Laura Larson Oral History, 2021/02/21


Title (Dublin Core)

Laura Larson Oral History, 2021/02/21

Description (Dublin Core)

Self description: “My name is Laura, and I am in two bands right now. I am in a band called Scrunchies and a band called Kitten Forever. I play guitar, base, drums, and I sing in those two bands. I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For work, I work at a community cooperative grocery store, in an administrative position, but one that is community outreach based and have a lot to do with meeting and coordinating with our community partners, a lot of the work that I do is about mutual aid, and helping out the community with the resources that we have available to us. Besides that I am a visual artist, I like to paint, I like to draw, I like to read books, and I live in a little duplex with my partner and our cat Sissy.”

Some of the things we spoke about included:
- In addition to performing in the bands Scrunchies and Kitten Forever, working for a community grocer and its ties to health activism.
- Income and racial disparities in Minnesota.
- The fear that comes with being uninsured in the United States.
- The national confusion around the values of masking and other safety precautions and the burden placed on individuals to make these decisions in the absence of clear and consistent messaging.
- The significance of shutting down music events while keeping sporting events going.
- Media representation of event cancelations, freezers of bodies, and overwhelmed hospitals.
- Living less than a mile from where George Floyd was murdered and movements to defund the police.
- How the ongoing destruction of the earth conditioned the pandemic and the enduring importance of climate change.
- Grocery store workers being essential workers who still did not receive vaccination prioritization.
- Collective trauma and that fear begets fear.
- Making and consuming art as a form of self-care.
- How new the internet still is as a technology.

Cultural references: Save Our Stages, The Atlantic article “Cancel Everything”.

See also:

Recording Date (Dublin Core)

Creator (Dublin Core)

Contributor (Dublin Core)

Link (Bibliographic Ontology)

Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)

Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Contributor's Tags (a true folksonomy) (Friend of a Friend)

Date Submitted (Dublin Core)


Date Modified (Dublin Core)


Date Created (Dublin Core)


Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Kit Heintzman

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Laura Larson

Location (Omeka Classic)

United States of America

Format (Dublin Core)


Language (Dublin Core)


Duration (Omeka Classic)


abstract (Bibliographic Ontology)

Some of the things we spoke about included:
- In addition to performing in the bands Scrunchies and Kitten Forever, working for a community grocer and its ties to health activism.
- Income and racial disparities in Minnesota.
- The fear that comes with being uninsured in the United States.
- The national confusion around the values of masking and other safety precautions and the burden placed on individuals to make these decisions in the absence of clear and consistent messaging.
- The significance of shutting down music events while keeping sporting events going.
- Media representation of event cancelations, freezers of bodies, and overwhelmed hospitals.
- Living less than a mile from where George Floyd was murdered and movements to defund the police.
- How the ongoing destruction of the earth conditioned the pandemic and the enduring importance of climate change.
- Grocery store workers being essential workers who still did not receive vaccination prioritization.
- Collective trauma and that fear begets fear.
- Making and consuming art as a form of self-care.
- How new the internet still is as a technology.

Cultural references: Save Our Stages, The Atlantic article “Cancel Everything”.

Transcription (Omeka Classic)

Kit Heintzman 00:00

Laura Larson 00:02

Kit Heintzman 00:04
Would you please start by telling me your full name, the name, the date, the time and your location?

Laura Larson 00:10
My name is Laura Larsen. It is February 22 2021. It's 4:35pm. And I am in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Kit Heintzman 00:22
And do you consent to having this interview recorded, digitally uploaded and publicly released under Creative Commons License attribution noncommercial sharealike? Yes. Would you please start by introducing yourself to anyone who might be listening to this? What might you want them to understand about you and the place that you're speaking from?

Laura Larson 00:42
Sure, um, let's see. Well, like I said, my name is Laura. And I am in two bands. Right now I am in a band called scrunchies. And I'm in a band called kitten forever. I play guitar, bass drums, and I sang in those two bands. I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And for work, I work at a community cooperative grocery store, and I kind of work in an administrative position, but one that is community outreach based and have a lot to do with, you know, meeting and coordinating with our community partners. And a lot of the work that I do is kind of based around mutual aid and sort of helping out the community with the resources that we have available to us. Besides that, I am a visual artist, I like to paint I like to draw, I like to read books, and I live in a little duplex in South Minneapolis with my partner and our cat, Susie.

Kit Heintzman 01:57
And would you start by telling me a little bit about your experiences with health and healthcare infrastructures, before the outbreak?

Laura Larson 02:05
Mm hmm. So let's see what my experience with health has been. You know, I think I have a pretty fortunate circumstance in that there were parts of my life that led me to view health in a way that I don't think a lot of people have the opportunity to view it, and then they don't have the opportunity to make changes within their own lives to better their own health. But I was able to sort of take a look at, you know, like, I'm having these issues with, you know, my body or my health or my mental health. And I was able to identify where those were coming from and address them. And I don't, I think that I'm very lucky in that I can live in, in a world where I can access things like that I've had health insurance, for the majority of my adult life. I have, you know, access to the internet and education that helps me learn more about nutrition and physical health. And, you know, my, you know, I am a I am a cisgendered woman and my reproductive system and everything that goes into that, and I've had access to all of those things. And due to that, I've been able to be really cognizant of how I address like my own personal health issues and make lifestyle changes based on those things. And that led me into the career that I have right now, which is working at a cooperative grocery store, where you know, there is more of a health and wellness minded mentality around everyday living in and the things you consume, and how they change your mindset and how they affect you in ways that I don't think a lot of people have the opportunity to really learn about growing up, let alone be able to actively take action on and change within their own lives. And I grew up in the suburbs, and I certainly didn't know any of that stuff. And it took some pretty, you know, confusing and unfortunate health issues in my own life to sort of realize, like, Oh, I like something has to change here. And if no one else is going to give me the resources to figure it out. I'll just I'll have to do it myself. And it was a lot of trial and error. And I'm, you know, by no means saying that I have I'm in perfect health now or anything but I understand the the resources that I have available to me that I can access to sort of at least have some more of the puzzle pieces put together that a lot of folks don't really have the opportunity to have especially in a city like Minneapolis where there's huge income disparities, huge racial disparities, and when What I have access to is not what is the common experience here. And I feel very lucky that I was able to find an understanding of health at a relatively young age, probably in my late 20s, you know, but it's, yeah, that's, that's kind of where I'm at with that right now.

Kit Heintzman 05:23
Would you talk a little bit about how you see the relationship between individual's choice and structural policy when it comes to health again, more broadly?

Laura Larson 05:34
Mm hmm. Um, I think the the structural system we have in place in this country right now to take care of people's health is abysmal. I think it is an absolute tragedy, that the choices we have to make given the, the systems that are set up, are a matter of life and money. And I think that when people start having to make these choices, they don't, there's no backup, there's no, there's nothing to fall back on. And it's, it's disturbing, and it's, I can't even, it's one of those things where you look around and you really see, like, there's people, my friends don't have health care. And everyday, they live in fear of something happening to them. My partner didn't have health insurance for years, and everyday, it was really frightening. And it's, you know, it's inaccessible, it's an affordable, it's, it's impossible to access, and then when you do have access to it, there's still a number of things that can go wrong, or, you know, you're paying the insurance company to pay to go to the doctor, and, you know, if something comes up, that's an additional huge chunk of money. And so you end up with, with this system of people who have to make all of these choices about their health, when they also have to juggle childcare, and whether they can keep the roof over their heads and whether they can, you know, have dinner that fills, you know, fills their stomach for the night. And it's It's barbaric, and it's archaic, and I cannot, I It's hard to wrap my head around every single day to think about like this, the systems that we have in place that that are really, really hurtful to so many people. And the people that are in charge of these systems are not doing anything to change that or fix it.

Kit Heintzman 07:44
Could you tell me a little bit about what the restrictions have been like where you are and how that's impacted you personally, professionally.

Laura Larson 07:53
So in Minneapolis, we kind of we ended up being in the same sort of, you know, every city across the United States kind of felt like they were shutting down one right after the other within a a couple of days, you know, each other last March. And it initially just felt, you know, it was everything. Everything was was shut down. Everyone was holed up inside. And there were so many questions about what, what can we do? What can't we do? Do we have to bleach the food we're bringing home like all of this stuff, and causing the narrative around wearing masks was really crazy.

Kit Heintzman 08:40
Can I pause you for a second? Ah, yeah. My internet lost you for half a second.

Laura Larson 08:48
Okay, cool. Um, let's see, where should I pick up from? So I think in Minnesota as with the rest, you know, the rest of the country, there was really confusing guidance on whether or not to wear masks, and I think there was a lot of a narrative of, you know, don't wear masks, it doesn't help you're taking away resources for people that need it. And, you know, there's been a lot of confusion and misinformation that's been bouncing around at all levels of, of, of this scenario in that, you know, you you kind of hear messaging in one way that says, like, you know, don't use these resources, and then it shifts and then you have this information that says like, this is mandatory now and then you have this other you know, thing where you have people that kind of just believe all this different spectrum. And so, you know, we have restrictions in place still, but they kind of fluctuate all the time and it's been really hard to kind of Guess do anything, but it's been difficult seeing people sort of decide on their own, it feels like we almost have to take all the information in and decide for ourselves what the best option for our community is going to be. And that varies from person to person. For myself, I've been staying at home a lot, I am really, really lucky to be able to work from home for a lot of this. Creatively, it's been really frustrating because a big part of my life before the shutdowns started happening was playing shows, and going on tour with my bands. And I can't do that, obviously, if there's no shows, and I think something that myself and a lot of the artistic community and a lot of musicians have had a really hard time dealing with is how things like the, like professional sports, for example, professional sports are still able to go on and not even perfect, like amateur sports, like kids, kids, Little League and stuff, like they still have a lot of these things going on. And there's been no respite for musicians at all. There's nothing like a word we're relegated to live shows that we have to set up via zoom ourselves, and there's no infrastructure in place to be able to help that system of creativity keep going in, there's been some initiatives like save our stages, which, you know, demands that like, a lot of that the resources that are going to a lot of these other places get sent into venues, basically, because a lot of these venues that have been around forever, that sustained a lot of these, you know, creative people and performers coming through, don't have any sort of backing to be able to survive a moment like this. And having having that knowledge and not being able to see the end of this pandemic and not being able to see if these places that we've played 1000 times are going to still exist in six months, is really scary. And it's scary as as someone who's been a touring musician for over 15 years. What it you know, what does it mean for the future of my Beyonds and it's, you know, I think that having those restrictions in place is extremely important. I'm not looking for everything to reopen by any means. But I think that the weight of where we're putting our energy into who has the access and the resources to be able to function during a pandemic, just really highlights where our priorities in this country lie.

Kit Heintzman 13:00
Would you tell me a little bit about what you remember hearing about when you first heard about COVID-19, so sort of first reactions a year ago.

Laura Larson 13:11
I remember one of the first things I read when I first heard about COVID-19, that made me feel like it was very serious, was an article in The Atlantic magazine that said, cancel everything that was the headline, or that was the title of the article was canceled everything. And I remember just even seeing that headline be like, Oh, this is really serious, like this is this is that that weird feeling where you just you know, you never thought you would expect to see the day where something like this would happen. And then all of a sudden it was happening in there had certainly been, you know, the weeks leading up to that there had been whispers that's, you know, turned into like, wait a second, this is like actually getting more and more intense. And, like, I remember having conversations with my friends, you know, and my co workers being like, are we how scared should we be right now like kind of not really understanding like the level of fear that we should be having and then starting to see the reports coming out of Italy and those stories of you know, doctors working around the clock and like their hallways just lined with patients and seeing some of those images and seeing you know, the the refrigerated trucks outside of hospitals taking away bodies and all of that stuff was just like it was it was jarring and it was really jarring to think that like that's coming here and you know hearing people say like, Oh, you were gonna know people that died from this we're gonna like everybody is going to know somebody that ends up dying for from this. And I know that today. You know, as of this recording today, or yesterday, we passed half a million deaths from this and In America, not even you know, and it's it's weird. It's a it's a really, I think, I think kind of looking back a year ago and thinking, what, what it would be like in the number of questions that we had then. And the number of answers that we have now are still, you know, is I still have a lot of the same questions that I had in March of 2020. And it's, you know, it's, it's, it's a strange thing. It's a strange time. And it was it was strange hearing about it. And, you know, I think we're people are adaptive, and I've adapted and other people have adapted. But I think that this is really it's shining a light on a lot of things that maybe we didn't want to look at before. And that was not something I expected when I first started hearing about it.

Kit Heintzman 15:54
This is another really broad question, but what have some what have been some of the most important issues on your mind over the course of the last year.

Laura Larson 16:05
Some of the most important issues on my mind this year are just how how glaring the income and racial disparities are in this country. And I think that it isn't something that I was unaware of before, by any means. My job has a lot to do with racial justice, and abolition and social justice issues. But I think that the, the narrative in this country has really, I don't know, has really aligned with like, what what we're seeing in terms of, you know, who are the people dying the most from this? Who are the people that have access to health care because of this, who are the people who, you know, lose the biggest number of family members because of this, it's, it's no, it's no surprise, and it's no coincidence, that it's people of color that are the most affected by these things. And that, to me, is the, probably the biggest tragedy of this whole thing. And I think, you know, in some aspects is a reason that things haven't been, you know, sped up to get fixed any quicker or to get resolved any quicker is because we have a tendency to just, you know, brush people of color under the rug in this country. And I you know, living in Minneapolis, I live less than a mile from where George Floyd was murdered last summer and seeing the, the reaction worldwide about that, and just having the lid blown off and say, like, you can't hide from this anymore, you can't ignore these these systemic issues that are, you know, insidiously hiding within the cracks of this country. I think is a, you know, in a weird way, kind of a blessing, because I think that it really forced a lot of people who didn't want to think about this stuff, to think about it. And I think if, you know, if there was one thing that really has been the most, yeah, at the top of my mind, throughout this entire past year, it would be the systems that are in place that are actively keeping people of color down low income people down, and in an impossible situation all the time.

Kit Heintzman 18:49
This question, harks back to something you already touched on. So if you if you're like, No, I did that. That's cool. But I'm wondering what health means to

Laura Larson 19:02
Health health to me, it means bodily autonomy and self empowerment to make choices to better yourself and your community. And I think there's community health in the, you know, in the ways that we take care of each other and in the ways that we help each other access things, and there's health that we, you know, that we bring to the table every day when we move about and function in our lives. And I think I mean, I It's so it's cliche, but I really think you don't have anything if you don't have your health and I think, you know, if, if, if there's not any sort of if there's no systems in place that help you maintain that level of health, then it's you lose your autonomy and you lose your independence and you lose your self empowerment. And it's, you know, those, those are the most important things. And if you don't have it, what do you have?

Kit Heintzman 20:20
How do you perceive the current medical infrastructure to be handling COVID-19? Where you are and when you're answering, think about sort of like the scales of where you're answering. So think about the difference between a local hospital versus a statewide, those kinds of things.

Laura Larson 20:36
Totally, you know, I I think, I'm sorry, my, my partner's shoveling right now. So I'm sorry, if that ends up being a weird background noise. It's Minnesota, we've got snow. I think as far as the the medical system in place in Minneapolis, as far as I can tell, things have been really smooth. As much as they can be during this whole process. I don't think we've run out of ICU beds, I don't think we've, you know, had any sort of real, like, oh, man, like, we really got to hit the panic button on this. I think that I I think I think there are some political issues that are the most frustrating thing about this whole thing, and a lot of pressure coming from a lot of different places, especially when you kind of get outside of the city and start looking statewide and into maybe more conservative talents that that's, you know, put pressure on the governor to open up, you know, restaurants and stuff when maybe it isn't the best time to do that. And so, I think that's been a little frustrating to watch, because you can see in real time how people bend to political pressure and and don't take, you know, the necessary steps to keep people safe, because they're afraid of the repercussions of a certain group of people. And I think we see that on a statewide level. And I think we see that, you know, in in a smaller level within Minneapolis as well. Our mayor has notoriously been really spineless throughout this entire process. And I think, you know, his, his spinelessness is a little more towards our, the political end of that spectrum and how he responded to, you know, the calls for defunding the police and things after George Floyd was murdered. But I think, you know, I think Minneapolis has done a fairly good job getting information about COVID out to the communities that are around the city, including those who don't speak English as a first language, we have a really large East African Community, and I know one of the main priorities was getting information to those communities. And I think we're pretty good at stepping up to that. And a lot of times, you know, it's not necessarily the city or the systems of the city that are going to do that, it's going to be a lot of local organizations, and a lot of places that work, you know, already are working and have working relationships with these communities that are, are sort of meant as nonprofit resources or community groups, or, like, you know, like, health services and stuff. And I think that this, you know, this past year has really shown me to, like, if you're going to rely on anybody, like those are the people to rely on because they're not going to bend to political pressure, they're not going to bend to, you know, feeling like they're gonna lose votes if they do the right thing. And so, if, you know, if nobody's looking out for us, we're looking out for each other, I guess.

Kit Heintzman 24:09
What are some of the things that you would like for your own health and the health of those around you?

Laura Larson 24:20
I would like people to have access to information about their own health and about their own bodies, and that people could have access to food that isn't pumped full of preservatives or isn't real food at an affordable price, and to have access to nature and green, the greenery outside. I think that's like massively important for people's health. Mental Health services for everybody. I think, you know, those and like all of this stuff, starting at a young age and not, you know, I think I think starting that sort of education and that sort of empowerment, young with kids, it sticks with them. And it, it crafts, a society that is more invested in health and, you know, is is not, is able to balance, you know, like, this urgent, like, we got to move fast time just grab this food, and like eat it really quickly, because it's cheap, and it's there and kind of shifted into like, a little more like, mindfulness with how we are get, like giving these resources to people, because I think, I don't know, it's like, I get it, if you don't have the time and you don't have the resources, health is not a priority until it's gone. And so I think, prevent, like, preventative measures, and being you know, having having resources that people can access before health gets bad, I think is going to be the number one thing.

Kit Heintzman 26:18
What do you think it is that needs to be done in order for us to attain that?

Laura Larson 26:27
I mean, I think it's a lot I, I think I think, you know, healthy food access is something that I look at every day, and I think about every day, and the amount of people, you know, in on my block that you know, couldn't afford food or that couldn't afford good food. I think that, you know, you could you could trace that all the way to, you know, what, what industries are getting in, you know, subsidized by the government? And what sort of, you know, where do we, where do we put our priority is in terms of how we choose how to feed our community is and, you know, how, like, what is it about our land that, you know, we have stolen and turned into this inaccessible, fast paced, environmentally degrading, like system, you know, it's, there's so there's, I, there's so much that needs to be done with it. And I, I wouldn't even know where to start, I don't think, I mean, I think there's a level of like, you know, individualism that comes with it, if you know, it's, you can make a choice to do things, but really, like, you can't make a choice, if you don't have the choice, you know, it's like, I can make a choice to be vegan, because I have access to vegan food, I can make a choice to ride my bike, because I have access to bike paths that bring me to work like I can, I can make these choices, because I have the opportunity to make these choices. But I think if the systems aren't in place to allow for people to make those choices, and they don't have any information or education or or time or anything, if they've got a million other things to worry about, you know, of course, you can't make those individual choices, and it's not going to come down to every single person, you know, growing a little garden to feed their family. It'd be cute if if that was a solution, but that's not going to be the solution. And and I think, you know, if we, if we keep prioritizing factory farming and oil, you know, and all of this stuff that's really just treading the earth to pieces and then say like, Why is everyone so sick all the time? Like why do we have these pandemics? This is why what you know pandemic start because we are destroying the earth basically. And it's not you know, it sounds very like pie in the sky liberal talk or something to say that but I really think that's true. I think that like the way we treat the planet has a direct effect on how we treat ourselves and our health.

Kit Heintzman 29:22
May I ask what safety means to you? Mm hmm.

Laura Larson 29:29
Safety to me, means living in an honest life and not fear not fearing your surroundings and not fearing yourself and not fearing the systems. and the environment that surround you.

Kit Heintzman 30:05
How have you been determining what feels safe for you these days? And how have you been negotiating that with other people sharing space with you?

Laura Larson 30:13
Mm hmm. So I think when I'm looking, when I'm looking at what safety means, to me, I look at the facts of the scenario. So if I'm, you know, if I'm making an informed choice about, you know, if I should wear a mask at the grocery store, for example, I'm making that choice because I'm listening to experts on the matter, tell me that that's the safe choice to make. In the same way that you know, if, if I feel let's see, I think there might also be a level of like, gut instinct about things. And you know, if I feel unsafe, going outside, for a walk in my neighborhood at night, there's no expert telling me that that's not safe. But I inherently understand that, like, there is a level of unsafety as like a, you know, a cisgendered woman walking around outside at night, and that's just in our, it's in our bones, it's in our history, we know what that is, we know what it feels like. And being aware of that gut instinct, I think, has been a pretty good source of information for me too. And, you know, and I think being, you know, taking that with a grain of salt and not saying like, well, I know, I do feel safe at the grocery store without a mask on, it's like, I'm not, you know, going to override the medical opinion of someone to, like, you know, to, like, say that I personally feel safe doing something. But, um, I do think that's, there is a lot of, there seems to be a lot of gray area, in this pandemic, with how people approach their own visions of safety and approach their own. I don't want to say excuses, necessarily, but just sort of the way that everybody interacts with each other about it seems to be a little. Like, where can we be the exception to the rule sort of thing where, you know, some folks will think that it feels safe to hang out outside with their friends, some people don't think that's safe at all. And the, the overarching medical advice on that has kind of been a little gray area, wishy washy. And so it has been a little hard to, to say, like, well, who's right here, I mean, like, if you want to be ultimately safe, then you don't go out at all, you don't see anyone at all. And then when you do that, it's you know, it's kind of akin to abstinence based sex education or something where you're, it's, it's gonna happen anyway. So how do we do it in the safest way possible. And I think that's kind of where I've landed, and a lot of my peers have landed, where he, you know, I'm not personally going to go to a restaurant, like, I'm not going to go to a bar, that's not going to be my thing. I would hang out outside distance from my friends. But I would not hang out inside with my friends. So, you know, it's, it's, that's my personal take on what safety is. And I think a lot of the choices that we're making with that have to do with the communication we have with the people in our lives. And I talked to my partner about, you know, where we're at with our level of feeling safe going places, and and, yeah, kind of take it from there.

Kit Heintzman 34:02
How are you feeling about the immediate future? And what are some of the things you want for a longer term future?

Laura Larson 34:15
The immediate future feels. I think right now, the immediate future is a little frustrating because we're waiting on the vaccine. I think that's a distribution of the vaccine has been a little messy. It's messy in Minnesota right now. Right now, what the big push for is advocating for grocery store workers to have vaccine priority. And we don't even have all of our elderly population vaccinated yet. So it's, I think the immediate is kind of feeling frustrated with the slow process of vaccine roll outs in the state. And I know you know, we're not the only ones dealing with that and I don't know, I think collectively we're all and this is I think short term and long term. We're all kind of dealing with a lot of collective trauma right now around the events of the past year. And, you know, not only the pandemic, and you know, and and the effects of that, but the social uprising, the summer and the massive divide between political ideals and, you know, the rise of conspiracy theories, like I have family members that are like, deeply into conspiracy theories, and it's really, it's really hard and like, I don't I think that there's a big reconciliation that we're gonna have to make with stuff like that. With the siege of the Capitol with what's happening in Texas right now, just everything is and that's just in this country, you know, like, let alone what's happened with the rest of the world this past year. I think, you know, we take all of this in, and whether or not it's you know, immediately like, like, oh my gosh, oh, no, this is too much. It's, I think it just like seeps into us, and it's like within us so deep right now that I think there's there's going to have to be some healing that we all do. And I don't know what that looks like, I don't know how we're going to do that. And so that's, I don't I don't feel pessimistic about it. I just feel like I don't know, I feel like the you know, the short term and the long term are just big question marks right now. And I don't think the world should go back to the way it was before the pandemic. I don't think anything was working before then either. And I think the pandemic has really showed us how, how those systems have been so screwed up for so long. And now we all we can't ignore it anymore. And so yeah, what does that look like? I don't know, you know.

Kit Heintzman 36:56
I'm wondering if you'd be willing to share some of the ways that you've been taking care of yourself over the course of this past year?

Laura Larson 37:04
Yeah. So I've been taking care of myself through doing a lot of art and doing a lot of writing music. I've written a couple of albums during this process, and I've made a ton of paintings and been drawing a lot. I've been reading a lot of books. And I also, I, you know, I need to stay physically active to keep my brain from feeling sad. So I've been doing a lot, you know, I still have been like, doing my workouts in the basement and stuff like that. And, you know, I think I've, I think something that's really interesting about this whole year has been, you know, my, my personal approach to life has been keep my schedule packed, and keep busy, keep doing things and go on tour, and then come back and then jump right into this, and then jump right into that and just constantly be moving and constantly be busy, you know, and I think this pandemic just slammed the brakes on that for me. And at first, it was really hard for me like really, really hard, because that's not how that's not how I like to live my life. But I've sort of realized, like, oh, this was like, really necessary for me to have this slowdown, because I think there was something else some of my relationships were suffering because of it, I was not in tune with what I was actually interested in doing, or, you know, what I was enjoying versus what I was just doing, because it was on my schedule. It's freed up my brain in a way that I didn't really have the opportunity to before and so that, that level of kind of like self care has been, I don't know, like a pleasant surprise that I didn't think I would actually like, but it's actually kind of been good for me. So.

Kit Heintzman 39:05
All right, the last two questions. The first is that we're, I think, all pretty aware that there's a wealth of biomedical research going on right now. It's sort of a expectation, and we follow it however we like. But I'm wondering what kind of work you think people in the humanities and the social sciences should be doing right now?

Laura Larson 39:28
Ah, that's a good question. Well, okay, I'll come at this question, admitting, like, I am not an academic person, and I would never want to I mean, I've, I have a lot of academic friends. But I, and I would never want to be like, well, let me tell you what you should be focusing on but I do think, you know, our, I think the issues would be the same pressing issues that I think everybody should at least kind of be working on, which are climate change and social justice issues and equity. And, you know, whatever form that looks like for people in social sciences and humanities and stuff, I, I think that that at the end of the day is going to be the thing that we all need to kind of be focusing on in however it comes across in your field.

Kit Heintzman 40:30
So and this is the last question. This has been an oral history interview. And one of the assumptions I enter with as a historian is that I cannot guess what a historian 50 100 Or a few 100 years from now is going to value as a research question or be interested in. And I'm wondering if you had the chance to speak from this moment and tell someone from the future, what matters to you, and what kinds of stories you think should be preserved what you would hand to them?

Laura Larson 41:08
I think if I was to say anything about this moment in time, it would be that this moment in time is indeed as difficult as I think it will look, in retrospect. And I think that, I think that we, I think that people are really resilient, and the people have have now are very resilient people. And that we are really strong and adaptive. But the systems that are in place right now are as barbaric to us as they will probably feel in the future. And not everyone feels that way. Right now, there's a lot of communities that don't feel that way at all. They like the status quo.

Laura Larson 41:56
They think that multibillionaires deserve every penny that they have, and they they should keep it. And that's the they, they look down on their fellow person because they think that if they have to give anything up, it's going to be taking away something from them. And it's a really frustrating time knowing that there are so many of us in the same boat of understanding why we have the why, why we've been treated like second class citizens, as humans. And I think that I think we all inherently understand that that's happening. And I think that the way that everybody approaches something like that is going to be different. Some people look at it from a social standpoint of you know, ay, ay, ay, want everyone to feel elevated and to feel empowered, and to feel like they can survive. And there's other people that kind of think like, I want all those things, I want to feel empowered, I want to feel like I can survive, but I don't want to do it at the behest of someone you know, of myself losing something. And I think right now, the biggest thing to overcome is that there's a lot of fear. And there's a lot of fear, because there's a lot of fear. And I think that when we, when we have when we when we when I think about what the future looks like, and I look back on this moment, I know that it's going to feel like, wow, I can't believe they live like that. I can't believe the the health insurance system was the way it was poverty was the way it was. And I also think that, you know, you kind of have to pass through some things to make any sort of progress. And I think right now we're passing through something. And I think I'm hoping that something positive is going to come out of this because right now it feels really bleak, but I feel hopeful. I feel I want to feel hopeful, really badly. I really want to feel hopeful.

Kit Heintzman 44:21
I want to thank you so much for taking this time to answer my questions. And I just want to invite you at this moment if there's anything that you want to talk about related to COVID-19 or this past year that I haven't opened the space for to invite you to do so.

Laura Larson 44:40
I think if there was anything else I wanted to mention is the world of the internet is still pretty new and social media is still pretty new. And we're relying on a pretty new communication system to communicate a worldwide pandemic. And I think that's a really unique thing to think about. That we all have access to so much information within you know milliseconds. And I just, I don't know, it's just I think that I think it's going to, we're going to look back and there's going to be a lot of things about how we talked about this, and how we approached it and how we managed it that are going to seem really clear, looking forward, but right now feel like a total chaotic mess. And I think a big reason of that is because, you know, we've been living with the internet like it is now for a couple of decades, not even you know, and like social media is like still a relatively new thing. And, and I'm really curious to see kind of what, how that evolves and how you know what the takeaways from that are going to be because right now it feels it feels a little messy.

Item sets

This item was submitted on September 21, 2021 by [anonymous user] using the form “Upload” on the site “Oral Histories”:

Click here to view the collected data.

New Tags

I recognize that my tagging suggestions may be rejected by site curators. I agree with terms of use and I accept to free my contribution under the licence CC BY-SA