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Daily distraction: Get lost in a fantasy world, meditate and see Louise Bourgeois drawings

Welcome to your daily distraction, our recommendations for ways to stay engaged and entertained while we socially distance ourselves to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak. You can find our past recommendations here; many of the opportunities we’ve highlighted are ongoing.

Spring is beginning in Denver, where I’m isolating with my family. The apricot tree outside my window is tentatively flowering, and the first leaves of what will shortly be tulips are poking out from the dreary, winter-dry earth. It’s a tough time in the world, but life does continue; watching the turn of seasons is a reminder of just how important it is, at this challenging moment, to hold on.

Here are three ways to find an escape within your home today, and with it, new energy to press forward.

1) Disappear into a fantasy world

Here’s a secret: One of my favorite things in the world is the 2013 BBC radio drama adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel “Neverwhere.” It’s niche, but trust me. Radio plays don’t have an enormous audience in the United States, but they’re an ideal form of entertainment; they powerfully engage the imagination, compelling listeners to envision the action they’re hearing as it happens. “Neverwhere,” starring James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer of ‘Game of Thrones’ and Benedict Cumberbatch, is a particularly good example, sucking listeners into an imaginary second London, full of magic, danger and talking rats. Right now you can get it for free with a trial of Audible, Amazon’s audiobook service. If you, like I, would like to spend a few hours in a completely different reality, you can’t do better than this.

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2) Meditate

I’m anxious, you’re anxious, we’re all anxious. How to manage it? Mindfulness and meditation are popular practices for those prone to racing minds, a category that at the moment includes most of us. Give it a try with the popular app Headspace, which has made a significant portion of its content available for free during the current crisis. So has the app Ten Percent Happier, for which, full disclosure, Forward contributor Jay Michaelson is on staff. And the LA Times has good tips for how to use these practices to ground yourself, even for just a few seconds.

3) See a Louise Bourgeois exhibit online

Bourgeois is best known for her looming metal sculptures of enormous spiders, which might be the wrong metaphor at this moment. But she was also masterful with pen and paper, creating a portfolio of surreal, abstracted drawings that oscillates between alarming and oddly comforting. Starting tomorrow, the gallery Hauser & Wirth will be hosting an online exhibition of Bourgeois’ drawings from 1947-2007. Take a look, and tell us what you think.


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