How Are You Today – Bonnie Lane

Image credit: Harley Bell

Bonnie Lane

How Are You Today – Episode 2

Instagram handle @missbonnielane


Kiera Brew Kurec 0:00
Hello and welcome to Pro Prac I’m Kiera Brew Kurec.

Nick Breedon 0:03
And I’m Nick Breedon. You’re listening to how you today, A spin off series where we’ll call an artist and check in with how Coronavirus is affecting them mentally and physically and ask them to share their worries and their hopes for the future.


Bonnie Lane 0:37

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:38
Bonnie! How you going?

Bonnie Lane 0:41
I am doing pretty good. Yeah, considering the circumstances. I’m feeling pretty great. I’m doing some papier mâché, The sun is shining. I’m having a good day.

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:54
That’s cool. What are you making papier mâché of?

Bonnie Lane 0:57
I am making a papier mâché vase out of recycled materials as a sample for the kids I’m teaching online.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:05
Cool. That sounds great.

Bonnie Lane 1:08

Nick Breedon 1:09
Where are the… What kids are you teaching? Are you still teaching in the States?

Bonnie Lane 1:14
Yes. So I was teaching in this arts and literacy program. It’s an after school program at public schools in New York. And yeah, I’m still teaching the same kids. And it’s on New York hours. So I get up at 3:45am. And I teach until 8am. On zoom.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:37

Nick Breedon 1:38
what a life!

Bonnie Lane 1:39
Yeah. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. But I’m definitely starting to get used to it and starting to be quite fun teaching online actually.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:48
Yeah, are you then needing to crash out afterwards or you like up and ready for the day.

Bonnie Lane 1:54
I do a couple of things for about two hours and like, take a walk and have some breakfast and do some journal writing. And then I have a two hour nap.

Kiera Brew Kurec 2:06
Cool. That sounds like you got a pretty good system going.

Bonnie Lane 2:10
Yeah, I’ve just finally started to get used to it. But I was a wreck for about the first three weeks trying to do this.

Kiera Brew Kurec 2:16
I bet!.

Um, for people who are listening, do you mind kind of giving us a run through how you have been affected? Because obviously you are no longer in the States where you were?

Bonnie Lane 2:29
Yep, sure. So I’ve been living in the U.S for about nine years with a couple of times I’ve been back in Melbourne for a few months at a time and been living in New York. And so I was planning and I have my teaching job there. And I was planning to come to Melbourne on April 5 for a three week holiday. And then the school closed, and things started to get look really bad in New York. And so you towards the end of March, I decided, well actually, I decided within two days that I really needed to get back if I was like, because I was looking like the borders were going to shut. So I had to buy a new ticket altogether, because I could not reach QANTAS no matter how hard I tried. So I could not contact my boyfriend in Australia because he was away on a 10 day Silent Retreat. So I couldn’t tell him what was going on, really crazy time to be doing that. Anyway, I finally did get in contact with him. And he said, just go ahead and book your ticket. So I booked a ticket on the 17th of March left on the 19th, which was my birthday. I was supposed to be moving house on the first of April. So I just packed up all my stuff the day before I left and took it to the new place and just dumped it there. And yeah, and then came back on the 19th and did my two weeks at home isolation I just missed like I didn’t have to do the hotel quarantine thing. And yeah, I don’t know how long I’ll be here for I was originally thinking that I’ll probably be able to go back by around May 31st and obviously that’s not going to happen, and so now, my plan is to hopefully go back by September when the schools open again in New York if that happens, but also it’s looking like maybe that’s not even going to happen. I have no idea.

Kiera Brew Kurec 4:44
Wow, what a…

It’s so crazy how everything moved so fast. And now we’re in like such a long limbo. Like and we don’t know how to happen and everyone had to make such snap decisions and not knowing When things are gonna return, or like how you said, with all your possessions being in a new house and not being able to go there like that’s, that’s crazy.

Bonnie Lane 5:10
Yes, there’s a waiting to find out if there’s going to be a rent freeze or anything like that. So no one knows what’s happening with that. And yeah, it’s pretty weird. I mean for everyone to just be waiting, like, I hate the feeling of waiting. And now I’ve just sort of now I’ve decided to the plan is to go back in September, rather than waiting around to find out what happens. That might change, but it’s helping me to at least like move on a bit and try to I don’t know, get some work started in Melbourne and accept that I’m here and not, I don’t know, be constantly, Yeah, thinking about when I can go back or not.

Kiera Brew Kurec 5:54
Yeah, I want to ask you about what you’re working on. But I really quickly want to ask just the kids that you’re teaching. Do you know how they’re going? like, what they’re facing right now, I mean, what all children are facing around the world is pretty hard. But like, I can’t imagine what it must be like for kids in New York right now.

Unknown Speaker 6:16
Yeah, it’s pretty hard for them. I mean, for multiple reasons, obviously, like, I know, quite a lot of people that are directly affected by people who have been sick, or who have passed away from COVID. So everyone there is sort of connected personally, to Yeah, some kind of really serious situation. So that’s obviously affecting them pretty badly. But otherwise, like, they’re pretty resilient and they do have school online. The program that I’m working for is really fantastic, and they get to do all these art projects and, and they get to talk to each other. So they’re in this class with each other. So there’s a lot of socializing and stuff. But obviously, also, they’re living in tiny places. And most of the kids I work with are from like, lower income families. So they also don’t have like, some of them have no art material. So that’s why I’m using toilet paper and old coffee cups and like, whatever I can find around the house, because some of them like don’t even have like yet any colour pencils or something. So But mostly, they’re just kind of bored, you know, and they just really want to go back to school. They will loving it first being at home. But now Yeah, they just want to go back to school. But they’re great. And it’s Yeah, it’s actually been really fun. It was really stressful at first, but now I feel like you kind of get to know them and the families a lot better, because all this weird stuff happens in zoom, where you see what’s going on inside their houses and stuff. And so, yeah, so yeah, yeah, they’re doing all right.

Nick Breedon 8:08
That’s good to hear. So

Kiera Brew Kurec 8:09
good to know, also that they have that program.

Nick Breedon 8:12
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, said that. You’re, you’re gonna be here for a little while until maybe September. Is there anything that you’re working on that you are sort of trying to tee up to keep yourself kind of going until then?

Bonnie Lane 8:30
Well, I mean, I want to I kind of started a lot of projects last year, and then I had a really awful year and had like some pretty serious mental health stuff going on, which I have really sorted out and really needed to deal with. So I sort of took a break from, I guess, like professional stuff, and I like postponed to show which is obviously going to be even further postponed now. And just focused more on like getting my life and health in order. And so now I want to get back to a project that I did start around that time, which is like a probably like 45 minute solo performance show that is based on that experience of basically having a mental breakdown. So that’s what I’m planning on working on.

Kiera Brew Kurec 9:27
Wow! That’s some pretty intense stuff, working through in a very, like, intense time. But we look forward to seeing what what comes out the other side. I think it’s interesting as well with performance, like how that will be such an important medium on the other side of this as well.

Bonnie Lane 9:52
Yeah, I mean, I don’t really know what’s going to happen with that. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. And I mean, I guess we just have to adapt, like, depending on, you know, audiences or how people can view the work. I was thinking about doing some online stuff, but I don’t know, I feel like it’s a bit flooded at the moment. And it’s, it’s really hard not having like that immediate audience response. So, yeah, I don’t know how it’s gonna change,

Nick Breedon 10:24
You know, performance is so reliant on space as well. So it really, I think, yeah, it’s going to be really interesting to see how, you know, doing, you know, like you said before, with the families on zoom, like doing a performance, you know, on zoom for 45 minutes, and then having somebody sort of duck through the back of the screen to get a coffee cup or whatever, you know, it really does, you know, this is such a reliance on performance, often, to where it’s actually being performed. So it’s going to be interesting to see how it kind of gets translated. Now in maybe more of a domestic setting, or how it kind of transform.

Kiera Brew Kurec 11:02

Bonnie Lane 11:03
Yeah, it will be interesting to see what happens. I mean, I don’t, I feel like I’ve felt a little guilty for being sort of unmotivated lately, but I don’t think I should be feeling guilty about it. But I think that thing of not being able to know when I’m going to have a show again, or when anyone is going to say my art again, it’s, yeah, I mean, it does make it hard to get motivated to keep making stuff when you don’t really when you don’t have a deadline or anything. So, or any space. I haven’t had any space. So I just rented a studio yesterday. So I think that’s going to change things a lot.

Kiera Brew Kurec 11:44
Yeah, I think you really hit the nail on the head there with not knowing, not knowing when we’ll have audiences or, and spaces to show like leaves so much such a feeling of uncertainty around how, like, how you approach making and your timelines and your energy levels and output levels.

So just finishing up, we just wanted to ask you, is there anything that you’re hopeful for as time passes?

Bonnie Lane 12:17
I mean, I do feel well, I feel to start with, I feel really grateful that I’m in Australia right now, because it feels like I feel like it does feel hopeful around Melbourne, like when I have actually left the house for essential reasons. Um, there’s like kind of a nice feel, you can feel like the energies starting to lift a little. And I feel like the restrictions will hopefully, like, you know, be lifting slightly. So I guess like, I don’t know if hopeful is the right word for this. But I guess it’s nice to know that we’ll be sort of grateful for smaller and appreciate smaller things in life, like being able to have dinner with four people. Or, you know, go and have a picnic. I don’t remember the last time I ever had a picnic, but I’m definitely going to have a picnic if that’s the only thing we’re allowed to do. I’m hopeful that like people, like appreciate more of like, kind of like a slowness, and not being so caught up maybe with like career and success and things like that. It feels like where we have to live a little bit more like, each day by day and in the moment. And yeah, I kind of like that feeling.

Nick Breedon 13:34
Yeah, I think that’s part of why people are finding it so hard. You know, it’s it’s such a such a change of pace. But yeah. I’m hopeful as well, that things will slow down a little bit. Maybe for a little while. Yeah, at least.

Bonnie Lane 13:50
Yeah, definitely.

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:52
I was. I’ve been writing letters to friends, and have really struggling with sending text messages because I feel like texts are just like, not the pace that I can work at right now. Like there is nothing happening that fast.

Bonnie Lane 14:08
Yeah its exhausting

Kiera Brew Kurec 14:11
you know, in a letter once a week is like, I can summarize everything that I’ve done.

Bonnie Lane 14:16
Oh, I love that. That’s such a nice idea. I’ve been writing letters, but I’m just really bad at sending them.

Kiera Brew Kurec 14:24
I’ll send you a letter.

Bonnie Lane 14:26
Oh, I would love that. That would make me so happy.

Kiera Brew Kurec 14:29
Before you go Bonnie can I just ask you if you have a public Instagram account or website that you’d like to share so people can follow what you’re up to?

Unknown Speaker 14:39
Yeah. My Instagram is @missbonnielane and my website is

Kiera Brew Kurec 14:47
Thank you so much for speaking with us today. It was really great to hear what you’re up to.

Bonnie Lane 14:54
Well, thank you so much for having me. Speak soon. All right. See you later.

Kiera Brew Kurec 14:57

Nick Breedon 14:58

We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation and pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging and the owners of the lands that this podcast reaches you on today. We extend that respect to all First Nations people listening today and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Kiera Brew Kurec 15:27
How are you today has been generously supported by the city of Melbourne’s quick response grants.

Follow us at Pro Prac podcast on Instagram or email us at if you haven’t already, please subscribe on whatever you listen to podcasts on.

Nick Breedon 15:42
Please stay in touch. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well.

City of Melbourne Logo

Pro Prac acknowledges City of Melbourne’s generous contribution to How Are You Today? through their Quick Response grants program