Friday, May 22, 2020


Such dreams. Every morning when I open my eyes I have to come back to myself, to whisper that these apocalyptic visions aren't real. The nightmares, for me, are usually about being broken in body, bloodied and wracked with pain, the physical structure of me, not the spiritual, because despite the pain I am doggedly trying to get somewhere, always trying to reach some mysterious grail, the what and the where of it not so clear.

I rise and dress myself, or not, then make coffee and go straight to my laptop, ready to make edits to the manuscript based on comments sent on a tape to my Dropbox the night before. We're going chapter by chapter now, my subject and I, and today I will listen to the tape for chapter 6. I always brace myself for what I will hear, yet so far, the changes have been minimal, with doses of appreciation mixed in. I think she's making peace with self revelation. Yesterday, on tape, she said, "These chapters are so well done. I read them and cry." It was everything. Still, I know from the "overall reactions" tapes that later chapters, the ones covering her more recent past, might be more complicated. We shall see.

I want to write about the people who have died. I read in an article that 1 of every 2,000 black people in this country has already died. Could that really be true? I know that as soon as the president discovered that the new corona virus takes the poor and marginalized in greatest numbers, the people who fill the ranks of essential workers, the ones who can't afford to shelter at home and watch their paychecks hit their accounts every two weeks, he ceased to care. But 95,000 dead Americans should give us pause, no matter who's doing most of the dying. Our nation accounts for one third of the 333,000  counted dead in the world. How do you make sense of such numbers? I remember hearing someone say that when it comes to mass death, the bigger the number the less real it is.

In New York, the curve has been effectively flattened, though some 23,000 people died before that happened, and hundreds still die every day. Studies show that literally all the cases in New York can be traced to people arriving on planes from Europe in January and February, when some three million visitors from that continent flowed through our airports. The idiot president keeps calling it the Chinese virus. He shut down flights from China but didn't have the brain cells to realize that the invisible plague was already out in the world, and he should have sounded the warning back in December, when scientists tried to tell him what was coming.

My niece and her husband, who got married in Jamaica at the end of December, had their grand beautiful wedding just in time. My son and his fiancee have stopped looking at wedding venues; they've begun to think of something simpler. Three couples of their friends, whose wedding dates were set for this year, have postponed their ceremonies.

Meanwhile, I'm working by day and streaming by night, as I don't have much concentration for reading. I began watching Normal People on Hulu yesterday, a story of first love set in Ireland. I am enchanted, also haunted, by the lovers. 


  1. I'm so glad that the subject of the book you are editing told you that she reads the chapters and cries. Yes! Well done.
    About the idiot president, he doesn't quite understand science (or anything else for that matter). Deaths occur in places of denser populations. That doesn't mean that people outside of those populations aren't vulnerable. The virus gets there, it always does. Stupidity at a time of a pandemic is as challenging to our national psyche as it gets.
    We are in a state of postponement for so many things now... the traditions have become victims too. We wait for a cure for all of it.
    Take care there and stay well.

  2. No greater praise could come from your subject. I know you know that.
    There is no doubt that this pandemic is being mishandled horribly. I just read an article in the New Yorker about when and where it began in this country. Trump should have been on task from the beginning when the warnings began to come in to him. And we know they did. We also know he doesn't care about so many things- from science to the facts to the data to people of color to the poor to the disabled. It goes on.
    I'm having a hard day of it today. Sometimes it all seems to pile up and crush my soul. I am sure it does the same with all of us.
    I love you.

  3. It must be somewhat nerve-wracking to open those comments each morning. Not because of the person writing them, and not just this book, but every time you reach this point in the process. Your every word is open to change. I would find that incredibly difficult. I'm glad your subject is finding it working so far. It must be very hard to see such personal details in print, no matter how much one needs the story to be public.

    Have you seen this Twitter account?
    It's a good explainer about why Trump will always be Trump. Bottom line, he cannot change because he has a mental illness. It's so tough to watch him be him, though. What bothers me almost as much is the people who surround him and enable him. If they stood together they could remove him from the presidency and stop the daily harm he is doing.

  4. It's interesting (such a neutral non-value word) how vivid the dreams are. Back before the pandemic I might have dreamed, but never remembered them. Now I do and they're just awful. I'd like this to stop.
    The stats on the numbers of deaths, and who has died are also awful. The word of the day seems to be awful.

  5. Hi, I have been missing you. I just haven't been able to do anything. Reading has been incredibly hard right now because I have had a bad headache.
    I promise that the second I feel better I am going to sit down and email you a chatty letter so I can tell you how amazing I think you are ❤️.
    Hugs ❣️❣️❣️

  6. Well done with the writing and editing! The rest is just too horrible but I think if those young people want to be married, they should find a way to do it as simply and safely as possible.

  7. If you think your President is bad, then take a look at our Prime Minister who hasn't shut down borders at all, with the UK having the highest rate of deaths after the US, and considering the size of your country and ours, that really means the UK has had more deaths than anywhere else in the world. I'm now too scared to leave the house at all.

  8. 95,000 dead and still they claim it's a hoax. just yesterday, a GOP party leader here in Texas called it a democrat hoax in a speech to some gathering and at the end told everybody to take off their masks and hug. and I agree, Trump dismisses the pandemic because it's poor people and POC who are doing most of the dying. though to be honest, I think he is incapable of caring about anyone but himself.

    how nice that your subject is happy mostly so far with what you've done. I had one job where the guy wanted me to do the glass in his office door, loved my work, didn't want to see or pick a design, just do it so I did. and that was a big mistake because the guy obviously was not happy but he didn't complain, couldn't really complain, and he paid but that was the last time I did that.

  9. I'm glad your subject has been agreeable so far. Hopefully that trend will continue. You are a sensitive and perceptive writer and I'm sure you have a good sense of what she wants.

    We were supposed to attend a wedding this summer and it's been postponed for a year.

  10. The most revelatory memoirs (or is it in novel form?) are the ones that are close to the bone. They take courage to write. Sounds as if you are doing a wonderful job for her.

    Thanks for the Hulu recommendation. I've been thinking of cancelling my subscription because I just don't find things I want to watch, but I will watch that one!

    Watched a broadcast yesterday about how many employers are going to switch to employees working from home even after the pandemic. It will compound the divide between the haves and have nots in the country. It is a national shame that one of the richest countries in the world has had so many deaths. So much for the so-called best healthcare in the world.

    For now, my nightmares have ceased and I'm having dreams of memories -- it's like I'm cleaning out and organizing my sock drawer. Usually pleasant and informative.

    Wishing you well, my friend.

  11. It's so nice to read your words; then I know you're safe and healthy. I'm so damned tired I just want to lay down and stop moving. Fortunately I have a lot of experience with depression and I don't stop moving.

    It's got to be so gratifying bringing someone's life alive, if that makes sense? Alive in the sense that others become aware of it. As always I am in awe that you are able to do this.

    Stay safe my friend.

  12. So uplifting to read how you and your subject proceed with such detail and attention and respect.

    In my family, two weddings have been postponed for a year. We are actually now thinking of merging both into one massive celebration of love and life once this is over and done with.

  13. Much to give thought to in your post, beginning with the dreams where your spirit does not give up and ending with that beautiful word "lovers." Sending love as you continue in the collaborative physical, emotional, and spiritual process of creating a book.