at myself again. These ten minutes passed more quickly than I’d imagined ten minutes last. But measuring time is never my forte.

Thank you for these moments of stillness. They felt less lonely, and more focused, than the stretches of minutes (hours/days) in which I’ve accidentally done nothing. The pandemic has really messed up my already-shaky handle on time.

Before our encounter, I was scouring the internet for kf94s, so that my partner will be safe when he returns to the classroom next week, and wondering what “safe” means in this context. I was also rewriting sentences, in my head, for the manuscript that I’m woefully behind in revising; thinking about whether to move halfway across the country next week, as I’ve planned, or if the rise of delta means I should delay that; and periodically trying to work out where I went wrong in today’s crossword puzzle.

And then I clicked into our encounter, with you looking into the camera, and I began to feel — calm, quiet, still. (No, that’s not quite right, because at first I was surprised to see that I had connected via my external camera, which I then had to resituate, and it made me flustered, and I briefly enlarged my own video feed at least three times to make sure it was in place. But then I stopped doing that.) I spent most of the encounter just sitting, listening to my dog snoring softly on the couch behind me, and looking at you, live in full screen on my laptop. Did I remember to look into the camera at all? I’m not sure I did. If not: apologies.

But you looked into the camera. I’m thinking now about how you looked — attentively but not expressively. That is, without doing what a director I used to work with would have called indicating, an exaggerated comportment meant to telegraph one’s internal state. I tend to do it a lot when I video conference, especially when teaching, in an effort to push past the mediated distances of the remote classroom, to build up the zoom room’s energy. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t, but an irony is that afterwards, like so many of us, I feel totally depleted. By contrast, just being with you, however mediated, has left me feeling restored.

Li Cornfeld

I am sat in the hallway, in a space in between, inside and outside,  that is not my house or home, but a friends rather cluttered holding space. I enjoy the silence with you. I am with a curved back I notice, I move position…I notice the pain down my left arm and leg, its more of stiffness in my joints that wants more attention I know. I enjoy it here with you. I could stay longer but dinner is cooking

With much gratitude and inspiration for the interval, for holding this interval space

Rosalind Holgate Smith

…such a pleasure to spend time with you late in the evening (our time),…  you looked intensely focussed, and i was happy about that as it allowed me to dream, and imagine how i could distract you; the yellow balloon, named Jaaqa, was drawn by my 3 year old grand niece Sara last week when i visited her..

-Johannes Birringer

Desiree Foerster

I couldn’t stop thinking of Proust for some reason.

“Desire makes everything blossom; possession makes everything wither and fade.”

Will Daddario

White space framing curls

Chirping birds and summer sky

Power of stillness


shared blinking breath
ebb and flow of shoulders
and our throats
did she practice, I wonder, her face
how long have we been (lifetimes)
practicing our (lifelines) faces
do the shores of her mouth tilt up
or was she

– Wiam El Tamami

–The calming presence of a person holding space for me to sit still and be
–The sound of a ticking clock, at first impatient then settled into patient waiting
–I was surprised at how quickly 10 minutes flew by!
–Silence of stillness
–My puppy cuddling next to me, stealing idleness for herself as well

– Nicole Furlonge

settling in
deep breaths
video glitches
in and out
settling back in
fully relaxing
fully present

Jessica Gaynor

A collapse of time and space
Performing presence
Loving presence
What remains present in absence?
What remains absent in presence?
startled by your sudden departure
reminded of the impermanence of all things

Christine Jackson