Saturday, October 31, 2020

Strumming along

I got back the copyedited version of my manuscript and the copyeditor is simply lovely in her comments, respectful of the work in a way that leaves me completely open to her every suggestion, resisting nothing. Before I turn this back in on November 12, I am to add an update on the election, and God alone knows what I will write for that. I'm praying the outcome will allow for a triumphant ending to the book, rather than the utterly depressing "the fight continues."

My son's financee's dad said no matter the outcome, he will cry. If Biden wins, he says, he will cry for joy. "But if Trump wins," he added, "I will weep for weeks." I feel this down to my very atoms. 

How could we be in such a state of vicious and vacuous criminality and disarray, people sick and dying, going hungry, hurting, and yet Trump still has a chance of stealing the whole damn thing? No one will ever convince me, if he wins, that the election wasn't stolen. Then again, the theft of it has been so obvious and ongoing, so blatant and systematic, I doubt anyone will try to convince me otherwise. 

Turns out, the key ingredients for the most crass kind of power-grabbing corruption are a complete lack of anything resembling empathy and shame. If you have no empathy and can't be shamed, death can litter your wake and all you do is shrug and lie and step over the bodies, like the president and his henchmen. 

Three more days. 

Let's find the sunlight.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Happy birthday to my love!

Today is my darling man's birthday, this wonderful husband and father, my best friend, my life's true love. It says everything that there is no one I would rather be stuck inside the house for months with than him. Here he is with our son, who came over a few days ago and ended up fixing some cable issues for his old fart parents. 

Our son and his fiancee are coming over tonight to sing happy birthday. They'll also return our car, which our son borrowed for a week to go see her family in New Jersey, after he successfully sold his 2014 Jeep for a price that left him above water. He's looking to lease a car next, but he's still doing his research. Price is paramount, and so is a four-wheel drive vehicle; as a first responder, he will generally be out in gnarly weather. Turns out he is a very methodical and patient researcher, which is how he managed to sell his car for $2.6K more than any dealership offered him. Also, while he had our car, he decided our tires needed to be changed, and so he organized that, and for a very good price with his firefighter discount, at a place that does business with his current firehouse. He is getting all four tires changed today before be brings back the car. 

These two men named Radford are the finest of humans, as was the first Radford, my father-in-law, after whom they are named.

Every day lately I have wanted to post here, but my head feels too full of everything to sort through, and so I just curl up and read, and let the flood of thoughts, anxieties, conspiracy theories, rage insights, disbelief and stubborn love swirl right on through. Lucky for me, love is always in the mix, leavening the rest. 

Six more days.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

A clear path

I got chosen. I got the job. So now I know my next project, which I will start in mid December. I’m a little bit in a daze. My mother always told me I need to have more faith. 

Also, today would have been my dad’s ninety-seventh birthday. My brother texted me: “Missing them both with love and tears.” An unexpectedly tender sentiment from my stoic, unbothered brother. We hit the jackpot, us two. We had such good parents, and we knew it even when it was still happening. 

Tonight’s debates. I couldn’t watch after a while. If Trump’s lips are moving he’s lying. As a piece in The Atlantic put it, our path is clear: “Two men are running for president. One is a terrible man. The other is a decent man. Vote for the decent man.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

An extraordinary American

How much do I love Barack Obama? I will never stop missing this man. He just did a blistering drive-in rally in Philadelphia, and I’m reminded that this man is the most gifted politician of our time. He took the gloves off, he called Trump out, and dear God, I’m here for it. He pointed out that not only can we vote the cruel fraudulent president out, in doing so that we can also reclaim the best of ourselves, the best of our nation, the values by which we hope to be defined. As one commentator just said, “Not only does he have that cool factor, he is truly an extraordinary American.” 

Internal weather

I'm feeling anxious. There is the possibility of new work on the horizon, a book collaboration that an editor I previously worked with sent my way, which may or may not work out depending on whether the subject chooses me. I realize that if she doesn't choose me, I am making it mean something about me, something negative, something she saw and didn't like, which may be the fee I quoted her for the project, which is only the usual sort of fee, or perhaps my timing, when I can be available to start based on the work I already have, and yet I see anything that makes her not choose me as a failing on my part, even though I know, I know, I'm being silly, and that sometimes we get chosen, sometimes we don't, and sometimes, not getting chosen clears the path for something even more wonderful to choose you. Anyway this is what I'm trying to tell myself in this moment, as I write here, trying with everything I am to quell the churning inside me that I wish was not my nature.

I envy those people capable of serene faith that all will be well. I seem possessed of a deficit of faith and a surfeit of imagination. My catastrophic thinking is in overdrive. I need to quiet these fretful thoughts, this inner child sense of being somehow not right, and therefore not chosen. I need to recenter myself, so I can get back to the work I do have, from someone who did choose me. I am editing the most wonderful book, a novel based on the life of the author, who writes brilliantly, feels deeply, and has the most unorthodox yet perfect way of putting things. I'm not at the editing stage yet, I'm still just reading, and such a pleasure it is to go on this journey with her. I just need to shush all this noise in my head and get back to it. Maybe I'll go sit under a tree and read there.

That picture up top, under the small tree on the left, that's where I sat in Central Park a week ago, reading as children scrambled over the low slung branches. Maybe I'll take my sturdy folding chair that my husband researched to the smallest detail before buying two for us, and go sit in that place again. Let the fall breeze waft away my angst. Let the laughs and calls of children distract me, let the strings of classical musicians up on the path remind me that the outer world keeps wheeling along, no matter the weather within.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

16 more days

Artwork by @cedricsmithstudio

Thursday, October 15, 2020


I just heard on the news that two members of Kamala Harris's campaign team tested positive for the corona virus. Though the candidate tested negative as recently as yesterday, she will quarantine for the next several days out of an abundance of caution, doing only virtual appearances. Meanwhile the super spreader in chief is holding mass rallies in states where the virus is already spiking. I don't get the cult like following he has, the suspension of all reason. Is hatred of "the other" really such a powerful aphrodisiac? I suppose for some people, it is.

I did a different kind of puzzle from the usual beach, lake, mountain, architecture, nautical, and natural world scenes the other day. This one was an Olga Suvorova painting of a Renaissance court scene. I've long been drawn to the Renaissance. I devoured everything I could about it as a child, knew all the artists and the art, and felt a strange familiarity with it all, as if I was remembering rather than learning anew. I felt the same way about the Paris art scene in the 1910s and 20s, and was obsessed with Modigliani in particular. I wondered why the child of a judge and a realtor growing up in Kingston, Jamaica should have had such a hunger for those eras, wondered if I had walked those paving stones in other lives. Maybe it was nothing more than I was drawn to the lives of artists, who knows? Anyway, when I saw this puzzle, I was a goner. 

Apropos of nothing, here are three photos of me, all so different as to hardly be the same person. That's so much the truth of my life. I feel such different energies depending on the day and the circumstance, and I point the phone camera at myself as the moods shift, trying to figure out who I am being today.

The first is the public me, the woman who shows up when forced to behave like a socialized human. The second is me on a day last week when I left my house to do a Zoom conference call for work, which I couldn't do at home because of incessant hammering and drilling in the apartment above me, so there I was sitting on a bench beneath balconies on a chilly Fall day, masked and as I recall, sort of miserable. In the last I am happy under the covers on Tuesday just past, rain drumming on the windows, and me working as it happens. I have been hired to edit a novel by a wonderful writer, but first I get to curl up and just read the work for the pure pleasure of it. That last one is the me I wish I could be everywhere, but as soon as the world sets its eyes on me, I feel awkward and ungainly in my body. It has always been that way, so I can't blame latter day structural impairments that have me limping and rocking as I move, and so, of necessity, I have learned to carry on, a smile on my lips, sincere and hopeful, impersonating said socialized human.

Today? I think I'm going to take my folding chair to the park and sit under a tree and read and revel in the fact that that I get to do work in such a setting. Happy Thursday, dear ones. Thanks for meandering with me here.

Monday, October 12, 2020


That's my little niece Lauren, who lives in the Cayman Islands. I have no reason for posting her picture except that her sweet joyful face fills me with a sense that there is yet goodness and innocence and light in the world. I've just pressed send on my manuscript, and am now listening to the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for nominee Amy Coney Barrett. I probably wouldn't be tuned in if I didn't have to write an update to the book that includes it, and hopefully also the outcome of an election in which progressives take back the White House, the Senate and the House.

Last night, I couldn't sleep. My brain was on fire with what ifs should the criminal fascist president win a second term. We all know it's possible, given the rampant perversion of a free and fair election that the Republicans are engaged in before our eyes. They can’t win in a fair fight, so they cheat and disenfranchise. Last night, thin on hope, I reached for my phone, and in the quiet after midnight, I found myself searching out thinkers of a spiritual bent who could interpret this present moment in the larger context of our human experience, our shared illusion of separateness, unless we happen to be among the souls currently incarnated here to be lightworkers, which I sometimes believe my own daughter surely is, and perhaps little Lauren, too. In my own darkness, I climbed all the way down into the rabbit hole of mediums and astrologers and angels and channelers, and finally climbed back out with this piece of a promise from Patricia Pearce:
“Despite how frightening our present circumstances appear, they are lending immense momentum to the quiet coup that is preparing the way for a new world to arise, a world that reflects the inviolable truth of Love.”

I'll take it. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Weird World

This is a completely scattershot post, a stream of consciousness ramble, plus some the pictures I wanted to save on my blog, but didn't, because I was working, and also, y'all, how to make sense of the world we're in, where nothing unfolds with any predictability, the $421 million debt the president owes taking over the news cycle one day, the horror show presidential debate the next, and then suddenly, everyone in and around the White House is dropping like flies with the covid, and orange man himself, the new covid evangelist, may well be the spreader in chief. Don't let it dominate your life, he says. Tell that to the 210,000 who have died, a number so large we can't even wrap our minds around it properly. I heard that more people have died under this president's watch than in World War I, the Vietnam War, Afghanistan and the Gulf Wars combined. And what was that scene the other night when he checked himself out of the hospital so he could stand in stage light on his balcony, posing like Mussolini while struggling for breath thanks to his covid pneumonia. I almost felt sorry for the man, with such grandiose visions of himself playing in his mind. He was ridiculous and pitiful, and I found myself taking in at a whole new level how utterly broken this human impersonator is. But enough of that, at least until I turn on the news today and get my mind blown again. 

In happier news, my son had a birthday, and he and his lovely fiance spent it just hanging out here with us. One of his friends came over later, and as this young man hugged us and took off his mask, I thought, well, I have no idea where you've been, who you've seen, and our quarantine bubble is all shot to hell anyway. Still, now I'm counting days again. Of course, my son is still out there working as a firefighter, though he's now with a ladder company, so he's seeing more fires than medical calls. I don't know whether to be happy about that. But it was a lovely low-key day, with him watching football games with his dad and sleeping on the couch for a good part of them as he'd gotten off from his overnight shift at nine that morning. Look at his sweet bald head.

What else? My girl and her guy continue to work hard and play hard, and their puppy is now the official mascot of their business school cohort group. Their section had a field day last Saturday, with egg tosses and basketball games and various other fun activities. Someone posted this picture of my girl and her dog.

As long as I'm swiping photos from social media, here's one of my niece in Dallas, doing her job as a dentist in all her PPE. Extra points for the Snoopy cap.

So the good news is I finished the book two days ago, at least the draft that we're all calling final. I'm not finished working on it of course, because now I have to do one last read from beginning to end before turning it in by Monday, and then it has to go through copy editing and the legal read, as well as first pass pages, and maybe second pass too, and I shall have to respond to edits in all those rounds. Then, there is the updating at the last minute once we know the election results, and also just how crazy the Supreme Court nomination hearings will be. I am not thinking about any of it right now. I'm looking forward to moving on to my next job, which I was supposed to have started a month ago. But first, I have a Zoom call in a few minutes with my subject, her comms director, and her agent, to go over and choose photographs from her life to be included in the book, for which I will also have to write captions. It's good to have work, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. But really, though, gotta go, so forgive any incoherence and  typos. One more thing: