I met John Lewis at an author breakfast at BEA in New York in 2012 for his book “March,” where Diana Gabaldon and Chris Matthews were also featured. After their panel, the authors stuck around for to sign the books we all received gratis, his being a thin preview copy. He was the first one I went to, and bending from the stage, Mr. Lewis graciously took the time to talk to me as I told him I’d like to teach his book in my classes. It was so noisy in there, I can’t exactly recall what he said. Or maybe it was just I was so awed as I knew I was speaking to history. The dedication in the book he signed for me still speaks today.
I love it when the back-to-school planning committees are held on Zoom. If it’s so safe, then why not meet in the usual meeting rooms with ass-to-ass seating, bad ventilation, and everybody spitting out their usual contention? Yes, children have a lower frequency of falling ill from the virus, but as usual, the some people seem to think that schools (and Higher Ed), run on autopilot. Education is not only about learning–it’s about teaching too. And believe it or not, teachers are real people who can catch viruses. And file lawsuits, too. I’m happy I work for an institution that believes in science, has pushed the Fall semester to remote, and values the health of all its employees and students. That’s pure Jersey.
I was in a work Zoomer last week, when the first thing I did when logging one was turn on the camera. Out of six people, I quickly found out I was the only one who turned theirs on. So I asked why, and was told since we’re home, we’re being casual. So “casual” means no camera. Got it. So I went to get some consensus from my friends. One of them told me she hasn’t worn a bra since March for her meetings. Another bud told me he usually has a drink in hand. No one wears shoes. Some like to photobomb with their cats, but never with kids. Meetings are one way to escape them for an hour. I for one always wear make-up and earrings. And I’m no camera wuss. Neh-vah.
Happy Fourth of July everyone! Feel free to go outside and barbecue in the virus-dispelling air. Swill copious beers to clear your mind from all the bullshit that’s been clogging it these last few months. You also have my permission to have a second hot dog. What the hell–we have worse issues than our salt and nitrate intake. Like COVIDIOTS that think mask wearing is a deep state conspiracy. So you think this virus is a hoax? That it’ll just “go away?” Oh…rrrright, like that crusty oozing bleeding cold sore that comes back whenever you’re stressing. Hey, remember the chicken pox you had when your were six? Wait until it does a scabby revisit all over your body as shingles. They were viruses too!
But who wants to think about them now. It’s a holiday! Party like it’s 2019!
Little nippers driving you crazy? Not with their presence–we’re all addicted to their charms by now, aren’t we? (Huh? Huh?) What I mean is with their constantly upstaging you with their creativity. All those poems and essays and cute little short stories they dash off like skipping stones in that lake too crowded to safely socially distance in. So you sit there, seething, stuck in that same para while they toss off so much casual genius, you’re more than ready take a hammer to your laptop and concede the Pulitzer to the young’un.
Okay, take a deep breath. Sooner or later the pandemic will be placated and yes–you’ll get you muse back, so stop being jealous of the kid. They inherited their genius from you after all (you have my permission to keep telling yourself that). So why not develop it so they can make the big literary bucks, and take care of you in style in your old age? Isn’t any better place to do that than the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program!
The Young Writers Program offers tools, resources, and community access to help young writers and educators set ambitious creative goals and tackle projects year-round! Each year, over 100,000 young writers under 18 enjoy our youth-friendly writing space, progress tracking tools, and Young Novelist Workbooks. Educators can support student skill development with our free Common Core–aligned curricula, online classroom management tools, and motivational classroom materials.
So get motivated! Your kid already is! Check out the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program, and who know? Maybe they’ll be able to show you a thing or two about showing that muse who’s boss!
As I look at the state of the world, as we huddle in our houses and take to the streets, you wonder whether all this upheaval will just make the world give up and explode. How much stress can it take? How much turmoil can it endure? Apparently a lot, because amid all this trouble and strife, a good part of the Earth is thriving. Pollution levels in the air have dropped, and the sky has never been bluer as flights have dropped. Animals are coming out of the woods and into formally populated areas, as people stay inside and stay out of their way. Water is running clear, such as in Venice, Italy where they now can see fish in their canals. For the present, our quarantine has made it a bit easier for nature. For humans–not so much.
Animals kill for food. People kill out of rage or hate or jealousy or indifference. Our capacity for cruelty seems to know no limits. But people can and will only take so much. There are some who seem to forget this country was seeded by revolution. Change is in our DNA. We are a country of the people, by the people, for the people, and these people want change, and are willing to wade into a pandemic to achieve it, to march toward a more perfect Union.
Change is one scary motherfucker. But it is inevitable.