We’ve done it. Over with the longest year in recent memory, worldwide: 2020.
I came through luckier than many, thus far seriously unscathed. I don’t want to repeat a Christmas holiday alone, however, requested away from family.
With apologies to Dr. Seuss, it’s the Grinch’s fault. Ever the prankster, the Grinch has been parading around with his deputy-of-disaster.
“You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch
Your heart’s an empty hole
Your brain is full of spiders, you’ve got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch
I wouldn’t touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!” — Dr. Seuss
Our Grinch has more than garlic…
In a sobering essay in March 2020, The New York Times’ columnist David Brooks tapped into a human truth: when things get ugly, we tend to leave the details to the dry record of historical fact. The article cited the effects of public health crises on literature over time.
The themes are consistent: fear and uncertainty, the brutality of isolation, a loss of agency, a certain fatalism.
He points to these examples:
Giovanni Boccaccio’s fictional portraits in The Decameron about the 1348 plague in Florence.
Daniel Defoe’s “authentic history ” of the 1665 London epidemic, A Journal of the Plague…
This morning, on the day of the Winter Solstice — a bit under nine hours of daylight in this corner of the world — last year’s amaryllis finally presented a hint of life, of renewal. It’s a promise, a sign.
Today our planet begins its ageless shift toward the sun, gracing the northern hemisphere with longer days, a promise of warmth and light. A thumbnail of new growth strikes me as meaningful as the miracle of mRNA technology, a path out of the metaphorical darkness of the pandemic.
On the one hand, the painstaking, indefatigable, and relentless work of hard…
Retirees who embrace a northern winter as if it were a big swig of icy vodka and relish in the resulting sharp tingle — you’ve got this. You’re in your element; you have a solid strategy for getting through days of diminished sunlight. The vagaries of harsh weather present an adventure, not a quality-of-life challenge. It’s a habit of a lifetime. You’re compatible with the coziness of home and possess a passion for, or at least tolerance of, the fine art of wintering.
If your broader network dwindles to a “pod” of like-minded friends and family, you find community in…
The poop-bag is central to responsible urban dog-ownership. Its deployment is normative behavior, the threshold of urban pet etiquette. Non-compliance is grounds for banishment from the pet-friendly island of the dog park.
I am a dog-lover, although not currently a dog-owner. I favor larger breeds, but my setting and lifestyle don’t align with having a big dog. Thus, and not necessarily happily, I am dog-less. I see my lot as informing both dog lovers street-tree champions on how to co-exist in harmony.
Well, no, it isn’t. Dispensing with a pet’s solid waste is critical to public health and the quality…
Truth be told, it has been more than a “few” months. My pen has been silenced; productivity stifled—pretty much AWOL as a writer for the past two quarters of 2020. And here we are in December, year’s end.
I want to blame COVID for the dip in productivity. It’s a handy scapegoat; its culpability is not undeserved. I want to believe my ennui, my inability to focus and actually finish something, was about more than my well-established habit of procrastination. I want to believe my full stop was linked to something more existential, occurring worldwide. …
Of all the “ists” writers might aspire to — from novelists to essayists — the Holy Grail, to my mind, is humorist. Specifically, the essayist who writes with biting humor, a witty turn of phrase. Uses scathing satire to reveal a universal truth.
British writers do all of this, and rather well. They’ve got a lock on the clever turn-of-phrase.
So does my idol, Shani Silver.
She’s a master of the art of the essay laced with humor, witticisms, with satire on the side like a biting pickle served with a bulging delicious “wet” sandwich.
During the summer’s protests and ensuing violence, perpetuated in part by governmental paramilitary units, it is easy to forget we’ve trod a similar road.
May 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the National Guard’s shooting of student protestors at Kent State University in Ohio. I was a graduating senior that year at a different school, Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
The deadly violence precipitating the abrupt closing of school was the most traumatic event of my then-young life, one that stuck like glue to my psyche.
I cannot imagine how the current state of affairs, from public health to uncertainty…
It wasn’t a creeping pandemic that brought an abrupt end to my senior year of college life. It was the Ohio National Guard’s lethal shooting of four college students at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.
In a blink, all public universities in Ohio closed by order of the Governor. Graduation ceremonies were definitely off the table.
I attended Ohio University in Athens, a “rival” school among Ohio’s constellation of higher ed institutions. So much for Bobcat Pride.
Because the shutdown occurred at the end of the academic year, grades earned up to that point were considered final. Remote…
Some of these articles seem sophomoric, intellectually light-weight given the events of the last sixty days. Nonetheless, here is the list of my curated stories, in chronological order, from January — April, with March a non-starter.
Comment: Ha! Little did we know what 2020 had in store for us. But back in January, the glass was more than half-full. It was over-flowing
Comment: I was feeling nostalgic, yearning for my grand, wracking my brain for ways to stay connected. A simple postcard that took months to reach its destination inspired this post.
Comment: In February, before we had a Pandemic…
People change and so do profiles. A chronicler of life and a pan-curious traveler. Wiser than before and hopefully, maybe, a bit funnier.