Lockdown Stories

Cell Study by Ronnie Goodman.
Photo: Peter Merts

COVID-19 ended all in-person classes in March; the last time I was in the classroom was on March 11. It took awhile, but by early June a “distance-learning” setup began which, while agonizingly slow and inconsistent and unsatisfying, at least is something and not nothing as the residents of San Quentin live through an unprecedented nightmare.

As stories come to me now through the institutional mail, I wanted to start posting some of them here (with explicit permission from the authors) as they get typed up. (Please note that all rights to these stories remain with the authors.) Some of these are fiction, and some are direct experiences of their COVID afflictions. Most of these are first drafts and will be getting revised and expanded over time, so check back again for your favorites in the future. As you read, please feel encouraged to respond in the comments so I know there’s some engagement, or send an email to brothersinpen@gmail.com. (Tremendous thanks to Jenny Prosa for help with typing these up! More to come soon.)

POSTED 10-09-2020

Rahsaan “New York” Thomas: “Rushing to Reinfection”

Posted 09-23-2020

Rahsaan “New York” Thomas: “Occupying Space”

Mesro Coles-El: “The Tax of Life”
Mesro Coles-El: “On the Front Lines”

Juan Moreno Haines: “Disillusions”

Terry Kitchen: “Do They Understand Me Now”

POSTED 11-24-2020

C. K. Gerhartsreiter: “The Souls of Institutions” (book review of “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro)

POSTED 12-19-2020

Mesro Coles-El: “John Does
Mesro Coles-El: “The Worst Date Night Ever
Mesro Coles-El: “Psychoanalyzing a Wizard”

Terry Kitchen: “COVID Memoir #1 & 2”
Terry Kitchen: “Reclaiming the Lost”

James Bottomley: COVID memoir “Worse Than Death” part I

Paul Stauffer: “Like Snow in August”
Paul Stauffer: “Gray Mists”

POSTED 01-06-2021

Juan Moreno Haines: “Thanksgiving in North Block”

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