Chronicling the Days – Ian Thomas Shaw

In April 2020, we invited writers in Quebec to submit a story of a single day during the strange, uneasy time of coronavirus and pandemic, of social distancing and self isolation, of lockdown and quarantine.

We’re thrilled to announce that these stories have been gathered in Chronicling the Days: Dispatches from a Pandemic (Guernica Press). To learn more and buy the book, please visit

Please also join us on the QWF FB Community page, and let the authors know if their words resonated.

This piece is by Ian Thomas Shaw, writing on April 8, 2020.

Andy Warhol Campbell Soup Cans (1962)


I walk toward the entrance, mustering the courage to put on the mask. I pull it out, adjust it as I have seen on Youtube and jam my hands back into my pockets. A guard approaches. He stops six feet away and says, “Vos mains.” I start to raise my hands into the air when he nods to a portable sink in the corner. Dutifully, I shuffle over to it. The water is lukewarm, the liquid soap cheap and slimy. “Vingt secondes!” I nod at this new command.

To read the rest of the story, please support our community and check out Chronicling the Days: Dispatches from a Pandemic

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