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November 20, 2020: The Writing Life: Looking Up and Looking Around

Today I pretty much finished “The Books I Carried,” a twenty-page essay about my summer bicycling trip. I then passed it on to Pete who read it and made one editorial and several copy editing suggestions. I will next go through it again and then send it on to Christopher Benson, my biographer.

I don’t think about very much else when I am working on a lengthy piece of writing. During that time, its audience is me; I ponder what changes I’ll make, then make them. Then after, I look around and see the distant and close world anew. The distant world, well, we have a new president and the old one is on his way out. Good riddance most of us are saying. Those who have no mercy are not spared any mercy. (Now isn’t that a great quote? I came up with it myself.)

Alys and Tyra

The Covid pandemic is now also raging. I have not paid any attention at all to the implications of this. Today it hit me hard. Pete had called our neighbor Karen and asked her if she wanted to come over for Thanksgiving dinner. She said no, that she wasn’t going into any places where she’d have contact with people. My first thought was that this is just an excuse to forego getting together. I mean, come on, how much contact do Pete and I ever have with anyone? He teaches students who are required to keep their distance and wear masks. He also does the food shopping. I’ve been going to Puppy II and Canine Agility class twice a week. As of tomorrow, I’ll be going once a week. My second thought was that Karen is right – the less contact we all have with outsiders the less apt we’ll be to catch this virus. Good for Karen.

I then realized that Pete and I are going to be spending Thanksgiving and the days that follow, alone. I, who had not given the matter any thought until today, had assumed otherwise. I was at first dismayed, but then it occurred to me that we are lucky. We have one another. So many people I know don’t have partners, much less those who cook.

This is all ironic, considering that I’m so misanthropic. I can go for weeks just communing with the animals. Once in a great while I like to get together with humankind. Now, because its unsafe, I feel the urge to do so, at least on Thanksgiving.

I then looked around our two-story cabin and saw it for what it now is – a real mess. I can ignore the clutter and dirt when I’m thinking hard about something but not otherwise. So early this evening I cleaned up downstairs. And tonight I’ll begin cleaning upstairs. This is going to take a few days. Drafts of this essay litter the floor and books now cover every imaginable surface. I need to come up with a winter reading order.

Yep, it’s looking like it’s going to be a long winter for just about everyone, Pete and me included.

Next: 320. 11/21/20: Every Cat has its Day and Every Dog has its Weak End

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