Morning Chat, Élan, and Life in Isolation

The cover art of Élan’s new Spring Online Edition may bear some similarity to what you’ve been doing over the past few weeks. In our newfound isolation, we’ve all made adjustments, big and small, to our daily routine and how we use our time, whether that’s working from home or getting to spend more time with our cats.

We initially selected Keila Smith’s painting Morning Chat as the cover of the issue before it bore such an uncanny resemblance not just to our morning routine, but to our afternoon, evening, and night routines; now that it does, it seems like nothing less than fate that we should have picked it.

The cleverly titled piece depicts a moment of domestic bliss, a girl and her cat lounging in the comfort of their home, taking momentary refuge from the everyday troubles of the outside world. It’s grounded in comforting warm and earthy tones, paint skillfully rendering the depth of the scene. Like we’ve all been pushed to in the past month, it urges you to consider the time you spend alone, or rather, the time you spend with yourself.

In its station as the cover of the issue, Morning Chat doesn’t so much serve as an indicator of the tales of the contents to come. In a sense, it more so suggests a portrait of the reader, existing outside, escaping into, and taking refuge in these tales. They are not of any one thing– these are tales of woe and of joy, tales of grandparents, fathers, and farmers, of orange-picking and of spaceships crashing to Earth. It would have been impossible to choose a piece of art that perfectly encompassed the diversity of experience in this issue, so we instead looked to this piece as a way to celebrate the universality of humanity that exists within that diversity, time with ourselves being a constant and how we engage with ourselves and engage with others in times of isolation being fresh on the mind.

I hope this period of isolation will allow you to look more closely at what your life looks like in isolation: how you’re spending your time alone, what you value when you’re alone, and in turn, what that means for you and your life both in isolation and not. And in the meantime, I urge you to take a moment to cozy up with your cat, a blanket, a cup of tea and read the unique selection of poetry, prose, and art that Élan’s Spring Online Edition has to offer.

Blake Molenaar, Junior Art Editor