Writing the Distance: Jessica Cherry

The Covid 19 pandemic is isolating Alaskan writers. We can no longer attend workshops or public readings. The coffee bars where we met with other writers are closed. To bridge these physical gaps, 49 Writers is providing this on-line forum for Alaskans writing the distance. Jessica Cherry is today’ featured artist.

Hindcasting for the Journey

The heat of the sun became palpable this week, at least in the middle of the afternoon. We left our work and went home along Odyssean journeys. We sent a hunter to the store to provision us. We boiled and canned. We walked in circles and stared into space. Suddenly home is an unfamiliar fortress, for the luckiest of us, and outside is the space between fortresses. With newfound time, we search for stories that give meaning to this moment, while science writhes in a weakened state. At night, in the clear air, the red eyes of Scylla blink silently on Fire Island. She’s either watching over us or waiting to unleash a monster’s fury, and she hasn’t decided which. In the morning, I set sail outdoors, on the winds of immunity, and outdoors doesn’t share our concerns. Snow is growing riper and the trees have shed their white fleece. Driven time and again off course, I feel comfort that I am grounded here, for now.


Jessica Cherry, PhD is a scientist, writer, and commercial airplane pilot living in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

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