Forever…

Oh hi, just me here, thinking about stuff again. We emerged yesterday from ten days of frigid temps, snow, fog, and rain… by which I mean all of 2022 thus far… so today’s high near 60º will feel like a holiday. We may get to enjoy a couple days’ worth before the cold asserts itself again, and this reminder of spring is tantalizing. However… 

… BACK, that is.

A thought: I have three partial rolls of Forever stamps in a caddy on my desk. Considering the number of pieces of snail mail we send in a year’s time, that may be how long they last – forever. The post office will be a distant memory and someone will find these sticky tokens, and wonder… and if that turns out to be the most puzzling artifact in my house, I will have dodged a number of bullets.

If you’re looking for an exquisite read, I recommend The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles. There were passages that literally took my breath away, left me in tears, transported my winter carcass out of the cave. It’s a compelling, layered story beautifully told.

From the sublime to the ridiculous… I see this morning that “urine” is still trending on Twitter because all over America people who think they’re part of a master race are drinking their own pee. Horse meds with a piss chaser for “treating” COVID, as opposed to vaccines… anything to own the other half. This is actually where we find ourselves at the start of Pandemic, Year Three. I can step back, separate myself from all of it, and muse about the implications until ever-present reality steps in again and I want to circle the wagons for protection and support… and then I realize people I used to turn to aren’t there anymore and aren’t invested in what’s up. The shock of that knowledge has worn off, but the ache never leaves.

And then I come across other news and facts, and have to face it that the ridiculous is totally in vogue right now.

DISCLAIMER: The law has not yet been instituted, but it’s on the books.

Ready or not, sublime or ridiculous, we’re swimming in the waters of a new year, human-ing and hoping for the best. Each of us has challenges to meet, unique to us but universal to the race, and that’s where our hearts and minds will be. The year 2022 will inevitably be a stretch in ways we have yet to envision, so I hope we’ll all experience some “outside myself” moments, some chances to be there for someone else, to make those small differences that make ALL the difference. And if we find ourselves with softer hearts when (if) 2023 rolls around, we will have won something important.

*****

Old(er), not old. Age, like sex, happens 99% in the brain.

And that brings us full-circle back to forever, which we all wish belonged to us and maybe does, we’re just not sure how or where. Seems like an okay idea to live like it’s a fact… with everybody’s forever in mind.

Image

What’s the story?

When we sheltered from COVID-19 in March of 2020, I took for granted I’d be staving off cabin fever by reading some of the many books from my never-ending list, but it didn’t exactly work out that way. Those months turned out to be very much like dealing with the death of a loved one, and instead of feeling energized by voluntary captivity and freed to pursue any and all interests, I found myself in grief mode, focus lost, drifting with the hours. I did try repeatedly to get into a book, but after the third or fourth romp through a paragraph I had to drop it every time.

Sometime this spring my damped-down psyche woke up and said “What’s to read around here, anyway??” and it’s been a steady parade since. OMG, welcome home, my BFF, I missed you like deserts miss the rain, please don’t do that again, ‘k?

Since once again becoming [TRIGGER WARNING: Buzz word] “woke,” I’ve read:

She Come By It Natural – Sarah Smarsh

The Year She Left Us – Kathryn Ma

11/22/63 – Stephen King

A Widow for One Year – John Irving

Women Talking – Miriam Toews

The 19th Wife – David Ebershoff

In the Distance – Hernán Díaz

American Woman – Susan Choi

After the Fire – Henning Mankell & Marlaine Delargy

All the Beautiful Girls – Elizabeth J. Church

The Beekeeper of Aleppo – Christy Lefteri

Alice I Have Been – Melanie Benjamin

Among the Missing – Dan Chaon

The Atomic Weight of Love – Elizabeth J. Church

The Bean Trees – Barbara Kingsolver

Current read is Billy Bathgate and the jury is still out, but all of the above I would recommend without hesitation. I’ve likely managed to leave out a few, but the joy is that I haven’t been without a book underway in months, and that’s progress I can respect. We’re in the thankful season, and I’m deeply grateful that good books are still part of my daily life, and that the thrill of aging and the joy of reading are still friends.

*****

*****

Image

More sunshine… page 157

Day 266 – 12/06/2020

Sweet Sunday. I slept straight through for 12 hours and woke up to sunlight behind the blinds. Great breakfast, nice long becoming-conscious time, and Kim made Orange Creamsicle bread and iced it. Now he’s headed over the bridge to play PickleBall in NoLaw.

I finished a deeply-affecting book yesterday… SHE COME BY IT NATURAL by Sarah Smarsh, an honest telling of Dolly Parton’s life, or key parts of it. Sarah’s a Kansas girl who commands my respect in every way. This from Wikipedia:

“Smarsh was born in rural Kansas and grew up on farms and in small towns. Her family moved frequently and she attended eight schools before she reached ninth grade.[7] She attended the University of Kansas starting in 1998, and received her MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.[8][9]

“She has been a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. She has written for publications including the Columbia Journalism Review, the New York TimesThe Guardian, and The New Yorker.[10]

Sarah takes us into Dolly’s psyche in an almost first-person voice, thanks to how much of the same story she lived and her uncanny ability to translate that into such a compelling narrative. As a consequence, Dolly Parton, a woman I’ve always instinctively liked but never taken the time to know, has joined my Most Admired Females list, near the top. As with most memorable stories, I laughed and cried in equal measure, learned much, and was sorry to reach the last page.

I’ve immediately started another called THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING by Richard Flanagan. One chapter in, I think I guessed right again.

Too comfortable to get dressed and go see Rita while Kim’s playing, although we’ve talked about it extensively since Thursday. I distinguish weekends from week days by totally pulling the plug, and once the battery has run down the catatonic state is hard to overcome. It’s all about state of mind and what I’m up against is the sorry state of mine. Don’t care, sun’s shining, somebody’s sportsing on TV in the other room, and I’m surviving in style.

Image

Reading the room… page 92

Day 183 – 09/11/2020

As I type today’s date, it all comes back… the planes, the chaos, the unimaginable death toll… the knowledge that we’re as vulnerable to sudden destruction as any nation in the world. And now we know we’re equally vulnerable to another unseen enemy, with the number of dead exceeding the 9/11 count by orders of magnitude. The aftermath of what happened to us on September 11, 2001 is ongoing, but the actual events of the day had an end. By contrast, the pandemic we’re living through carries no expiration date, no terminus, no promise of a return to life as we knew it… and it requires a psychic adjustment every morning.

There are days when “time flits, oh shit,” and others that spool out their minutes in laborious 60-second increments, everything in slow motion, a record played at the wrong speed. I daily replay my role as a barely-sentient lump while my thoughts slam around inside my skull like a trapped moth, and there are only so many ways to diffuse that kind of energy, crying being one, writing it down being another. My old go-to, reading, is there again, to a point. My powers of concentration still leave a lot to be desired, but I’ve picked a few winners lately that have improved my frame of mind.

Fausto Brizzi’s 100 DAYS OF HAPPINESS was stellar. I next tried to read Sinclair Lewis’s IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE, but it’s too close to the bone right now. I started THE LADIES AUXILIARY by Tova Mirvis, which is wonderful, put it on pause to read Michael Cohen’s DISLOYAL, a terrific choice if I’m going to read only ONE of the many accounts exploding onto the stage at the moment, and now I’m returning to THE LADIES… and I’m acknowledging the profound sense of gratitude that accompanies the return of an old friend… one of my very oldest. There’s really nothing to compare with the deep joy of opening the door to another world and falling for the characters I find there. The things we should never take for granted comprise a long list.

This morning’s dawn was wet and gray, much like yesterday’s, and PickleBall not being an option Kim’s out for a bundled-up walk. There are things I could do today… declutter my desk, reorganize the 3-basket cart next to it, sort the remaining odds & ends on the dresser… pay a bill, start a load of laundry, dump computer files… but here’s how it will likely go: I’ll sit right here for another hour writing, reading, and drinking coffee… eventually I’ll pick one thing from the list of possibilities, do it, briefly feel good about myself… and slide into The Zone again. That’s my best guess. Looking forward to the day when I shock myself with an energy burst but until then I’m glad for pages to turn…

Postscript: Kim brought me a blueberry-lemon Danish from Wheatfields’ and delivered it to my desk warm, so today’s showing definite potential. Carpe Diem, chicky.

Image

Book of days… page 85

Day 157 – 08/16/2020

I read a wonderful book this week – 100 Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi. Amazing writing… so genuine. The tears I cried while reading were sweet and unexpected and not wrung out of me by some trick of the alphabet. It’s a beautiful story told with love, humor, and immense talent. Today I started Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood – it looks promising and the reviews when it came out were stellar – and it’s Margaret Atwood. So, things on the reading front are better lately and that’s a relief.

Other stress points have found resolution over the past several days too, so… we’ll sing in the sunshine, we’ll laugh every day. The sun’s shining today but it’s that pale yellow light that turns everything flat and dull. Still singing, though, light is light!

And reading… still reading.

Image

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Playing for Time

"How did it get so late so soon?" ~Dr. Seuss

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East

Live Life, Be Happy

Welcome to my weekly blog on life's happiness. We are all human and we all deserve to smile. Click a blog title or scroll down. Thanks for stopping by.

Wild Like the Flowers

Rhymes and Reasons

The Last Nightowl

Just the journal of an aging man looking at the world

Jenna Prosceno

Permission to be Human

Flora Fiction

Creative Space + Literary Magazine

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations

Funny Blogs With A Hint Of Personal Development

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Russel Ray Photos

Life from Southern California, mostly San Diego County

Phicklephilly

The parts of my life I allow you to see

Going Medieval

Medieval History, Pop Culture, Swearing

It Takes Two.

twinning with the Eichmans

Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature: over 400,000 monthly users

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

FranklyWrite

Live Life Write

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

Gretchen L. Kelly

KenRobert.com

random thoughts and scattered poems

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Funnier In Writing

A Humor Blog for Horrible People

%d bloggers like this: