A revealing series of self-portraits during the quarantine
These profiles were photographed and written during the spring months when we were first introduced to the virus, when the city was in full lockdown, and before our focus shifted, appropriately, to this new civil rights movement. We present these diaries here, just as when they were written: real time snapshots by the individuals who experienced them.
By Liz Brasher, March 28, 2020
AM thoughts: 15 days of quarantine & 1 out of 6 weeks of vocal rest down.
If we are still alive, we are OK.
I think a lot about inmates and how living like that would be my nightmare.
I’m thankful for the freedom and luxury I have to ride this out in the comfort of my own home. I’m thankful to be homeschooling my son right now. I’m thankful for the countless records, books, activities I have access to. I’m thankful for the reality check of how short life is. I’m thankful to know the only One who is in control. I’m thankful for my lungs and for my friends’ and family’s health at the moment.
I also break down a lot throughout the day.
If you break down too, I am thankful for you, that you are not calloused. We should be feeling more now than we ever have, and we should be grieving with the whole world. We cannot stop what is coming. We can only help by staying home, crying out, hoping for it to end.
I’m thankful for so many of you who know the importance of this and have chosen to focus on LIFE.
Everyone is in this, all together.
Death makes no distinction between rich or poor, white or black, male or female, which should serve as a reminder that we are always equals.
If you are shocked that people in power would ask you to sacrifice your life for them, you need to look back at history. The times we are living may feel new to us but they are not. Martin Luther said that “to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.” And now more than ever we need to hold on to that.
We are the masses, we are the people. And when we make it through this we will have the confidence to change the trajectory of history now and forever.
I hope we never forget this awful season.
I hope when we all make it out of here we take back the simple liberties that should be ours and currently aren’t – our health, financial help to survive in emergencies, and a government whose pride will not override the greater good of its people.
Liz Brasher makes her own kind of southern music — one that’s caught halfway between the garage, the church, the bar, and the bedroom. She’s a soul singer. A guitar-playing rocker. A one-woman girl group. A gospel revivalist who sings the praises of secular bands like the Box Tops. It’s a diverse sound rooted in the influence of Brasher’s two homes: her adopted hometown of Memphis, where she recorded her debut LP, Painted Image, for Fat Possum Records; and her childhood stomping grounds in rural North Carolina, where she was raised in a musical, multi-ethnic household.
Liz Brasher recently released her newest single, “Sad Girl Status.” In an article with the Bitter Southerner, Liz Brasher said, “It was like the musical equivalent to a therapeutic cry that needed to be let out. It felt different for me because of how stripped down and vulnerable it was. From the title, to the content, to even me speaking about it now, I’m not hiding anything or being mysterious about what this song is. It was all of me, in that moment.”
The Quarantine Dairies, Memphis:
On Monday, March 23, 2020, in the first of many safety precautions responding to the oncoming Coronavirus, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland issued the “Safer at Home” shelter-at-home executive order that directed all Memphis residents to stay inside their homes unless “absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.” All over Memphis, people from all walks and disciplines adjusted to a new way of life, almost entirely from home: teaching, working, holding online meetings, coping. With this profile series we have captured a sampling – Memphians willing to share their quarantine diaries. Compiled from submitted stories and various contributors, this series gives us snapshots of a variety of voices around the city and presents a part of the narrative that is the ever-changing landscape of 2020. StoryBoard is currently editing our compiled snapshot stories for publication – we are also collecting more stories for as long as the pandemic continues.
Edited by Kristin Jones and Mark Fleischer