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Day 66

Hello monotony, old friend. Today is May 22.

Unlike yesterday, I woke up at the completely reasonable time of 9:30 a.m. I felt a little disoriented at first but once I got out of bed and tossed on some clothes I felt ready to go. My allergies usually get worse as the day goes on, so I took my allergy pill to help reduce the frustrating sneezing and nose-blowing I knew I’d have to endure. My dad likes to have the windows open when the weather is nice, but that lets allergens into our house and results in an unpleasant day for me.

From the time I put the banana bread in the oven around 10:30 a.m. to the time my family and I ate dinner close to 7:50 p.m. I had managed to write 21 of my 26 nice notes. What I wrote for these 21 people translated to a total of 37 single-spaced pages of text.”

I had decided yesterday that I wanted to make banana bread for a friend of my brother’s who is having a hard time, so after eating a quick breakfast I got to work. I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count at this point, so I only really looked at the recipe to make sure I hadn’t missed any ingredients by mistake and wasn’t accidentally adding too much or too little of a certain item. The whole process went smoothly, and within half an hour I was putting the bread pan into the oven to start baking. Unlike when I make cookies and only have about 13 minutes between batches, with banana bread I have a little more than an hour before the loaf is done cooking.

I had started writing my nice notes for journalism yesterday and had gotten through a few, but I felt like I’d barely made a dent in the 26 I needed to write. When I started working, I thought I only had today to write them because we would be meeting on Saturday. Later in the day, however, our plans changed so we would be meeting up to pass out nice notes on Monday. I try to put as much detail and as many memories as I can into each note I write, and I aim for a minimum of a page with each person. 

I’ve gotten my fair share of crummy, vague and disappointing nice notes in the past, so whenever I’m writing mine, I try to write with the detail and emotion I’d want to read. I don’t have the best memory, so I try to think chronologically about the year and pull a few moments that I can recall clearly to talk about. After a long day of writing nice notes, I feel emotionally raw and tired. This year I’m working especially hard on each letter because I know how everything ended wasn’t by any means ideal or expected. I hope in the future when people look back at what I’ve said to them they can think fondly on their experience with journalism.

I baked some banana bread for my brother to take to a friend of his who is struggling. Photo by Bailey Stover.

From the time I put the banana bread in the oven around 10:30 a.m. to the time my family and I ate dinner close to 7:50 p.m. I had managed to write 21 of my 26 nice notes. What I wrote for these 21 people translated to a total of 37 single-spaced pages of text. My fingers felt tired and my back hurt from sitting for so long, but I was really proud of what I’d written and accomplished in such a short amount of time. I was originally planning on finishing the last five I have to write tonight, but because I now have some extra time I am able to complete them tomorrow instead. 

The one real break I took from writing all day was when Snowy Li, an artist on staff, came by my house to deliver a box of her nice notes. Because her parents are worried about the pandemic (which I completely and utterly understand), they don’t want her going to the nice notes get-together. I told her I would make sure to pass out her beautiful origami heart nice notes on her behalf, take lots of photos, FaceTime her during the event and make sure she got other people’s nice notes for her. Reading and giving nice notes is one of my favorite parts of the whole year, and I’m sad it has to take a different form than in years past. 

“It’s an awful truth that suffering can deepen us, give a greater luster to our colors, a richer resonance to our words.”

Anne Rice

Other than Snowy’s visit, the only other surprise in my day was Columbia Missourian video journalist Juliana Tornabene’s text letting me know the video documentary she had interviewed me for was done. Shortly after she contacted me, a friend of hers from Channel 8 reached out needing sources for a story he’s doing about kids working summer jobs. I gave him a few names then went back to writing my nice notes. All in all my day was tedious and emotionally taxing, so I was more than happy to let my brain rest while my family and I watched the series finale of Slings & Arrows after dinner. 

“It’s an awful truth that suffering can deepen us, give a greater luster to our colors, a richer resonance to our words.” ― Anne Rice

How did you spend your 66th day of social distancing? Let us know in the comments below.

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