In a year of discomforts, both acute and general, I’ve found one train of thought reliably comforting: how will we talk about this past year when it has long since passed? The very question propels one out of this murky present and into a future which, however unknown, is decidedly different. The children will marvel. We, the survivors, will be better able to recall the silver linings, better able to discuss our pains once we’re no longer consumed by them. We will be able to say of so much, “do not take that for granted.” We’ll be annoying as hell.

Last week, one of my two roommates had a birthday. In any other year, Kat would have arranged for a picnic outing in Malibu or a chicken parm dinner at Little Dom’s, maybe. But this is 2020, and we live in Los Angeles. The guest list and the venue were predetermined by the rules of quarantine.

Something extravagant seemed necessary to make a Safer-at-Home birthday feel like a celebration, so I volunteered to make a cake. A BIG cake. I pulled out a cookbook called Sky High, which — no kidding — exclusively features recipes for triple-layer cakes. My baking…

Last week, I went to see ANT MAN & THE WASP, the second installment in Paul Rudd’s comedy-cum-superhero morsel of the Marvel movie smorgasbord. Though Rudd’s ageless, precocious charm is the feature’s headline attraction, he doesn’t appear until several scenes in. Instead, I watched as the film’s other leads, a father and daughter team of scientists, discussed a wholly unfamiliar (to me, at least) chapter of their backstory. The woman’s mother (the father’s wife) had died when the woman was just a girl. Mom had sacrificed herself to the Quantum Realm and for decades had been considered dead. The father…

Marissa Flaxbart

Writer/Storyteller based in Los Angeles. Host of Sweet Valley Diaries podcast.

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