ROCHESTER, Minn. – Mary Amundsen, 83, visited a friend’s lake house in October 2020, as the United States headed for 228,000 COVID deaths and well over 8 million cases. She took her dog, Molly (a rescue and generally cheerful sweetheart).
When she arrived, Mary learned from a friend that there had been mice in the living room. They were gone, but the smell lingered enough to terrify Molly, who had faced larger and familiar rodents with aplomb.
“For three days she was right next to my leg,” Amundsen said. “I had no way of explaining to him that it was a very small animal. “
With a BS in nursing and an MS in counseling, Amundsen quickly drew parallels between Molly’s uncertainty about the unfamiliar scent and her own fears of the coronavirus – still a mysterious, albeit clearly threatening, presence in her life.
“Molly’s” Anxiety / contributed cover art
She wrote the screenplay for “Molly’s anxiety,”A short graphic novel about fear in the days of COVID-19, including coping mechanisms and resources for people suffering in the same way.
She contacted her grandson, Micah Amundsen, with the completed manuscript. Micah, 25 years old, previously published fantasy comic series “Cursed”, and has a supernatural LGBTQ + webcomic, “The roommate from hell.”
Mary thought “Molly’s Anxiety” might fall flat without visuals, while Micah’s evocative illustrations would make her a valuable resource for children, teens, and adults struggling with anxiety.
Mary has also seen an increase in anxiety among the younger generations, who have come of age as housing, employment and their health are all woefully uncertain. She hoped some people would use the book to recognize symptoms of anxiety and seek treatment if other coping strategies didn’t work.
Micah Amundsen (they / them) said they wanted the project to give a perspective on the ongoing pandemic.
“It’s a scary, abstract, supernatural kind of horror,” they said. “It’s hard to conceptualize. “
And it’s unlikely to be the last pandemic, the Amundsens noted – which means the lessons of “Molly’s anxiety” will be useful for years to come.
Mary, Molly and Micah Amundsen / contributed picture
The Amundsens will be signing copies of “Molly’s Anxiety” from 10 am to noon on Saturday August 7, at Book review, 1618 Highway 52 N., Rochester.
The books will cost $ 5 at signing, or can be purchased online at https://gum.co/PFLHC. Micah Amundsen will also have copies of their other graphic novels for signature.