Mixed Bag


This lyric essay explores the relationship of environmental grief to grief triggered by the pandemic, political polarization, misogyny, and aging. As the author examines the impact of single-use plastic bags before and during COVID, she reflects on the plastic bag scene in the film American Beauty, and she grapples with her mother’s transition to assisted living. Also on the author’s mind are Katy Perry’s song “Firework,” the two most recent presidential elections, Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction,” and the impossibility of grasping the devastation caused by plastic pollution and COVID. The author hopes her essay offers company to others like herself who struggle with grief and who wonder how we can move forward.



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