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Corona Chronicles 1: Dora Maar

The Corona Chronicles is a column, contributed through a first-person essay, where deceased artists, muses and art world personalities vent about how their lives have been altered and interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drastic times call for creative measures. 


Paris, 1936. 7:30 AM

Pablo and I were still in bed, naked and sweaty (yes, from exactly what you’re imagining), sipping a cup of lavender tea and devouring a croissant when we heard the newspaper boy shouting the day’s headlines:

“Deadly virus infecting people left and right, read all about it!”

Oh mon dieu! I quietly thought to myself. The world can’t end while our love is just beginning to blossom. Although Pablo is still married to Marie-Therese, I have always been sure that he will leave that blonde bob for me. He can’t resist the seduction and masochism that comes out of my pores… 

When I first heard that the government was endorsing this social distancing thing I thought this cannot be, I am a photographer, a muse, a painter, a poet – I need the world as the world needs me! But alas, today is day 10 in quarantine and I feel as if my silk, pijamas have become part of my skin, I am developing a thin layer of blubber around my thighs, and my curling iron is accumulating dust. I didn’t have a chance to stock up on paper or film assuming that Pablo and I would be busy (yes, again, doing exactly what is going through your mind) but no, he chose her over me. Marie-Therese and Maya moved from Juan-les-Pins to Le Tremblay-sur-Mauldre and he took a train to go see them as he has been spending all of the weekends with them. #whatever.

Coronavirus has frozen my inspiration and made me run for the hills, away from my fellow surrealists. I crave the real world, the tangible world. My unconsciousness is no longer looking to express itself but rather free itself from this prison that is quarantine. I am confined to these walls, watching time pass by at turtle pace, writing this on the back of a tobacco receipt as tears stream down my face.

If we ever get to roam the streets of Paris again, my biggest fear is that people say “there goes that famous painter with his fat mistress”. 

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