As my dad says, 2020 is crap

Dear Friends, I’m not really sure what to do with myself these days. These dog days of summer. These unbearably boring and crisis-filled days when we are forever in a swirl of refuse. On one hand, it’s mind-numbingly boring, and on the other, there’s people being shot because they ask someone to wear a mask.

The good news: I graduated with my MFA on July 17. Here’s a cute photo of us staring into our zoom cameras.

I am currently embarking on the #sealeychallenge to read 31 poetry books in 31 days. So far, I have read Adrienne Rich, Danez Smith, ee cummings, and Natasha Trethewey, among others. I also read (my former Grub Street poetry teacher) Allison Adair’s new book, The Clearing, which is fabulous. I delved into the Rookery by Traci Brimhall and she is wonderfully dark and honest and she feels like a kindred spirit to me. I also have plans to revisit some of my earlier inspirations for poetry — Blake, Dickinson, Sexton, and the like. I also have the Greek Anthology, which is a pretty intense book of ancient epigrams. Usually about love or drinking or fighting a war. Seems still relevant to my interests today.

​I am also participating in a zine exchange. We’re all making mini-zines around the pandemic and it feels so good to tell my story on paper, to fold, to copy, to cut. I have been revisiting my zines and there will be more to say about that soon. When the pandemic zine is final, I plan to share it here. Other than that, I haven’t yet gotten into a routine of submissions, or writing, or revising, because what is routine? What is life? Some days I can dig in and really connect with my work and other days, I need to be face down on our bed, snuggling a cat. Or comforting a daughter. Or discussing music fandom and politics with a husband.

Large billed Puffin from Birds of America (1827) by John James Audubon (1785 – 1851), etched by Robert Havell (1793 – 1878). The original Birds of America is the most expensive printed book in the world and a truly awe-inspiring classic.

And I am wondering… I wonder about folks whom I used to see everyday and now haven’t talked to in months. I wonder about our resiliency and if that’s a good thing. Resiliency would presume that we are enduring a rough patch to make it back to normal. But I suspect for about 85% of the country normal was never good. I don’t want to go back to normal. I want a systemic shift in housing, in health, in education. I want all the oldsters in government who think making $600 dollars extra in UI benefits is a luxury to keel over. Seriously, the fact that most of our reps are millionaires and over the age of 65 really skews their empathy.

I wonder if I will ever feel comfortable again in large gatherings. I wonder if Boston is ready for the influx of students from all over the world. I wonder about all the other daily crises that are now buried by the virus. All the splinters in our blood.

I wonder if my daughter will make it through this ok and what the lasting impacts of this trauma will be for her, and for all of us. I wonder about the election and if the confidence people feel in Biden’s certain victory is well-placed.

Also, while we’re talking about the election, communication, and stories, and connection, SAVE THE FREAKING USPS!! Text USPS to 50409, or to DM @resistbot on Twitter, and you can instantly sign a petition and send it to your reps asking them to save the mail.

Love and solidarity, Becca