It’s November 1, the official launch date for The Art of Touch: A Collection of Prose and Poetry from the Pandemic and Beyond.

In this book, which I co-edited with Joan Schweighardt and which includes one of my own personal essays, the unique voices of thirty-nine of some of the most creative thinkers of our times are brought together to consider the profound impact of one of our five main senses: touch.

Psychologists, healers, massage therapists, academics, creative writers, and others reflect on or tell personal stories about what it means to be able to touch or experience touch, or to have to go without it—as so many did and still do because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They explore how transmissions such as texting may impede opportunities for touch, while those like Zoom may make it possible for people who otherwise might be left behind to stay “in touch.” From the experience of touching beloved animals to the life-changing ways in which books and performances can touch us, virtually all aspects of touch are acknowledged in these pages.

For some, the pandemic feels as if it’s in the rear-view mirror. For others, it is still rearing its head with positive tests resulting in anything from mild symptoms to hospitalization. Just last week, my husband attended the funeral of a friend with pre-existing conditions who tragically passed away after contracting the virus. She was just 70, had recently completed her doctorate in clinical social work, and was doing real good in the world.

Regardless of whether the pandemic still affects the way you live, the psychological and practical affects of what we went through are likely to linger for years. This book explores the concept of touch during a time that none of us ever could have imagined we’d experience. I’d love to hear your impressions when you read it!