Journaling the Virus: A Crisis of Belonging — Together in Isolation

Journaling the Virus: A Crisis of Belonging — Together in Isolation

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Mahatma Gandhi

My grandmother was fond of adages, partly because of her absolutist personality and partly because she had to embroider them by hand on a sampler when she was a child. As a result, I ended up with many of them in my own vocabulary, including the one about clouds always having silver linings. That was a tough one for a child to accept. It seemed to me then that bad things were just plain bad and trying to pretend they weren’t was just a form of denial rather than clairvoyance. Yet now, I’m amazed to find there are some positives woven in with all the horror this virus has brought. The good things pertain to me personally, while the effects are specifically wrought upon us all. How odd. It’s the fact that this virus has leveled the playing field so effectively that I find strangely soothing.

I’ve long had an aversion to any sense of abandonment. I’m sure it stems from being ‘left behind’ so often as the youngest child in my family, older siblings and adults in our lives always trying to run off and ‘dump the kid’ who would only slow them down. I grew up with a sense that everyone was always going somewhere without me on purpose.

After my husband died, I had years of feeling that ‘everyone else’ except me had someone to be with, others to ‘party’ with, events that didn’t include me to be enjoyed with friends; someone special to go home to at the end of the day. It was the most fundamental sense of abandonment I’d experienced since early childhood. Yet now, suddenly, no one in the world has anywhere else to go with anyone else, and nothing else to do but live their own life. No amount of running to, from, or away, will change how the whole planet of humans must engage (or disengage) with each other. We are all the same, all just as scared and unprepared, all basically alone. And most importantly, everyone knows it. There is no denial that can change that and nowhere to run.  Continue Reading

Creatures of Culture

Creatures of Culture

“You don’t write a novel to salve a wound, but to bear witness.”- Jane Smiley It’s a big concept, Culture; a very large balloon surrounding the social behavior of human societies, as well as the laws, knowledge, beliefs, arts, traditions, abilities and habits of the individuals in these groups.  In the past, I’d usually thought… Continue Reading

Oh, Come All Ye Faithful!

Oh, Come All Ye Faithful!

 “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”― Marcus Tullius Cicero That decree to the masses, an order to arrive in Bethlehem to view the newborn son of God, suggests many things. Among them is the inference that there will be many of these ‘faithful’ who should put down whatever they’re doing and… Continue Reading

Success: profit or purpose?

Success: profit or purpose?

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” — Albert Einstein From his $5,000 suit to his subtle swagger and Mona Lisa smile, Harvey Specter is the epitome of success. The male protagonist of Amazon Prime’s movie, ‘Suits’, embodies achievement in the most commonly accepted meaning of the word.… Continue Reading

Aging

Aging

“Experience of life (not of books) is the only capital usable in such a book as you have attempted …” —Mark Twain Inward is not forward; it’s not backward, either. In fact, turning inward is going nowhere. Yet we’re so often told that’s what people do, quite naturally, as they age. Translate ‘naturally’ to mean,… Continue Reading

What Is Talent?

What Is Talent?

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”― Émile Zola How frustrating it is to have a question answered with another question. But often the most provocative, insightful, and thoroughly engaging explorations come after just that kind of beginning. This one, what is talent, came from a young composer during… Continue Reading