Thoughts while watching Mrs Miniver during a pandemic

April 2020

By Janet Harron

On the bulletin board in what was once my dining room and is now my work-from-home office there is a piece of paper with the following words written in black Sharpie:


Do one thing for yourself.

Do one thing for your home.

Do one thing for others.


A piece of advice on grounding oneself from a good friend who also happens to be a genius textile artist.


We’ve all seen the memes about the importance of art at a time like this.


Personally, I find myself drawn to classic movies such as 1942’s Mrs Miniver (about a British family during World War II). As the eponymous heroine, Greer Garson moves indomitably from one crisis to the next; she is so resilient, so good humoured, such a rock.


As a reader, I have always reached for books in both good times and bad.  And at this particular bad time, literary comfort food like Maeve Binchy’s opus Circle of Friends is what I am craving.


I’ve even dusted off my knitting needles and am currently contemplating ordering a paint-by-number kit.


Whether it’s about embarking on an individual creative project or simply distracting ourselves from the existential terror lurking outside our doors by watching Netflix, art is how we are all getting through this.


And the artists of Newfoundland and Labrador are stepping up.


Playwrights Ruth Lawrence and Robert Chafe have launched a weekly social distancing party, checking in with friends who also happen to be artists.


Musician and photographer Ritchie Perez has spearheaded the CO-VIDeo Collective featuring astonishing musical collaborations with multiple band members without ever getting together face-to-face.


Last weekend, the East Coast Kitchen Party featured the best of George Street’s troubadours playing from their own kitchens.


And on the craft side, there is Jamie Feener of Feener & Thread immortalizing Minister Haggie’s warnings in cross-stitch.


The creative output is truly astonishing.


But when we turn to our artists for comfort, where do they turn?


What words of wisdom do they have pinned to their bulletin boards?


What piece of music, favorite movie, or work of literature are calming their fears and enabling them to continue to create?


Over the next weeks, the NQ Online will be reaching out to our artists to ask these questions.


Watch this space.


Janet Harron is a reader, entrepreneur, and communications professional based in St John’s.

The Blizzard Baby

BY Brad Vardy

“I think today’s going to be the day”, came the voice from the top of the stairs.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that it’s started, and we should be getting ready to head to the hospital soon.”

Followed by, “No panic, it’s just starting.”

The Music Man

BY Christa Shelley

Emerging from the crowd, I see the accordion player sitting on a folding chair. It is planted in a spot of sun on the downtown sidewalk. Following the movement of passersby, his body swivels in his chair, arms flapping. He offers his music and eye contact to every passing pedestrian.