Author Jessica Handler On Living, Teaching And Learning In Quarantine

Apr 10, 2020

On Second Thought is checking in with folks around Georgia to see what they're doing, watching and reading while shut in at home.

Jessica Handler is author of two memoirs and the novel The Magnetic Girl, which recently won the 2020 Southern Book Prize. She joined the program to tell us what she is discovering — and rediscovering — while staying home.


Handler says that she is still teaching her full courseload at Oglethorpe University, which has moved to remote learning. Beyond that, she has been taking neighborhood walks, doing online yoga, catching up with people on video chats, and learning to cook.

One thing this author is okay with not doing? Writing.

"I am giving myself permission to not write right now," Handler said. "I was working on a new book and my brain is not going there right now."

Instead, she's taking the time to pick up and re-learn old skills, like playing guitar, as well as developing new ones.

"I have a drum kit, and I have been taking drum lessons by Skype, for about a year," Handler explained. "So that's endorphins! It is meditative to play drums. It uses different muscles. It's rhythmic. And yeah, pounding on things is kind of helpful for 20 minutes or half an hour."

And we'd love to hear from you! Leave us a voicemail or write to us on social media and tell us: what are you reading, watching, doing, thinking, or cooking while stuck at home?

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