I don’t require a break from the daily writing interval itself. Flexing sentences each day keeps them plastic. Feeling out the form of a thought, or half of one, every day alerts you to your own habits and clichés, the most worn pathways of expression and ones you still might blaze. I do see growth as a result of the discipline, but growth in things like writing is never a steady plot. Like golf, lose confidence in your swing as a writer and you can go from a run of bests to a rut of worsts and have no idea what even happened.
In everything I do I am improviser per force and not by choice. Plans and designs do not take well in my neurological soil. There is a layer of static between conception and execution that has always been there. The blood that carries thought to action doesn’t make it to the tips of my mental fingers with all its properties intact. There’s a leak in the line.
Ringo once said that they pitied their friend Elvis, for he endured the disfigurations of extreme fame alone. They had each other, as well as a little coterie of confidantes and gofers with names like Mal and Viv, now immortalized in approximately 1347 exhaustively researched books on the subject.
A self-described quarantine honor student who practiced Covid precaution book and letter for four months, withdrawing hermetically and seeing no one, the 61-year-old Los Angeles journalist Bill Plaschke says he let his guard down twice and ventured two outdoor, distanced, and compliant dinners with friends over the course of a single weekend. And then boom.
It’s the amount of responsibility, making sure 24 kids are in your sight range and learning something all day long. I was and remain very easily overwhelmed. I’d constantly leave my purse in the teacher’s room. When I left home in the morning, I often took my keys and yours. And I often lost track of children.
Sports fandom is and has always been a lesson in elective and inconsequent suffering. I rue that the fans of tomorrow suffer in virtual isolation, and not in geographic and familial clusters. Further, their losses are losses of the one. There used to be a fine balance of gloating of competitors and commiseration of comrades. Now there is only the joyless gloat of someone who won money.
My mother believed in appearances and respectability, neither of which are cheap. Her degree from Stephens College was in fashion, and her passion was home and garden. Yet she too made without, and still does, long, long after she could have afforded some indulgences and niceties. I have long thought their asceticism was of generational issue, echoes of the Depression — as was my father’s terror of the stock market and any form of risk, really.
On an aesthetically perfect August Saturday night at 7 p.m., the streets of the village of New Paltz were slammed, a fanning, branching promenade of summery people who looked, for lack of a better word, expensive — of hair, of gown, of auto.
Questions about where New York City goes from here are pressing but unanswerable. If the city loses its exceptionalism and its mythic global lure, if it can’t shake a certain sense of taint and viral nesting, perhaps it is finally time for me to move there.
Maybe we have to go into a form of lockdown protocol every 80 days or so, or as indicated by surveillance data that gets to us well ahead of a spike, assuming our epidemiologists are allowed to do their jobs, which is tragically not a safe assumption. According to some models, it may only take 50 to 60 percent of the population honoring distancing to knock down a flare, and it seems to me that’s about how many of us there are, in the United States at least.