What to say about this time? Trump, climate catastrophe, and Covid19? It feels like a movie, unreal.
In Lars Von Trier’s film about the end of the world, Melancholia, the character played by Kristin Dunst, the depressed character– the one who ruins her own wedding because she is unable to be happy– is the only one who can face it. Her brain-chemistry has taught her to view the world with foreboding from the start, so unlike her sister and brother-in-law, she is prepared for the end. She is ready.
I’m a good isolator. I’ve often thought that I could survive solitary confinement better than most, though it’s easier to isolate in New York City than other places. You can be alone here without ever truly achieving isolation. There is the sound of the neighbor’s door closing, the construction workers on the roof next door, smoking cigarettes and talking. And though the streets are emptier than usual, they are never truly empty. Walking Gem around the block, or to the park, I pass other dog-walkers, or people out for whatever reason they need to be. We keep our social-distance, but life doesn’t stop here. Or hasn’t yet. Maybe at some point, we will be on lockdown as they are in Italy.
I have been playing the piano. Checking in with friends via text and email. Ordered 50 replacement squeakers for Gem’s toys and delighted her by bringing them all back to life. I have vacuumed and cleaned the bathroom. Sewed patches into a pair of torn jeans. I have called my mother every day. She is doing alright, reading or watching Netflix, as am I.
I have read everything there is to read on the Coronavirus, have added that to my obsessive reading about the upcoming election. The New York Times, Politico, The Washington Post, The Guardian, NPR, and WNYC. I am well-informed. Ask me anything. As for fiction, well, I haven’t been writing. I just can’t start something new right now. I don’t know why. The plague, perhaps? The monster in charge? I can’t get into the right headspace, but I am reading and not just the paper. Thank god for the writers who have written and will keep writing. I just finished The Convert by Stefan Hertmans and started Writers & Lovers by Lily King– wonderful. So much art and literature and music to feast on. Beauty in the midst of it.
Painting by Cecilia Vicuma