COVID-19 Artist Stories: Corinne Manning

Everyday I try to disrupt the numbing Groundhog Day feeling by startling myself out of the blurring from one day to the next, one hour from the next. As a chronically ill person I have numerous pills I take day and night and I pause before it’s time always feeling confused on which pills I’m taking—is it night time or is it morning?

I am part of a queer family (four adults and one toddler) and the toddler says to me “Pop, don’t go to Canada okay? We don’t go to college. Because it’s Corona time. Okay, Pop?” Back when I drank, back when I didn’t know how to stop, I used to love downing Corona beer; Corona Time. I love all the Cs that she has focused on in this statement.

I was in Canada for a Feminist Book Festival when the shelter-in-place order was issued. The conference was cancelled and I came home early. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about the upside down, or the right side up, where I would have been packing my bag right now to go on a month-long book tour.

April was supposed to be a busy month of teaching, and as gigs fell away I’ve suddenly been left with the kind of time I crave as a writer but am not sure how to use. I wake at 5 am and struggle to write about family abuse, and then a few hours later the toddler chases me with the hose. She calls herself The Water Cat.

Didn’t we grow up in quarantine? So much of what I feel now has a tether to being a kid on Friday nights in front of the TV in Suburbia with nowhere to go, an unstable person in charge of me. I think about these families, these kids wherever you all are, every day.


Corinne Manning is a Seattle-based author whose debut story collection, “We Had No Rules,” was published this month by Arsenal Pulp Press. Their stories and essays have been published widely, including in “Toward an Ethics of Activism” and “Shadow Map: An Anthology of Survivors of Sexual Assault.” Corinne is a writer-in-residence for Writers in the Schools and founded The James Franco Review, a project that sought to address implicit bias in the publishing industry. Corinne received a 2013 Artist Trust GAP Award.

 Read Corinne’s work on their website and purchase their book from Elliott Bay Book Company.