When I started writing this note, I didn’t want to return my library books. Then things changed, the university closed indefinitely, and all my fines were waived.
Be careful what you wish for.
I think 2020 will be remembered as the year the Baby Boomers’ glory ended, the year the Millennials became middle-aged. They (social scientists) say middle-age is so difficult because you feel sandwiched between taking care of your parents and taking care of your kids. I don’t think we ever thought that time would come.
Welcome to the future.
I hope that our magazine is a distraction while you are stuck the hell home.
When I went to Russia to really become fluent, somehow in the back of my mind, I thought someone would tap my shoulder in a park one day and say, “Harry, your country needs you.”
But nobody ever did. So I decided to become a nurse. Now I’m 3/4 of the way there and part of me wants to damn the torpedoes and show up at the hospital with scrubs and my sick sense humor.
I guess I’m still waiting for that knock on the door, a glossy ID lanyard and a hospital administrator who says, “Harry, your country needs you.”
I guess nobody is going to tap me on the back and tell me I’m needed. But I do believe that what we felt before all this is still important, that the seeds of an uneasiness were already sewn. From Brian Evenson’s Hansel to Saeed Jones’ Grief #346, there are examples that as new as this age is, it is not totally unfamiliar.
The 10,000 e-mails you’ve got from everywhere you’ve ever bought something saying they are there for you feel like a smack in the face. Good. Because they’re not there for you. You did not always pray that The Olive Garden will be there for you in a crisis. It is a scary time and business as usual would mean people were not taking this seriously enough. This is some 9/11 level shit, except viruses aren’t racist and they are much sneakier killers than humans.
Do be careful, do overreact intelligently, but do not forget that you are a human. The next 6 months are going to be weird. Use the internet for good. Stay connected. Read and write. Skype call. We are going to go pretty stir crazy if we don’t.
Read some poems. They’re not expensive. They don’t know how to lie. They are written because they have to be. Poems do not promise to cure all ills, but they do what they set out to. Literature pretends only to reflect the way things really are, and it is always there for you when everything else has failed.
We are all trapped here separately, but I bet most of us are pretty much constantly online. So we are connected. Like it or not, reading over the internet is the future, and this last month only proves it.
So the magazine is online. There has never been a better time to be quarantined at home. The eye is a window into the soul, and the internet is a window into the eye.
No man is an island, or whatever.