Covid-19 birthday print trade celebration.

A 3 day storytelling/art-sharing celebration

Every year in April I celebrate my birthday with gratitude by giving away prints, saying thanks, and throwing a dancing party.

This year we are learning the dimensions of our need for connection and simple acts like waving at our neighbors during walks or exchanging looks at the store can save us from our yearning for human contact. The visions of the past when we all dance next to each other and exchange hugs and kisses now would feel like such a social overindulgence, such an act of transgression. This pandemic will remind us all of the things we take for granted and hopefully make us more grateful and present.

At least for now we have the internet and the Postal Service, so in an effort to learn to adapt I’m celebrating my birthday Covid-19 style with an online party and hoping for hugging, kissing and dancing some time in the future.

A pre-pandemic celebration usually goes like this: you come to my studio, write or draw a story and trade it for one of my prints hanging on a clothesline. Now, in times of social distancing this exchange will be indirect, but hopefully still fun to do. I’m sure that with all the introspection we all have been forced to experience, there are incredible stories to share.

For this event I am creating a special print and trading it for “Pandemic-quarantine-social distancing” stories.

I really hope we overcome our akwardness and free ourselves to share and connect, here are 3 different ways we can trade.

1. A story for a Bday print.

Share a story on the comments, go to my shop and “buy” a Bday print for $1 and pay for shipping costs. I wish I can just give it to you but sadly, I’m struggling too. The price is just to cover material costs.

2. Stories for discounted prints

Share a story in the comments of this page (very bottom of this page), go to my shop  or Etsy store and enter the code “45bday” to get a coupon for 20% off on any print, I will send you a birthday print as well.

3. Stories for postcards

If you don’t wish to buy a print then just share a story in the comments (very bottom of this page) and I will send you a postcard.

I believe that we show our humanity during times of adversity and we remind each other that there is room for hope in the future. If you have a story that made you feel good during this Pandemic and would like to share it.  Let’s trade!!!

The event will run from April 19 to April 21 (my birthday)

Check out the Submitted Stories Below, or Submit your own in the comments box at the very bottom of the page:

36 thoughts on “Covid-19 birthday print trade celebration.”

  1. I’m sharing a poem I wrote inspired by the the amazing Forsythia bush I saw while I was walking masked and cautiously so in that sense it is a pandemic story:

    Forsythia
    (in a time of pandemic)

    like a cluster of stars,
    a charm of finches,
    like honey-lemon drops
    soothing April’s last
    rough cough,
    bent notes sliding
    on a branch,
    a luminous invitation
    to snatch that chance,
    to still dance

  2. Not really a story but Covid related. I run a farmers market, and we’ve temporarily closed due to Covid. Our Market tends to be a large source of income for many businesses. In addition to losing Market revenue, many have lost restaurant and wholesale accounts. While it’s been hard on our vendors, it’s also been nice to see them come together to combine efforts on creating new revenue streams for each other. It’s also been great to see customers really step up and support them, and really see the value of supporting local and supporting farmers. While I’m sure their revenue is not where it typically would be, these efforts will help them through this. Coming together to survive reminds me of our own bodies. Nerves will re-route around dead nerve endings. Scars heal over wounds. Cells replace and reinvigorate. We are one organism working through this together, and it will be on all of us to survive and to heal our wounds when this is over. A silver lining in all this is that perhaps we will recover better than we were before.

  3. It’s not really much of a story, but it is Covid related. I run a large farmers market, and we’ve temporarily shut down due to Covid. We are year-round and typically a main source of income for many. While it is sad to see the struggles of everyone at Market, it’s been really nice to see many of the vendors rally together and create new outlets for partnering up and selling their wares. It’s been great to see the public and new venues step up as new sources of revenue for these hurting farmers, many who have lost restaurant accounts, wholesale accounts, etc. While we are not back yet, the community coming together reminds me how the body heals. Nerves that are damaged re-route around the damage. Skin heals over wounds. Cells replace and renew. We are one big organism, in this together. We alone can heal our wounds once this is over.

  4. My children’s birthdays were both in late March, during the first couple weeks of the quarantine. My spouse and I were very concerned about their ability to understand not being able to see family or friends for their birthdays. My son received his first video game for his seventh birthday. We took a drive and intended to get nice take out but ended up with Dominos Pizza for dinner. He had homemade cupcakes that weren’t as fancy as we’d planned because of a lack of ingredients. He had a zoom party with a few friends but they mostly just made faces at each other. We thought at the end of the day that it might have been pretty disappointing. Well, he surprised us and ended up saying this was the best birthday of his life! I think in the end, he felt so loved and a lot of the expectations about how it should have been were our expectations, not his. He was disappointed to not see friends and family in person, but he enjoyed spending the day as a family. Hope you have a happy birthday!

  5. My Covid story is how my family has learned to take care of each other even though we cannot physically be together. The hardest thing for me has been helping my 90 year old mother cope with lonliness during this time of isolation. She lost her husband and my father last April after 69 years of marriage. Her first year as a widow was tough and she was alone on the anniversary of his death because of social distancing. This was heart wrenching for all of us. We have done our best to help her through it. We call her daily. We have taught her use social media and even did a video chat. We’ve sent her books and puzzles and signed her up for netflix. She has kept herself busy helping to make masks with a group of women from her church and now with the warmer weather she can work in her flower gardens. Simple things. Life is full of simple things if we take the time to see and be grateful. That’s why your work speaks to me. Happiest of birthdays Alynn.

  6. Hi Alynn. Happy Birthday! I hope you find delightful ways to enjoy your day and year. I love the hourglass prints you created for this surreal time in our lives and would love a postcard of it. I ordered a few other things from your shop in the last few days and that would be the address for the postcard.
    Here is my story:
    I turned 49 on March 31. Family, friends, and neighbors spoiled me with their creativity social distance-style. When I woke up, I noticed a bag hanging on my door and it contained a beautiful card and earrings handmade by a female artist in Africa. My sister created a birthday collage for me out of magazines and it is truly a work of art! She also brought me sanitizing wipes along with a mid century planter and a succulent. Friends stopped by separately with things like a handmade birthday sign, wine, treats, and a balloon. I was also spoiled by my sweetie with flowers, delicious looseleaf tea, and a mortar and pestle. My boys and I walked and they cooked for me.

    During this time, I am especially thankful for extra time with my two teenage boys and for more time to be creative whether it’s lining up my fiesta mugs or photography or painting. All the beatbox to you and I hope you are finding peace in these days as well!
    Julie 🙂

  7. A story of physical distancing but social cohesion: I’m a graduate student and so spend most of my time at a computer, missing my classmates. In my free time, I draw and have had the goal of getting more serious about getting my art out into the world, even though I’m super shy about it. I’ve also been wanting to help more with local efforts to support folks most impacted by covid, but don’t have a lot of extra cash to give. I got a little wine drunk one night and offered to sell prints in exchange for donations to local covid mutual aid groups, and have been able to raise almost $200 to help buy groceries and fill prescriptions for folks at high vulnerability in our community/have been able to reconnect with people I’ve lost touch with over the past few years. It’s small, but meant a lot to me, and hopefully a few others as well.

  8. I don’t need you to send me a print but I thought it might be fun to share how on your birthday you let me borrow your jump starter to help a friend start their F250 diesel truck. However, we didn’t realize that it had two batteries that needed to be charged simultaneously and we had to call roadside insurance to jump it anyways, but then we had to spend an hour putting air in the four tires and were able to do so because your jump starter had an air compressor too! So thank you for giving the gift of help to someone else on your own birthday!

    • I tried to post earlier but I don’t think it went through. My children both have late March birthdays, so both happened in quarantine. My spouse and I thought their birthdays would be disappointing, as it was difficult at first to explain the public health crisis to kids turning 5 and 7. We tried our best—my 7 year old was disappointed when we let him know that he wouldn’t be able to see friends or family for his birthday. We tried to make the day special; we took the day off from distance learning, he had a zoom call with some friends, and he got his first video game. My husband and kids made homemade cupcakes, although they were very basic because of a lack of ingredients. We did the best we could, in hopes that he at least wouldn’t be totally disappointed. Well, we got to the end of the day and he said it was the best birthday ever. So that was a pleasant surprise for us! And it also felt rewarding that he felt loved and special despite not being able to see anyone. Hope you have a happy birthday!

  9. Happy Birthday, Alynn! I was trying to think of a story to share during this time. My “gotta pay the bills” gig is working at Costco and sadly, not a lot of feel-good stories to share right now (just want to remind people that smiles, kindness, and patience mean SO much in these challenging times and they are a literal lifeline to essential workers right now!) So instead I’m gonna share a fun, heart-warming story from my dear friend, Johno, who lives in San Diego but his story has ties to his/our West Michigan home and it’s a good reminder of the joy, kindness, and fun that is still here amidst the hard stuff. Hope/Joy/Love is not cancelled! https://www.facebook.com/johnowells/videos/10220858680993536/UzpfSTExMzQ2NDU2Mzk6MzA2MDYxMTI5NDk5NDE0OjEwOjA6MTU4ODMxNjM5OTotNDA1NjU1MTQyMDE5NTMzMTIwOA/?tn=CH-R&eid=ARBqUF77ceBLcTCXJBFE4_jCvFSXBXVhFygI2TbiV8E9I9o69i3NLL-ZXnyNiDTh-6CUVuqqn2iwXFJi&hc_ref=ARQoHUCMqnRvaKcxGc8jhbaysUEpHj5E-w14vSP3PaVPSEug8-uNi_R7lUlj0T3-J5A&fref=nf&xts[0]=68.ARB8_-UDoYRbiknhHojQo4NeT5JGQBQqK-s3FQ36yn8LfWOxok8siZF1sVjFsFKqD4f2HjZ1pjpGH32WvO-wsC2wRfmPmKh79Xdhu-P2eU5hWewDBaWdzC7LXQdZqetcFEHDpbyorAzc8HxrqxQPF6TXbsfDAgoEocU5aPFgQb6SYm2k-r_h8fTwEz6D99S-pepqMjh_INntEHLWsnNKA6IxfpmT0g

    • Hi, Michele–Thank you for your essential service!! Costco is doing a great job right now (at least they are in my local store). I have acquired much needed TP for people in need thanks to Costco in the last month when they did not have access to it.
      Stay safe.

    • Hi Michele, I finally had a chance to watch your friend’s video and it really made me smile, how nice of him to share his precious ice cream. I hope more people realize the importance of essential workers and start treating them with more respect.
      Thank you for participating on my trade, I had a lot of fun and joyous interactions with friends and strangers.
      I hope you and your family are doing well.

  10. Happy birthday!

    When I was a teenager I got in trouble constantly. I was always grounded, always punished, and the groundings stretches on and on. One weekend day when I was sixteen I was grounded but I begged my parents to let me drive a couple miles down the road to get some bagels. This was before cellphones were common (a couple fancy people had car phones in giant cases) but they agreed that I could get a bagel and turn right back around. High on freedom I drove to the bagel place, thought about it for a moment, and decided that my best course of action was to drive 90 minutes away and across state lines to visit my grandparents who always empathizes with me and never grounded me. And so I did. From memory despite never having driven there myself before I made it to their house but they weren’t there. I was devastated. Thought about my parents, knocked on their neighbors’ door and asked to use the phone. I called my parents who told me to stay where I was and I sat on the curb hoping my grandparents would show up before my parents came. They didn’t. My mom drove their car home, my dad had me drive the car I’d driven up in while he napped and I was grounded for another two months.

  11. My grandma was the person who I was closest with as a kid. My mom and dad worked full time so I didnt see much of them on a daily basis. It’s not a bad thing, I know they had to support us, and I now realize we were a poor family growing up so I dont have any judgment being “raised” by my grandma. My daily routine was wake up at my house, mom got us ready as dad went off to work. She drove us to school, grandma would pick us up from school and my mom would pick us up at 5/6 or the next morning if we wanted to spend the night. My grandma was retired, and my little brother and I loved going over there because she would spoil us rotten, also being the only grandkids. We spend almost every weekend over there until we were about 13. We would call and ask if we could come over, usually always a yes. She lived alone with her little evil pomeranian that only loved her so we never touched it, or when we did we got yelled at for poking the beast lol. She passed away I think 12 years ago now. She was the first death I ever had to deal with. I didnt take it lightly. My favorite person vanished. She had lung cancer, even after being a nonsmoker since I could remember. She went in for surgery to get it removed, everything went great, and then it didnt post op. I didnt get to really say goodbye. I remember the last time I saw her was at my house, a day before the operation. I told her I loved her, and she the same. Little did I know that was the last time I’d see her, but she knew that could be a possibility. She was 62 when she passed. I didnt think about what my mom was going through. I was so wrapped up in my own grieving process. I was heavily depressed, going into middle school in the next few months. It shaped me who I am as a person. Childhood innocence of not knowing the real cruel world was taken from me as I was growing into a teenager. I was that angsty emo girl. I remember going to the mall when I was a kid, as my mom and I walked past Hot Topic, she turned to me and said, dont ever grow up like that, and I shook my head in agreement with my bobby brown monkey graphic tee and gauchos on with pink flats. It just makes me laugh now to think of that memory. I’m now exactly what she told me not to be. Wears all black, piercings, tattoo sleeves, alternative. I can only imagine my grandma rolling around in her grave if she saw me now. I wouldn’t change a thing about myself or what I’ve been through as much as younger me would of thought to do. This is my story. Shaped through trauma, for worse, and then for better.

  12. Well, all kinds of weird stuff has been happening since the world changed, especially dreams…lots of unfriendly dog dreams (which I never have) and lucid type stuff…like being in a recording session in a dream and hearing creaking microphones, which end up being creaks in the house, which jolt me awake and I think someone is there.

    Mostly the kindness of people around me and things appearing after just thinking about them is what has surprised me. When we first decided we should really get some masks I was frustrated that we actually didn’t have any handkerchiefs or extra fabric in the house…and then a day later and flute student of mine said she was making us some and going to send in the mail. And voila! a day later we had masks arrive at our doorstep.

    There is a similar story with a friend who delivered an audio interface at the last minute so we could do our live stream concert, my mom who randomly sent chocolate in the mail (not something she usually does), and a couple of other extra $$ gifts that came randomly to help us out paying our bills.

    I think more people are seeing how they can help others around them!

  13. A couple of years ago, my boyfriend at the time texted me in the middle of the work day. He was breaking up with me. We had a trip planned that weekend to go up North – a beautiful, romantic cottage on the beach. I looked at the text, took a deep breath, and I shut my phone off for the rest of the day. I went up North to that cottage by myself. That weekend I grieved the loss of the relationship but I learned to be happy alone in isolation. I learned to be happy in a moment for which I had very different expectations. That experience changed me in a great way. This moment in time is much like that. I had very different expectations for the here and now, but I can still be happy alone in isolation.

  14. A pair were introduced because of their love for bikes. They rode their bikes through city streets and trails, but eventually along farm roads skirting wheat fields. Their love didn’t bloom into a flower, it bloomed into something more, wheat! Wheat? Wheat could feed their mouths, feed their friends and feed those far away who needed it even more.

    There were two friends who were brought together through bikes…or trikes. They were each their own unique person and together they made a very special pair of friends, the kind you could watch in a multi season television show and keep laughing. Their friendship could be described as a Banjo. They were Country, they were Rock, one loved African culture, the other was an artist himself and together they made some sort of five-string combo sound appealing to the ear and cause an eruption of laughter.

    A country girl and a city boy who share a common love for bluegrass. That country girl happened to have grown up in a wheat field more widely known as Wheatland. The girl showed the city boy around the wheat field she called home. She told stories of the family who owned it, stories of those who started it, those who worked it and all she learned there as a kid. She got excited to do her annual Wheatie shopping, only to see the city boy knew some merchants. These merchants, who were true artists, were talented, kind, fun and funny. It was like they were another piece to the band they called life, the fiddle. They could be classic in their tunes speaking intellectually about art, the how to and the meaning, but they could also produce tunes that made you want to dance like the tunes of the fiddle!

    Wheat, the banjo, and the fiddle all came together from very different ends of the earth with very different backgrounds, yet somehow woven together. The only thing missing to complete their song called life was the unity of the country girl and city boy. The Fiddle provided a base for the Wheat to grow. We will call this the final necessary addition of the Mandolin.

    Now there was a banjo, fiddle and mandolin…beautiful music could be played!

    And that is somehow the story of what we like to call “The Last Pre-Pandemic Wedding”

    Thanks Alynn and Nate for being part of that! We are looking forward to that Wolf (Luna) print being hung in our house. Keep holding it for us 🙂 we promise we are buying it!
    Written by Megan Doerr 4/20/20 – sitting in the house wishing I had some musical instruments to learn to play!

  15. Some years ago when we were childless and free to do what we pleased Jon and I went backpacking many weekends one summer. This one particular weekend we hiked in about 5 or 6 miles and came across this stretch of open land with a winding creek that ran through it. We set up our tent in the pocket of the creek and hiked some more miles before coming back and having dinner and some much deserved whiskey. As wer sat around the fire we started to hear some yips and then some howls. We couldn’t do much of anything but laugh. We ended up snuggled in our tent hearing those howls seemingly just yards away, just over that creek. We luckily lived to tell the tale. And we always refer to it as the night at Coyote Isle.

    Hoping to get back to backpacking this summer, with a few less coyote.

  16. My dear friend lost his father this morning-he wrote this…and I was so moved.

    “Early this morning, as I sat by my unconscious dying father’s bedside in the palliative care unit, I found myself singing quietly to him his own father’s favourite song, one that my grandfather always sang quietly to himself from when my Dad was a child through to when I was a child.
    I came home later looking to find it, and I thought it fitting that the lovely Vera Lynn version was the first that came up, as it reminded me of how my grandfather had hand-stitched my Dad’s baby blanket while still at sea in the North Atlantic in 1945.
    I have it still.
    Goodbye, Dad.”

    • Quarantine:

      Having just moved to a new city, my social interaction had been limited to the gym and work. Trying to make new connections. March hit and this situation became imposed. Nothing really hangs from my Norma routine. But I long for friends that I have left behind. I long for the opportunity to create new friends. Time will come and pass and I focus on the things I can work on. I long for closing down a bar and the conversation that can be had. Happy Birthday!

  17. A birthday story about life…

    One foggy evening a woman went into labor during a routine check-in with her midwife. She was two weeks early and there was no hospital on the island and the last ferry was leaving in minutes, leaving them unlikely to make it. As luck would have it, another woman on the island with the same midwife was going into labor at the same time – with twins – and the midwife was able to stall the ferry to take them both to shore. The next morning, a little girl was born.

    The girl and her parents lived in a little red farmhouse for two peaceful years. The mother spent her time babysitting and crafting and corralling their wild dog. The father spent his time farming, caring for everything from garlic to carrots to tulips. Two years into the girl’s life, her family moved to the mainland to join the rest of the real world and get a real job.

    The first time the girl returned to the island after that she was sixteen and spent a whole day pouting because couldn’t get cell phone service on John’s Landing to call her friend John and tell him the coincidence. Two months later he would finally kiss her then tell her he just wanted to be friends with a little extra, not her boyfriend. Two weeks after that, she’d find out he was telling three other girls the same thing. The girl spent some time admiring the island, but couldn’t wait to return to civilization and the real world.

    The next time she returned to the island was just a few weeks before her twenty-second birthday. She had just driven through the next to make the morning ferry after her campsite in a not-so-nearby national park had been visited by a Grizzly the night before. Luckily she was able to scare it off by playing “Touch of Grey” and flashing car lights but there was no way to sleep in a spot already visited once by a Grizzly. This time on the island, she felt grateful that her first home was so beautiful, and she had her first daydream of living out her days working at the local bakery and living on a little farm. But that wasn’t the real world, and she left.

    The next time the girl returned to the island she had moved to a city within a day’s drive to the ferry, and being close to the island was a large part of her cross-country move. She brought her future husband to the island, and showed him the driftwood log that she used to take naps on as a baby and the little red farmhouse where she spent her first years. She was working at a bakery in the city where she met her future husband, but dreamed of working outside under the sun and owning a piece of land. But the desire to reach that dream was still far off – right now, she was reveling in the novelty of being in love in a big city and exploring the endless cafes and breweries and adventures the city held.

    The girl returned to the island many times over the next few years. During those years she worked at a tech start up, at a bakery, as a jewelry maker, as a tour guide, as a barista, at retail stores, as a writer, as an event staffer, but nothing seemed to hold her. The girl finally decided to return to school and visited the island one last time before moving across the country for school. She was now the same age as her father was when he and her mother decided to take their new baby away from the island and move across the country to go to school. As she sat on the rocky shoreline, watching the summer solstice sun set, she wondered if she was making the right choice. She had spent so many years telling herself that the real world world was on the mainland, and she had to follow their rules to get ahead. Who told her this? Was she making choices for her, or for everyone around her? As she was lost in thought, biking back to her campsite, she almost missed the “help wanted” sign in the window of the local bakery.

  18. I don’t know if this a true story in the sense that it’s a moment or a pause in life. A life that is kind of crazy right now.

    Through this crisis and uncertainty I started to pay attention to or focus on human behavior and unfortunately the negative side or dark side I guess you could say. I realized that was not healthy to me or my son who I am the ultimate example for. I realized all that I was doing was pulling myself further and further away from the good and the huge opportunity I had in front of me. That opportunity was to be part of a movement a movement of humanity. A movement to take car of what is ours and what is not.

    This might be one of the only true times in history that we can all stop and “smell the roses “ and I did not want to miss it. So I made the choice to become part of the good in the world and life. And although I struggle like we all do but I struggle with a smile. I struggle with my legacy in my son and we struggle together. But we always help and share and love .

    Luke and I try and do the little things to make someone happy, a simple donation of goodies in the mail box for our mail man or a purchase of a pizza for a neighbor. Sometimes a simple cup of coffee for a stranger can change the course of thinking in someone and spark a new moment or life.

    It doesn’t take the big things in life to make an impact but several small actions can make us shine and glow. The news, social media and the world like to focus at times on the negative side , we don’t have to be that way and frankly right now we shouldn’t.

    So I encourage you to go on the movement known as the human being and let’s show what we can do

  19. Last weekend I was watching the digital episode of Saturday Night Live. My cat can tell that I am not my usual self and has started sitting on my lap a lot. As I was watching the skit about old ladies on a Zoom call who could not figure it out, I started laughing aloud, but then it changed from a laugh to straight tears and bawling. I would teter between the two, I couldn’t figure out why I thought it was hilarious and heart breaking at the same time. My cat was staring at me pretty much in shock. He looked at me, unsettled wanting to help. A concerned glint in his eyes and he finally decided how to help. He bit my hand…not a painful bite but it reminded me of someone slapping someone in the face to get them to calm down. And it worked, I did calm down.

  20. The Postpartum Idiot
    by g.emil perrine

    “Life is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.”
    -Shakespeare

    Seven or eight years after exiting my first womb I was hit in the mouth with a baseball. Other humans consoled me and I sucked the blood from the split in my lower lip, through my bleeding teeth. My two front incisors hurt like hell (if you’ll excuse the expression). I would, from then on, learn new ideas of potential and probable hells. Did I step into that hardball on purpose? Some say that there are no accidents. That’s possible.
    Click Here to Read The Rest of The Postpartum Idiot >>

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