I’m not sure how to begin. Like many, I’ve been in a strange place lately, but maybe that’s when you turn to strangers. There is just so much you can ask from your friends. So, here I am. What I’ve been thinking about is what next? Or what now? I suppose I could lock myself in a room with a bunch of instruments as Rob O once suggested– I have a room. I could begin another novel or a short story, perhaps, but more and more it seems like futility to do the things I know how to do. So I walk my dog. A cheerful creature named Gem who gets me moving and is a constant source of humor. She’s totally food-obsessed and would probably choose a cheeseburger over me, but she’s a good dog. Without her company, I don’t know what I’d do.

What to do with a life that has been about one thing only? I suppose I could change cat litter boxes at an animal shelter or volunteer at a food pantry. Visit with old people, rub their feet or read to them. I could make myself useful is what I mean.

Sometimes, I think: just stop. Stop trying. I’m still in the mode of believing I can make something happen as I did when I was young. But I’ve slipped under the wheels of a different time and become irrelevant. This is natural. It’s only my resistance to it that is unnatural. All year, I’ve queried agents, looking for a new one. And wrote a new book too as I did this. So the unpublished work accumulates. What to do with it? Today, reading over the agents’ names, I realized that I have queried some more than once, some three times, like an insane person! Mortifying.

Outside, the chanting voices of children marching for climate change. They’ve been let out of their private schools for this purpose. It’s our fault, they say. We adults who did nothing, while the world became uninhabitable. What to say to this? How to defend it? It’s a failing of our species, an inability to live without harming everything around us. How to change this fatal flaw? It will be more difficult than eliminating fossil fuels. Character is destiny on the largest scale.

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