In the Chart of Humanities, we collect the voices of experts from the Humanities for Health who told us about their guiding pillars at the time of COVID-19. We report here the testimony of Neil Vickers, Co-Director of the Centre for Humanities and Health, and Professor of English Literature & the Health Humanities at King’s College London.
I try to get out and go for a long walk each day, say, for about an hour. I’ve had a flu-like bug for 3 weeks and I’m wondering if it’s a very low-level variant of Covid. It probably isn’t. But I know I won’t feel inclined to exercise too strenuously until it goes away.
I often think that the hardest thing for researchers is to gain access to their own minds. There are so many distractions pulling us away. Donald Winnicott used to talk about people who felt compelled to ‘collect impingements’. It’s hard to fight that compulsion in time of Covid. There are so many interesting articles about it to read. Most medical journals have put Covid-related articles in front of their paywall and so have most newspapers. So I try to look at these only once a day. I don’t always succeed.
Something I’m enjoying about this time is that I’m reconnecting with people I’d almost lost touch with. I’m having virtual cups of tea and even virtual cocktails with old friends which is fun.
I’m enjoying listening to lots of music I was unfamiliar with. Music is the art form that means most to me. I’m discovering lots of Handel operas and Haydn string quartets.