Hey! My name is Marie Bland, and I am the creator of the Quaranzine (@quaranz1n3 on Instagram). While I am responsible for the curation and ultimate design of the physical/online zine, I am by no means the sole ‘creator’ of the work. The zine is based on the mission of celebrating the variety of life that quarantine has introduced to so many folks. 

Once I had safely reached home after abruptly leaving Stanford, I noticed I was creating more than usual. I use ‘creating’ in the broadest sense of the world—I extensively cleaned my room, baked brownies for my family, drew and journaled a little, and took pictures of my sister, all the while crossing these activities off a detailed to-do list. Making and doing felt purposeful in a time where I felt I had so little direction. My friends and I would discuss over Zoom about what we could possibly do with all of this free time, and I told them no matter what, I wanted to see what they did with their day; a funny poem or pictures of what they cooked. I realized then that everyone in this weird state of being has something that they can share with others, and in sharing that piece of themselves, they are more connected to their peers than they were before. Many of my friends talked about feeling aimless, lonely, and isolated, and I felt twinges of the same feelings. I felt helpless in what was going on around me—other than following social distancing guidelines, donating to worthy causes, and supporting local business, there was and is nothing I could do to help people who still have to go to work, who are toiling in hospitals across the country, and who cannot afford to use this time as a time of rest or rejuvenation. I figured that if I could make even the tiniest dent in the pervasiveness of those feelings, I could help bring more purpose to people’s lives and in turn dedicate myself to creation. I too could give myself some purpose in a time where I felt extremely helpless to the plight of those around me.

On March 18th, I made an instagram account called @quaranz1n3. The bio of the account (used to) read (as it is closed for submissions now), “A QuaranZine for you to send your words, your art, your music, your videos, your scribbles, your to-do lists, your recipes, your jokes, your laments, your confessions, you.” I feel as though that summed up the point pretty well. People on Instagram started submitting, first a poem from one of my friends at Stanford, then a sketch by an anonymous direct messenger, then a video mashup of a friend doing a dance in her bedroom. The submissions continued to roll in—small poems on the boxes of take-out food, clean rooms, paintings, songs, recipes, even a photo of a roll of toilet paper left on someone’s car.

Right now, the Zine is solely based on Instagram, and I feel as though it works very well there. Before I closed submissions in order to start working on the ‘zine’ version of the zine, people could easily submit all forms of ‘art’ on this extremely accessible platform. I am so proud of the submissions I’ve received and the joy that the page has helped spread. My next step— ‘true’ zine—I’ll be assembling every submission into a hodge podge of feelings and expression, where each piece of art can be featured and saved. I hope it can be a memento of what people did during this time, even though it is far from over yet. Let’s hope that there won’t be a need for a Quaranzine 2.0. 

Please visit the rest of the quaranzine on their instagram account! It features more than 100+ posts that surround content such as poems, songs, dances, recipes, paintings, collages, drawings, and even tracks the development of the BLM movement during the pandemic as well! Thank you again Marie for sharing your zine with us!

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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