February 17, 2023

In December of 2022, Assistant Professor Chen Chen and Director of Composition Beth Buyserie, as well as PhD student Hannah Stevens, were published in a special issue of The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics on carework and writing during COVID. The editors of this special issue urged their authors (and readers) to “Make space for these stories. Make space for grief, pain, and trauma in the academy, yours and others, in the individual and collaborative work that you do.”

Chen’s piece “Remembering 2020-2021: A Reflection on Care and Love,” relays Chen’s experience as a Chinese American living in the U.S., and what she most wants to remember of 2020-2021: “This story is about care and love, what I want to remember of 2020-2021 that we are so eager to move past. I invite you to dwell in this moment, in my memory of my own increasing political and cultural consciousness born out of care.”

Beth’s piece, “Writing as Carework: Healing my Writing, Healing Myself,” describes the ways in which she began to connect writing with caring about herself: “This essay, an invitation by the editors to keep writing, to keep taking care of ourselves, is my attempt at carework, to reframe writing as an act of care rather than one of sorrow.”

Hannah’s piece, “Numbers in the Life of a PhD Student Thought About on a Random Wednesday,” is adapted from Gary Burnham’s short “Subtotals,” and describes the perspectives she had as a new and overwhelmed graduate student during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can find all three stories, as well as other powerful narratives of care, in the special issue on Carework and Writing During COVID: Part II. Please note that “Each piece begins with content notes, so you can prioritize your comfort when navigating.”