He lost his dream job. She takes her ballet lessons over a webcam. They risk their health around the clock. My life feels a little more frozen than before. A heavy weight of fear and confusion lies on my back. It slows me: I feel like I'm pushing through thick mud. But I'm still pushing. I had a cloudy dream about a master painter...creating magnificent brushstrokes though a broken wrist, gritting his teeth through the pain. The master, beloved by all, is only more strongly revered for his perseverance, and for the pain transmitted from his body onto the canvas. I've done it...I've done it! His suffering in context with his art is felt throughout time. But what did the dream mean to me?What does it mean when I can't work through my fear? What do I have to show for my stress, my pain? How can I even think of creation when now, less than ever before, I don't know what tomorrow brings? What time-tested masterpieces mean a thing to me when my mind zaps from moment to moment, in unending concern for the world?My friend sends me an article. "Know that you are not failing. Let go of all of the profoundly daft ideas you have about what you should be doing right now. Instead, focus intensely on your physical and psychological security. I know it makes sense. But still, I can't stop thinking - GOTTA WORK!! OUTPUT! OUTPUT!"Issac Newton worked from home during a pandemic too, you know. And he didn't have Netflix or anything. Hurry up and reinvent gravity, you lazy son of a bitch. by Clickbait Jones for the New Dork Times. Bonk! Then I read a bad article and I get all mad. Life is short. I'll never be Newton. But at times I wonder...will my fear be seen in my work as I draw from it? Will my work be remembered along with my pain? I'm not sure. All I know is that I'm pushing on where I can. I probably won't paint masterpieces or make any world-shattering discoveries. The greatest thing I can do right now is stay alive and help others do the same. Hey, my friend! How's it going?

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Maddi’s story is part of Pollen’s “Are You OK?” initiative, a collection of stories, art, and virtual gatherings that documents how our collective community is processing and healing during the this global health and financial crisis. Check the collection regularly to hear from our creative community as we keep up with the changes and challenges before us. 



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Maddi Gonzalez
Maddi Gonzalez is an Ignatz-Award-nominated Xicana cartoonist from the Rio Grande Valley.