The Pandemic Diaries: Hawai‘i Writers Reflect on Covid-19

Pandemic Essays Hawaii
Image by @misterver

Written in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, these personal essays by a native historian, visual artist, urban researcher, and travel writer stitch together the complicated emotions and societal issues that affect everyday island living.

Click on an image below to read each section.


Pandemic Essays Hawaii
Image by Matthew Dekneef

I. Finding Aloha in the Time of Covid-19

Essay by Noelani Arista

A writer and native historian ponders the meaning of aloha in a pandemic world starved of connection.

“I will never again take for granted the ambient caress of an anonymous crowd in a restaurant or movie theater,” writes Noelani Arista. “Nor the ability to hug my parents, to give lei, or oli.”

II. Disrupting the Social Order (or Not)

Essay by Marika Emi

A visual artist processes our collective transition into a post-pandemic society, and the complicated emotions that come with it.

“We straddle these experiences, we lose our balance, slip, and we find ourselves immersed when we least anticipate,” writes Marika Emi.

Pandemic Essays Hawaii
Image by Marika Emi
Pandemic Essays Hawaii
Image by @misterver

III. Questioning Home in the Archipelago

Essay by Tina Grandinetti

An urban researcher on how the pandemic, and the looming flood of evictions, have compounded Hawai‘i’s already dire housing crisis.

“I was struck by the cruelty of a system that pushes people to the margins and then blames them for needing to exist somewhere,” writes Tina Grandinetti.

IV. Managing the Collective Silence

Essay by Shannon Wianecki

A travel writer on the pandemic lockdown’s silver lining as she reflects on the self-discoveries that can only be found amid moments of great pause.

“Everyone around the globe is sharing this singular, surreal experience,” writes Shannon Wianecki. “How remarkable that we’ve been given this moment of pause. It’s come at a great cost. I hope the lessons stick.”

Pandemic Essays Hawaii
Image by @misterver