Tuesday, July 21, 2020


Despite the sunshine, the bumble bees, the wood pigeon who call to each other on our 6am walks, despite the blue breezy skies of summer, despite it being mid-July and everyone should be on holiday, there is discomfort. It's hard to fiddle while Rome burns. I shall quote Joan Juliet Buck, who keeps me sane on Facebook, by actually feeling in her bones what is going on and saying it:
Anarchy. We are so far beyond being gently boiled frogs. Poverty, rage, violence, hunger, guns, crime coming, and law enforcement so discredited by those among them who enforced their own law, their own violence, their own rage, normal law enforcement so blurred and diluted by anonymous armed military spiriting protesters into unmarked vans that there is nothing left to trust 
           We are in immediate danger, our country is the mouth of hell. I am scared.The organism melted into a puddle of its own spin yesterday on Fox,  with a respectful Chris Wallace, redder, more dye-hued, more embarrassed each time he attempted a correction,  as respectful as my sips of water had been as I sat in front of an empty zoom screen in the absence of a Buddhist monk , barely daring to drink so as to express my respect to a person who wasn’t there.
We are in the midst of a dystopian horror that world hasn't seen before. Covid reporting has been moved from the CDC to the Trump administration to "control." Armed militia have moved into American cities. It's hard to believe that I'm typing these things.

My friend texted me that he was in Santa Barbara "A nice place to contemplate the end of the United States as we know it." And I laughed but really wanted to cry. Democracy is just a pie in the sky notion, something we took for granted for so long, and now it's disappearing rapidly. De Tocqueville wouldn't recognize America. I mean, who does?

And here we are at a boil, us frogs, without really noticing...or so intent on our agape jaws and spitting out things like "no words" that we didn't take proper action. Yes, I am appalled, and if you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

I'm staring at my white bed and its white sheets and the boxes piled up on the side of the room. The sheets are calming. The anxiety keeps me up every night. I read the New Yorker and the New York Times and the Washington Post. I dream about flying on planes with my horse to LA. I miss my son. I research the Aldermaston Pottery. I take solace in art, in the woods, in the animals. There is scaffolding outside my window because they've been painting the house for the new people who are arriving, and beyond that the lawn and the roses. Beyond that, trees and peacocks and blue skies. Yes, I am away from the hub of this, I am away from my son and my friends in Los Angeles. I don't live in a city in one bedroom apartment with my small children. I am white and privileged and very fortunate. But I believe that justice affects everyone and if one of us is hurting, all of us are hurting.

My clothes have been culled, Marie Kondo style; suits and shoes and bags from my studio executive days have been laid out on the bed and offered to horsey friends and the rest will go to the charity shop. I am parting with my neon orange Jimmy Choo stilettos that gave me more compliments than anything article of clothing I have owned. Why keep these things? They feel oddly tone deaf now...I don't know. I don't know anything. I just know that giving them away feels right. The new house is painted white, with lots of windows, and it will be minimal and Scandinavian (I say that's like my ancestors, but my grandmother was anything but minimal - her taste veered more towards the rococo or the baroque. I fantasize about clean, simple rooms, decorated with flowers, a few books. I dream of clarity and simplicity and a way to kick that arse out of the White House in November. I dream of a better time, of the adherence to proper values again, a time of tolerance and kindness and forgiveness, and being able to write again, properly, not with this terrible faux Virginia Woolf string of consciousness therapy babble. It's therapy, all of it, really. A way to exorcise the anxiety and the existential terror. Poems used to do it, with little help from anything else at all.

Also rigor. Scholarly rigor. What happened to that?

My friend Georgie says "I'm a radiator not a drain." There are creators and destroyers in this world, and we need more creators. People who put things together and leave places more lovely than how they found them. It's like planting trees before you die. Leaving a legacy, of love, or trees, or kindness. Let's face it, this man has taken a huge dump on America. He is essentially pissing on the flag, although it would take an act exactly that visual to show his supporters who he really is. Chris Wallace tried, and his efforts were admirable.

Fuck, who could imagine The Emperor's New Clothes to be so prescient? Do you remember first hearing that story as a child? Do you remember the picture book illustrations? Do you remember even at 7 years old being flummoxed by the fact that no-one could see that the Emperor was naked?

I want to be a radiator, not a drain.

Tell me what you're doing in the time of Covid. Are you reading? Have you joined an online choir? Do you garden? Are you growing vegetables for the first time? Have you dusted off your sewing machine?  Did you learn a language?

The great Representative John Lewis has died. I leave you with this:

"Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble. Necessary trouble." 

1 comment:

tedsmum said...

Go for that swim and remember, This too will pass...xxx