Notes on Writing

Monday, July 27

  I sit on the porch of a cupola-topped house on the New Jersey shore, scanning the horizon. The waters of the Atlantic shimmer in the distance, as close as a center fielder’s throw to home. A sailboat lazes by.

   The thermometer reads 90, and it’s climbing. In this weather, if I buy a cone down the street at the local ice-cream emporium, I have to either slurp it up immediately or run back to the house’s air conditioning before the cone decomposes onto the sidewalk.  

   A few years ago, when the temperature reached 0 degrees in January in New England, I swore I would never again complain about the heat. These past years, winter and summer crowd into spring and fall, robbing those seasons of the mild temperatures in which I rejoice. Extremes. That’s the world we live in now. Extremes of temperature, extremes of stock-market volatility, and most painful, extremes of opinion. 

   This may be the summer of our discontent, to misquote Shakespeare. I am a hugger, but no longer. Now, on my walks about town, I dodge and weave to avoid humans. I wear gloves to get my ice cream cone. I keep my mask at the ready, clutched in my right hand or, in moments of safe-feeling, stuffed in an easily accessible pocket.   

   Although here in this tiny Victorian enclave at the Jersey shore, where the flags sway in the breeze like a summer dress, where the hydrangeas are in their full throes of glory, and where, except for Covid-denier Nancy up the block, folks avoid talk of the nation’s politics, a fragile peace holds. We distance. We wear masks. We mark off our real estate on the beach using kid’s plastic shovels or flip flops or little American flags.  

   I know I am lucky to be able to take a vacation this year, even if vacation feels enormously different. In the past, I have taken so much for granted in this life. But today, I am grateful, for drinkable water that pours from the faucet, for sanitary living conditions, for a safe bed. For a roof over my head, a refrigerator filled with food. Toilet paper. The ability to distance. A family I love ardently and, lately, desperately.    

     My question to you this day is: what have you learned about yourself in these days of protest and the pandemic? 

    Write a little note about that, 15 minutes worth. More if you wish. When you are done, read it aloud to yourself.  If you are a Candlelight Writing Workshops participant, send it to me. I’d like to read it. 

   Be well. Stay safe. Read a variety of news outlets to get a fuller picture. 

   Stay away from the unreliable and less careful among us. 

   And consider Teddy Roosevelt’s advice: 

   “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

 

— Jane

 

 


2020

July 10, 2020

May 4, 2020

April 27, 2020

April 1, 2020

March 23, 2020

February 20, 2020

February 5, 2020


2019

June 3, 2019

June 10, 2019

June 17, 2019

June 24, 2019

July 1, 2019

July 9, 2019

July 15, 2019

July 22, 2019

July 29, 2019

August 5, 2019

August 12, 2019

August 26, 2019

September 4, 2019

September 18, 2019

September 24, 2019

November 4, 2019

November 12, 2019

November 18, 2019

December 3, 2019