Friday, 26 June 2020

Coronavirus diary: New Pamphlet, PhD, my writing and poetry

My pamphlet Negotiating Caponata, is out. It may seem a little thing but I feel very proud. I shipped it to my family and friends in Italy, UK, Australia and Canada. I hope they like it. There will be a Zoom Launch on 16th July as well. Here are the links to Dempsey&Windle’s website and to my website:



My website has just been reshaped by webmasters Andrew and Becci (https://www.a2a.co.uk/ ). They did a great job; it looks amazing.

I am carrying on with my PhD thesis on Margaret Atwood; it was my main target during the free time I had in the lockdown. It was hard work and still is as I am trying to finalise it by autumn. Editing is the longest part and the most difficult. The final work needs to be almost perfect and at a level of a PhD, which means it needs to ‘create new knowledge’ at the ‘foremost of the academic discipline’. Quite tough. I don’t know what the examiners will decide once I submit my thesis, I just hope the process will end at some point and I will get the award. The whole thing is giving me a bit of anxiety and my blood pressure rose, but I am carrying on and hope I will succeed eventually. I have already published extracts of my work on Atwood in academic articles and more informal pieces and have had abstracts accepted in conferences, which are suspended at the moment but will take place in 2021. So, my research on Atwood’s work will carry on as well as my links to Canadian culture, Canadian friends and Canadian territory. Studying Atwood, I discovered a new dimension that is enriching my life and broadening my views. I do not intend to stop as it is becoming more and more exciting.

During the lockdown, I wrote and published articles and reviews as well. Some are linked to my work on Margaret Atwood, others are poetry reviews and also a review on Raphael’s virtual exhibition at Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome. Here are the links:

Rachel Burns, A Girl in a Blue Dress

David Hockney: Ways of Working

Dónall Dempsey, Crawling Out and Falling Up

Kitty Coles, Visiting Hours

Two Painters at a Crossroad: Geoffrey Pimlott and Colin Merrin

Roy Marshall, After Montale

Notes on the Testaments

David Cooke, Staring at a Hoopoe

Floods, global warming and overpopulation

Coping with Covid-19 in the UK, Italy and Japan: a comparison

Raphael 1520–1483, a walk in the exhibition

Daphne Milne, The Blue Boob Club (South Magazine 61)

Conyer Clayton, We shed our skin like dynamite

‘Being a woman painter: reflections on Elaine Risley’s career in Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eyehttps://thebluenib.com/being-a-woman-painter-reflections-on-elaine-risleys-career-in-margaret-atwoods-cats-eye/

Richard Kell, The whispering sky

Robbie Frazer, 192 Miles with Carla


In order to relax a bit from my academic work I made sketches and paintings. I produced some sketchbook journals that record what I was doing during the confinement, that is, cakes, pizzas, pictures of empty spaces, like city squares and supermarket shelves, and painted my obsession with the virus in different forms. The process encouraged my creativity and soothed my troubled mood making me feel better. They are not great pieces, but I can develop one or two of them in the future.

Woking Stanza, Woking Writers Circle and Write Out Loud organised Zoom sessions which were not only helpful for my writing but also kept us in touch and we could have a good chat though at a distance. I also completed my diabetes awareness sessions online and had a few Zoom meetings with my UCA student and her tutor. For me, it wasn’t easy not to meet people in person, days seemed void but I decided to set my goals day by day and managed to keep up pretty well at the end. Podcasts and videos from newspaper, museums and youtube helped me too. Here are a few links I enjoyed:



Atwood and other writers:

Tate:



V&A:



Crocheting:

I kept clapping hands for the NHS, though I felt sadder and sadder each time thinking about all the people who have died, and still die, from the pandemic. I find the political controversies pointless and detrimental in some way, both in Italy and in the UK. I don’t think there is any perfect solution to this situation and things cannot be solved in the short term. What affects me most is the social distancing and restrictions about meeting family, but it will be eased off at a certain point hopefully. I am planning to spend the summer at home, complete my thesis, write more articles, do some art work and crochet, and waiting for a future where people will gather again.


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