Begin with a Change


December 1, 2016

. . . Blue sky lolling
beyond the window
frame — eyes open.
Just a way of looking.
Begin with a change.
— Marci Rae Johnson, American poet

Happy Holidailies, in medias res, where everything happens.

Here is poet and critic Stephen Burt, writing in Boston Review on Tuesday: “Like many of you, I have spent the days since the election in a combination of frantic distraction; intermittent, flailing activism; attempts to focus on my private and professional life; and fear.”

That’s pretty much what I did, at first. Election day came while I was trying to straighten out a snafu in scheduling a biopsy for some suspicious new spots that appeared on Ron’s previously unaffected lung. Then Leonard Cohen died. I got a stomach virus that laid me out for two days. I had to skip a book discussion I had been looking forward to because I couldn’t make any sense of the text when I sat down to read it. I began charting my mood every hour, saw depression approaching, and made an appointment to discuss adjusting my medication.

But even before that interview, which has yet to take place, something shifted. I read the book, we got good news about Ron (the new spots are a benign granuloma, and there remains “no evidence of disease,” on this, the first anniversary of his first chemo treatment), and I got a smile of recognition and a “Joey hug” (he touches your face and pulls your forehead in to touch his) from my grandson, now five months old.

The flailing and the fear have resolved to focus as I make decisions about what to do in response to the events of November 8, and I’ve gone back to work on my writing. During the early aftermath, I came to understand that the main male character in my linked stories would probably be a Trump voter, and I want to learn to write him without stereotyping him, and without rancor. (Although, to be truthful, he has disappointed me.)

I’m back to the blog. Happy Holidailies.

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