Comfort in the Time of COVID-19


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Dear Pongo Community,

How do we find comfort and community when the world is filled with unknown risk, and further challenged by social distancing? One way is to share our difficult experiences and complicated feelings with one another, to express ourselves and to listen to others. Pongo would like to support that process. You are invited to send us your stories and poems through email. The address is info@pongoteenwriting.org. We will write back to you privately, and, with your permission, we can possibly share these words with others.

I know that there are important stories happening right now. These stories need to heard. Certainly there are health concerns, for ourselves and for people we love. But there are serious challenges of economic loss (complicated by racial injustice and income inequality), housing instability, bigotry, effects on children, impact on vulnerable communities, availability of health care, worries for our society as a whole.

So I'd like to invite you to send us a short narrative or write a poem about what you're dealing with right now. Thanks to Shaun, Pongo's new Program Manager, we have a new poetry activity, "Sure, I'm Unsure". Scroll down on this page to access the activity. Copy and paste it into an email. Again, send your writing to us at info@pongoteenwriting.org.

We wish you well in difficult times. We are proud of the Pongo community and appreciate all you do in the world.

Warmly,
Richard
Pongo Poetry Project
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Name:
Date:

WRITING ACTIVITY - "SURE, I’M UNSURE"
 
Activity Instructions: During uncertain times in our lives, we can feel confused about even simple things. Think about times in your life where you might have been unsure. Maybe you’re even unsure of some things right now. As we name unknowns, maybe we can move towards things we CAN be sure about. Read the poem below, and then complete the writing exercise that follows using the prompts and ideas in the parentheses.
 
SURE, I’M UNSURE
by Shaun
 
Sure, I’m unsure. There’s a storm outside!
And a stranger in the doorway.
On TV, a hurricane wheels across the screen
like a life-sucking donut that I can’t stop staring at.
Being unsure is shaky ground. It’s living under a leaky roof
and there’s a hole in the bucket that was catching the drips
Being unsure is standing in the cold, dirty wetness
I’m certain shouldn’t be there.

I am sure that I can laugh
and hydrate on the raindrops.
I am sure I can bellow out a song
that I bet the stranger at the door knows too
and I am sure that after this storm,
there will be flowers and ferns growing from the gutters.
 

Activity Instructions: Fill in the blanks in the poem below. Use the words suggested or choose your own words to communicate your thoughts as clearly and powerfully as you can. Feel free to add lines of your own, to remove lines, or to change words to fit your purpose.


SURE, I’M UNSURE
 
Sure, I’m unsure. There’s a storm outside!
And all around me I see the consequences. A violent wind may take us down!
 
I now think about ________________ (my family, my work, ???)
And I wonder __________________________________
 
I now think about _________________ (my community, the future, ???)
And I wonder _________________________________

Sure, I’m unsure. There’s a storm inside, too!
Am I supposed to be unaffected? In my body there’s a downpour of emotions!
 
And I have feelings like ________________ (anxiety, fear, ???)
That makes me want to ________________________
 
And I have feelings like ________________ (anger, frustration, ???)
That makes me want to _________________________

Sure, I AM SURE
Of course, there are important things that are untouched. There’s shelter, too.
 
I find comfort in ___________________ (my home, religion, a cup of coffee, ???)
That makes me feel ________________________
 
I know that one enduring value is _________________ (love, caring for others, ???)
That I show by ______________________________
 
Sure, I’m unsure about ____________________________
But sure… I also know _____________________________
 
Please send your completed activity to us in an email...info@pongoteenwriting.org