#1 In a perfect world, I would be up at 5 a.m., — meditate, walk the dog, make coffee, write until 9 a.m., do yoga/Pilates for an hour … blah, blah, blah. Say, has anyone seen a perfect world out there lately?
Lesson No.1: Repeat after me: I will not beat myself up. Nor anyone else. How you cope is exactly right for you. But do no harm (To you, me, or anyone else … including small pets and goldfish).
#2 Just kidding! Far from inadequate, I am enormously proud of all that Rose Alcantara is accomplishing. She is doing things! Getting stuff done! Not the least of which is the five Pilates by Rose floor mat exercise videos she has made (edited by daughter Caira Button from Western New York). They are free on YouTube Combined, they equal a full hour of exercise that reaches every part of your body.
I know; I watched Rose do them ….
Here’s a sample, the first half of her “ladder exercise”:
#3 I can’t help myself, certain daily-ish letters transcend the cable news outlets in importance. I turn to Garrison Keillor’s Letters from Apartment 12B to learn how a writer copes. I turn to Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American to put the news in historical context.
I also turn to Dave Pell’s Next Draft (See #7, below) to see what I’ve missed and what tomorrow’s news outlets will be jumping all over. Pell doesn’t flatten the curve — he stays ahead of it. Try it. I don’t know how he does what he does. But he does it well!
#4 I’m at the point where I hate leaving the house and I’m beginning to think that I’ve always felt that way. Maybe I’m more of an introvert than I realized. Today I went to La Connexion to pick up the mail. Specifically, The New Yorker magazine. But there were also birthday cards. One was from my sistah from another life and wife, who never forgets a birthday. The woman who introduced Rose to me. Thanks, Kara.
I also had a list of fresh produce to buy. That required four different stops, and I still couldn’t find mushrooms or spring onions. I did discover a new organic market on Sterling Dickinson — two weeks new. Hell of a time to open a store. But they are giving it a go — keeping prices low and expanding inventory every day.
#5 Living in Mexico, I already get The New Yorker a week later than normal, so the coronavirus news is already old. This issue had mentions on practically every page.
#6 Podcast: NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me” the Saturday news quiz program. Guess what the No.1 topic is? At least they can laugh about it. Guest this week is the celebrity poster boy for coronavirus, Tom Hanks.
#7 Daily newsletter: Dave Pell’s NEXT DRAFT. Pell lists 10 newsy topics in every column and salts each one with good San Francisco wit. He is often way ahead of the mainstream in spotting the next day’s hot topics. Read Dave’s hand-curated letter and you won’t feel like you’ve missed a thing.
Here’s how Pell describes it: “Each morning I visit about 75 news sites, and from that swirling nightmare of information quicksand, I pluck the top ten most fascinating items of the day, which I deliver with a fast, pithy wit that will make your computer device vibrate with delight. No bots. No computer algorithms.”
#8 My pursuit of Chekov’s short stories continues. “VANKA,” “THE MALEFACTOR,” “PANIKHIDA,” “ANYUTA,” and “EASTER NIGHT.” These are people with hard, thankless lives. Stories by Anton Chekov, Bantam Books
#9 I awoke from a two-hour nap (filled with Chekovian nightmares) to discover that Bob Dylan has released another new song, his second in three weeks. It is titled “I Contain Multitudes,” and is packed with cryptic cultural references over its 4 minutes, 38 seconds. (Three sets of lyrics each give a different take to an early song reference: “Berlinale,” “Bally-na-Lee,” and “Balian Bali.” You decide).
I love this most recent incarnation of Dylan. “Murder Most Foul” and now this:
#10 Dylan’s newest song title is taken from Walt Whitman’s epic “Song of Myself.” In the 51st section, Whitman cries:
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
This poem,”Song of Myself,” was as much a living breathing growing contradiction as was Whitman himself. It first came out in 1855 and grew and changed with the passing of time. This is the 1892 version. I am still reading it, with wonder.
But I’m not alone …
#11 So, Dylan echoes Whitman. Perhaps because I snarked up a Roger Waters interview yesterday, the Pink Floyd song “Echoes” popped into my consciousness. So this night shall end with “Echoes” on repeat, as I read through “Song of Myself.”