This morning for the first time in a long time, I turned the radio dial to WFUV and listened to music instead of the news reports and shows on WNYC. It felt so good. I was dancing in the kitchen. That’s where the radio is. Dancing while I washed dishes and made coffee. Gem was entertained by this. She likes dancing though she is somewhat ambivalent about music itself. I’ve only had one animal that was a true music-lover. Bailey the cat. Oh, he was a good one. Anyway, Trump is on the way out and that is something to dance about. What a relief. The anxiety of “what next?” was the defining characteristic of his presidency. What stupidity, what cruelty? It’s been four years of fight or flight. But this morning, I was dancing.

Thanksgiving felt good this year, despite the pandemic. I’m thankful for my family and friends, and for the life I have, which is quiet and peaceful, full of books and dog walks and deep connections. I keep waiting for the fire of creation to alight, but it’s quiet down there in the place of creation. I probably need something (or someone) to shake it up. But I don’t want to be shaken up. And I continue to work anyway, to write, even without the inciting incident, the need that comes from pain. I have a life of disciplined daily practice. Waiting for inspiration is an amateur’s game. Every day, I sit down to work, aided by a large cup of coffee and a need to make meaning of my (mostly) solitary life.

It’s a trade-off, obviously. A peaceful heart makes for quiet work. I’ve learned not to feed the depression and anxiety that tortured and controlled me. As a result, those things have diminished, and no rocket-fuel, no rocket. But I don’t need a rocket. I’ve got an armchair, a radio in the kitchen, and Gem, my dancing partner.

Painting by Helen Frankenthaler

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