Like a mouse set down in a maze, we are constantly learning new things—about our world, our relationships, and ourselves—as we advance through week five of sequestering in place as a result of the pandemic. Not least among these revelations are likely some candid appraisals of our coping skills.
For example, one could hope that acceptance of quarantine and social distancing limitations might increase enough to hold some sway over our mental, spiritual and physical bandwidth as the days and weeks wore on, with a proportionate decrease in restlessness. And if we were actually incarcerated, locked away under the watchful supervision of our jailers with no say in our schedules or our movements, that would likely be the case. No option other than acceptance would be viable; we would have no choice but to accept that reality.
The reality of the pandemic, though, is that we are not being forcibly physically restrained; our acceptance of isolation and social distancing—for both our own safety and the greater good—is a choice we get to make, if we are responsible. And because it’s our choice, as long as we and our families or other cellmates are healthy and the curve appears to be flattening, it seems that acceptance starts to give way all too easily to different types of denial and our restlessness can only ramp up as a result.
Best to keep in mind what the most authoritative voices and statistical evidence are telling us: what we are doing is, blessedly, starting to work, but it can all go haywire in a heartbeat unless we commit to staying the course until some of the fog of pandemic starts to clear. Acceptance may not be all, but it’s a necessary place to start.
Another lesson of our current reality comes from the ways that we are managing to connect as we come together by staying apart. Teleconferencing and virtual meetings are, to use the parlance of pandemic, essential for health care professionals, scientists, and government officials taking on the coronavirus—not to mention the civil servants, journalists, public and private businesses, nonprofit relief and cultural arts organizations, and all the individuals who are trying to keep the wheels turning while the world collectively presses Pause.
For families and friends and lovers, meanwhile, the virtual meeting places like Zoom and Google Hangout are likewise proving essential, not only to maintain a sense of togetherness across a few city blocks or thousands of miles, but to lessen anxiety about the well-being of others, and to ward off loneliness, the effects of which can be as debilitating as any infection.
But here’s the thing. Just like a pair of teenage lovers on a long distance call back in the day—“You hang up” … “No, you hang up”—many of us have come to dread the end of a session. It is such an unqualified blessing and a source of joy and relief to be able to see and hear and converse with people we care about, to confirm that our connection to them is still vibrant and alive. But, sadly, when the session ends, by choice of the participants or jarringly because of time limits, it can precipitate an emotional shock and endorphin crash.
We are never so clearly reminded of how far apart we are as when, out of our isolation, the miracles of technology have allowed us, only too briefly, to come together.
And so it goes in the time of the novel coronavirus today.
On the Local Front
Herewith the weekly reminder to continue to check the Village of Quogue website (www.villageofquogueny.gov), both for updates on the home page about state, county and village resources in response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as news and notes on the Announcements page.
Apologies to those who are on the Village email list or who have already checked the Announcements page, but At Quaquanantuck believes it is important to share Mayor Peter Sartorius’s latest email advisory to village residents:
“Per an order issued by the Governor, effective tonight, April 15, at 8 p.m., employees of all essential business or entities who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, face coverings for their employees.
“Per guidance issued by the NY Department of Health, face coverings include, but are not limited to, cloth (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and face shields. Of course, surgical masks, N-95 respirators and face shields continue to be in short supply and their use should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.
“Apart from this legal requirement, the Department of Health has recommended that members of the general public wear cloth face coverings in public settings, especially where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). According to Governor Cuomo’s press conference this morning, this recommendation will soon become mandatory.
“Masks are not a substitute for all of the other preventive measures with which we all have become familiar—social distancing, frequent hand washing, avoiding touching our faces, covering our coughs and sneezes and staying home whenever possible. It looks like we are doing a pretty good job in Quogue of masking ourselves in public places. I see a lot of people doing that. I would compliment them by name, but for the most part I cannot tell who they are. Eventually, however, we will get to know each other by the masks we wear.
“Here is a link to the CDC website that provides instructions on how to make a mask, including for the non-sewers among us those that do not require a stitch: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
“Stay safe, everyone.”
Keeping Up with Covid-19
Readers are asked to remember, too, that New York State has launched a new email system to provide daily updates about Covid-19. To sign up, click on (or paste in your browser) the link now.ny.gov/page/s/coronavirus-updates. And be sure to share this link with friends and family.
The update sent out by Governor Cuomo on Tuesday evening from the Governor.ny.gov website included a plea for blood donations. “ Due to Coronavirus, there is a shortage of blood and blood donations are desperately needed. New York State is working with blood banks to ensure safe social distancing protocols are being followed. Learn how and where you can donate by clicking here, or by visiting donate.nybc.org/donor/schedules/zip.
The Governor’s updates typically include a section on “Other ways you can help,” which At Quaquanantuck has referenced in previous columns: “In addition to giving blood, there are many ways New Yorkers can help with the state’s coronavirus response, from donating goods and services to contributing to the state’s First Responders Fund to volunteering. And you can continue to help us just by social distancing and acting responsibly. Learn more here.”
Readers who want to help but whose assistance is limited to making donations should click on the link above or copy and paste into their browser coronavirus.health.ny.gov/get-involved-how-you-can-help. Scrolling down to the bottom of the landing page will take you to two options for making donations.
Regular readers and those who may be new to At Quaquanantuck are also encouraged to scroll down to scan the tops of columns from Week Four, Week Three and Week Two. There, just below the opening essays, you will find information about, and in many cases links to, resources that can be useful as we continue to adapt to changing conditions during the spread of Covid-19.
And Now Some Good News: Whiting Award for Genevieve Sly Crane
Quogue’s own Genevieve Sly Crane, author of the debut novel Sorority (Scout Press, 2018), has been named one of three winners of a 2020 Whiting Award for Fiction.
Since 1985, the Whiting Foundation has supported creative writing through the Whiting Awards, which are given annually to 10 emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Each of the awards comes with a prize of $50,000, one of the largest available to emerging writers and awarded “on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come.”
To date, the foundation has awarded a total of $8 million to more than 300 fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, and playwrights.
This year’s judges described the rationale for awarding the prize to Ms. Sly Crane in this assessment of Sorority:
“In clear-eyed, razor-sharp sentences, the novelist Genevieve Sly Crane masterfully assembles a chorus of intimate voices whose slippery descent into emotional violence is as harrowing as it is moving to watch. Crane’s scenes are taut, sliced through with dark humor and dialogue that crackles with electricity, illuminated by bursts of insight that flare suddenly into view. Her book is an unflinching examination of the kinds of cruelty women perpetrate against one another and against themselves, as well as a measure of how capacious their selves can be, no matter how small the world wants to make them. She finds literary power in places where no one else is looking for it.”
“We hope to identify exceptional new writers who have yet to make their mark in the literary culture,” reads a statement on the Whiting Foundation website. “Though the writers may not necessarily be young (talent may emerge at any age), the grant ideally offers recipients a first opportunity to devote themselves fully to writing, and the recognition has a significant impact. Whiting winners have gone on to win numerous prestigious awards and fellowships, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Obie Award, and MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Lannan fellowships, and their work has shaped and advanced literature in this country over the past three decades.”
Celebrating its 35th anniversary year in 2020, the Whiting Foundation was forced, like most other organizations with public-facing events scheduled for this time, to call off its traditional Whiting Awards ceremony in order to avoid possible Covid-19 transmission. The Foundation intends to reschedule a celebration of the winners once restrictions on public gathering have been lifted. Pulitzer Prize finalist, MacArthur Fellow, and Whiting Award winner Sarah Ruhl will share the judges’ citations and her own remarks with the winners and the public at that time. And At Quaquanantuck hopes to advise readers of the date and location of the event when it is announced.
Asked for her response to winning the prestigious award, Genna was typically self-deprecating: “I don’t have anything particularly innovative to say,” she wrote in an email, “just that it’s a huge honor, and when they initially called to tell me I’d won I was convinced someone was spamming me. I didn’t really believe it until they sent the tax forms, but everything becomes real after a W-9.”
“My second book is due in the fall,” she continued, “and I’m using the Whiting gift to take six months to write. I’ve avoided the second-book curse long enough.”
A number of Quogue residents had the great pleasure of hearing Genna read from Sorority and field questions from the audience at a Conversations with the Author session hosted by the Quogue Library in the summer of 2018. At Quaquanantuck offers fanfares and applause on Genna’s spectacular accomplishment and hopes that she will be invited to read again when the library project has been completed.
Library Connecting Quogue, Virtually, to the World
You have to admire the resourcefulness of the Quogue Library. Forced to take their show on the road whilst the renovation and expansion of the central facility on Quogue Street was underway, with the blessings of the Quogue Fire Department and a beneficent landlord, they kept things lively, engaging, and informative with services provided and live programs offered at the temporary Midland headquarters and the Firehouse on Jessup.
And now that residents’ movements and capacity to gather have been restricted, the library continues to provide a critical part of the central nervous system for the village in the virtual world. With discussions and webinars shifting over to the virtual realm, library staffers have asked that all those who wish to participate feel comfortable working with Zoom for a remote meeting. Access to a computer and/or smartphone, along with internet access, is required; anyone in need of assistance with Zoom setup is asked to email email@example.com and library staffers will get you started.
Coming up tomorrow, on Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m., the library will present the second in a series of Zoom webinars collectively titled “Explore the World Below Sea Level with Fish Guy Photos.”
Very important to sign up for the webinar in advance and get instructions for connecting by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Friday, April 17, installment will consider “From Plankton to Whales: Why Our Local Waters Are Worth Protecting.” Discussing the program, Chris Paparo, aka The Fish Guy, notes that “with endless stories and photos of fish kills, harmful algal blooms, oil spills, beach closures, etc. filling our daily news feeds, it appears that our environment is in a horrific state of ‘Doom and Gloom.’
“Although we do face many environmental challenges, this constant bombardment of negativity creates a lack of enthusiasm among local communities when it comes to protecting our environment. Regain your enthusiasm for protecting our marine environment by learning about some of the fascinating marine life that inhabits the waters of Long Island.”
For the third and final webinar installment on Friday, April 24, at 7 p.m., Mr. Paparo’s topic will be “Long Island’s White Shark Research.“Describing this installment, he wrote: “Long Island’s coastal waters have an abundance of sharks, all of which we know very little about. In 2015, a small group of researchers were the first to deploy a satellite tag on a juvenile great white shark off Long Island’s south shore. Over the subsequent two summers, a partnership with OCEARCH enabled them to tag an additional 20 white sharks off Montauk.
“In this presentation, learn about the continued work of the Shark Research and Education Program of the South Fork Natural History Museum.”
Again, for more information, or to register and receive instructions on how to connect, contact email@example.com.
Moving from marine science to art instruction, the Quogue Library will be offering “Drawing – Faces Made Easy,” a live Zoom workshop led by Joyce Raimondo for anyone who enjoys drawing on two Wednesdays , April 22 and April 29, both days at 4 p.m.
Suitable for teens and adults, the workshops require no prior experience in drawing; beginners and more advanced are all welcome. An artist and author, Ms. Raimondo will demonstrate simple techniques to help participants to improve their drawing skills.
The first session will show participants how to draw faces and people with ease.The second session will focus on sketching features that help to show the expression of emotions. All are asked to have supplies ready to go before the workshop begins: pencils, paper, a sharpener and eraser.
RSVP for the requisite Zoom link and password by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember, the Quogue Library website has been updated with a complete list of digital resources and the staff will continuously add new information to its remote resource page. In addition, there are a number of curated recommendations for websites for entertainment, reading lists, instruction and topics of interest as we shelter in place.
For the week ahead, for example, with Earth Day coming up on Wednesday, April 22, library staffers have come up with a list of Outdoor Focused links in their “Picks of the Week.” Included are: the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, naturally; the Center for Environmental Education & Discovery; the National Geographic Archives; 15 Panoramic Webcams That Let You Virtually Travel the World; 15 Things You Can Do to Help Keep Oceans Clean; and How to Celebrate Earth Day While Staying Home During COVID-19; to name just a few.
To stay up to speed and for a complete listing of all online library programs and resources, visit the library website at www.quoguelibrary.org.
Nature News Continues at Wildlife Refuge; Tune In Today
Another key player in the intellectual and spiritual life of our community, the Quogue Wildlife Refuge (www.quoguewildliferefuge.org) is continuing with new installments in its twice weekly lecture series for all ages, QWR Nature News (#QWRnaturenews). Offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there’s no telling what the subject will be today, Thursday, April 16, at 1 p.m. for those who stream it live on Facebook. Just like nature itself, the Refuge personnel are fond of surprises.
What At Quaquanantuck can tell you is that the eighth installment, offered on Tuesday, April 14, was all about “Chinchillas and Rodents,” and starred two lovable showboaters, Nugget and McNugget. The video of the segment has already been posted and is available on the Refuge YouTube channel, #qwrnaturenews.
During this time of social distancing, with the Nature Center closed, the Refuge remains devoted to bringing educational programs to local residents. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 p.m. the program will be live on Facebook with QWR animals and staff presenting a short segment of fun and education, #qwrnaturenews.
The program offers a unique look inside the Refuge, the passionate individuals who care for it, and the animals who call it home. The education piece is about 10 minutes and then during the last half of the program, it goes interactive, with viewers urged to ask questions and answer trivia to test their knowledge.
For Facebook users who miss a segment, the recording will remain on the QWR FB page as a post that people can continue to view. For those who don’t use Facebook, all videos will be posted on the QWR YouTube channel, #qwrnaturenews, afterwards.
Remember that although the Nature Center and facilities are closed, the trails at the QWR remain open, to counterclockwise single direction access only and with adequate social distancing and other protocols required.
As for Earth Day, it is somewhat heartening to note that the annual celebration of this important day, originally scheduled for Saturday, April 18, has not been cancelled, only postponed.
Quogue Shop Looks to Keep the Wheels Turning for Local Cyclists
No sooner had Theresa Fontana, the proprietor of the Little Q Quogue Shop at 144 Jessup Avenue, started to get her business up and running this year on March 15 than village stores were shuttered as authorities pulled out all stops in their efforts to bend the curve of Covid-19 infections and fatalities.
Stymied only temporarily, Theresa came up with a plan to try to keep her business going while hopefully serving some of the exercise and short distance transportation needs of area residents who are currently sheltering in place by offering Huffy bicycles to borrow, rent, or buy. All transactions are arranged via email (email@example.com) or voicemail (631-653-6559) only and bicycles will be delivered.
Photos of available men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ bikes are posted in the store window now, Theresa told At Quaquanantuck. Sizes start at 16 inches, appropriate for a youngster 3 feet 2 inches tall, and go up to 26 inches for adults.
“I’ve never felt so broken,” Theresa wrote in an email, “but all I want to do is reach out to the community the best way I know how, through my shop.”
Parrish Museum Offers Live Stream Talk on Fairfield Porter
The close friendships and relationships between celebrated American realist painter Fairfield Porter and fellow artists and writers who visited his Southampton home will be discussed in “Fairfield Porter and Friends—In Their Own Words,” a live-stream illustrated talk by Alicia G. Longwell, the Parrish Art Museum’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chief Curator, on Friday, April 17 at 5 p.m.
“Fairfield Porter and his cadre of family and friends truly lived a life in art,” Ms. Longwell was quoted as saying in a press release. She described the artist’s circle as “a close knit group of dazzling artists and writers who made a lasting contribution to mid-20th c America art.”
Images from the Parrish’s extensive collection of works by Porter and his circle will be explored using the painters’ own words and those of their poet friends, all of whom wrote widely about art. The public is invited to join the discussion—part of the Museum’s “Friday Nights Live!” series—and take part in a live chat following the presentation. Log in information is at parrishart.org.
Next week, the Education Department of the Parrish Art Museum will offer the third in its series of “Live from the Studio” live-streamed art workshops on Wednesday, April 22, from 11 to 11:45 a.m., with Laurie Lambrecht the featured artist.
The classes are open to all participants, adults and families, at any skill level. “We all need art right now and Laurie and the other artists are generously sharing their time to bring art to the Parrish community,” said Cara Conklin-Wingfield, Parrish Education Director. “They are helping to keep us connected through making art.”
During the class, participants are invited to follow along with the instruction, while interacting through a live Q& A. The only materials needed are pencils, paints, brushes, or any other drawing supplies participants may have in their homes.
Live from the Studio featured Barbara Thompson in the first workshop and Eric Dever on April 15. Future artists and topics will be announced, and all classes are being recorded and will be available on parrishart.org for future viewing.
Documentaries Just Right for Challenging Times
This week’s “Fest Favorite” from the fine folks who bring you the Hamptons Doc Fest (www.hamptonsdocfest.com/) is “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise,” from directors/producers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack. The Doc Fest website has links so you can screen the film on your computer or smart TV at home.
Next week, check out the Doc Fest website for a “Fest Favorite” with an Earth Day theme.
Village Spring Leaf Pickup Underway
As noted in previous columns, the Village Highway Department has begun the Spring Leaf Pickup operation. Leaves must be on the shoulder of the street by April 30 in order to be picked up.
Residents are advised not to pile leaves around fire hydrants or utility equipment. Leaves stuffed in plastic bags will not be picked up, and residents will be required to remove them. No brush, such as twigs and branches, or lawn cuttings will be taken away, and mixing this debris with leaves will result in the leaves not being removed. Brush with branches up to 3” in diameter may be taken to the Westhampton transfer and recycling facility free of charge from April 15 through May 31. For more information, go to www.southamptontownny.gov.
Property owners and landscapers removing leaves (only) from a Quogue property may make arrangements with the Quogue Highway Department to dump them at the highway yard. This arrangement neatly circumvents the problem of having piles of leaves in front of your property blowing back onto your lawn before they can be picked up by the Village Highway crews.
Your Comments Welcome
At Quaquanantuck is happy to provide a forum for civil discussion of village issues and initiatives and welcomes all comments. All are encouraged to share observations, ideas and opinions by writing to AtQuaq@gmail.com.
At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country—or the world. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.