Margaret Atwood: It’s the Best of Times, It’s the Worst of Times. Make the Most of It

Do you think you remember a movie in which a knight gallops toward a castle just as its drawbridge is going up, and his white horse jumps the moat in one glorious airborne leap? I could picture it too, but when I went looking for this image on the Internet, all I could find was a couple of cars sailing over rivers via lift bridges and the Pink Panther detective flailing around in the murky water, having missed.

Nonetheless, we’re that rider. Chasing us is the dreaded coronavirus. We’re in midair, hoping we make it to the other side, where life will have returned to what we think of as normal. So what should we do while we’re up there, between now and then?

Think of all the things you hope will still be there in that castle of the future when we get across. Then do what you can, now, to ensure the future existence of those things.

Health care workers go without saying: everyone should be supporting them, because let’s assume we all want a health care system in that Castle Future. But what made your life worth living when you were healthy, apart from friends and family? We each have our own lists. Here are some of mine.

Favorite restaurants and cafés. Strange how we assume these happy places will always be there, so we can step out or drop in whenever we feel like it. To help them over the jump, order takeout and buy gift certificates. You can usually find out online what’s on offer, where.

Your local bookstore. Some offer curbside pickup, some delivery, some mail-order. Keep them going! In the same department, publishers and authors can use a hand—especially those whose spring book launches have been canceled. All sorts of inventive solutions are popping up: Twitter launches, podcasts, virtual events of various sorts. People are fond of saying “the reading community” and “the writing community,” which is not exactly true—there are many groups and entities, not all of them friendly to the others—but you can make it truer. When I was 25, things were so sparse on the ground in Canadian publishing that it was a truism that writers should help both other writers and their publishers. And we did, mostly, even though some of us hated some others. (That’s part of “community,” too. Ask anyone from a small town. In face of an emergency you support your local enemies, because though they might be jerks, they’re your jerks, right?)

Your trusted newspapers and magazines. Democracy is increasingly under pressure, since there’s nothing like a crisis to allow an authoritarian regime to toss civil liberties, democratic freedoms and human rights out the window. Part of this tossing is the always popular move toward a totalitarian shutdown of information and debate. It’s vital to keep the lines of communication both open and independent. Give subscriptions. Support sites that combat fake news, and others, such as PEN America, that fight for responsible free speech. Donate to publicly supported radio stations. Provide some free ad time by spreading the word via your own social media. Don’t let a virus cut out our tongues.

Keep up to date on the growing threat to global health by signing up for our daily coronavirus newsletter.

Arts organizations, of all kinds. Art is how we express our humanity, in all of its dimensions. Through art, we descend to the depths of our human nature, rise to the heights and everything in between. Theater, music, dance, festivals, galleries—all have had to cancel shows, all are hurting. Donations, gift certificates, ticketed online events. Without an audience there is, eventually, no art. You can be that audience.

Your planet. One you can live on. Short form: kill the ocean, and there goes your oxygen supply. Many have commented on the fact that during this pandemic, global emissions and global pollution have actually gone down. Will we live differently, to make that a reality in the Castle of the Future? Will we source energy and food in better ways? Or will we simply revert? Choose an environmental organization or two, or more, and donate. Now’s your chance.

Finally, keep the faith. You can make it across that moat! Yes, this moment is scary and unpleasant. People are dying. People are losing their jobs and the feeling that they’re in control of their lives, however cliff’s-edge that control may have been. But if you aren’t ill—and even if you have small children and feel your brain has been kidnapped—you’re actually in a good place, comparatively speaking.

You can enjoy this time, albeit at a pace somewhat less frenzied than it was when things were “normal.” Many are questioning that pace—What was the hurry?—and deciding to live differently.

It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. How you experience this time will be, in part, up to you. If you’re reading this, you’re alive, or so I assume. If you’re not alive, I’m in for a big surprise.

By Margaret Atwood April 16, 2020 7:01 AM EDT

Source: Margaret Atwood: It’s the Best of Times, It’s the Worst of Times. Make the Most of It

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On her 80th birthday, the revered author remembers backwoods adventures, royal encounters and the very moment she decided to be a writer. http://cbc.ca/1.5361066 Subscribe to our channel! https://youtube.com/Qtv Meet the artists you’re talking about, and the ones you’ll soon love. From music, TV and film to visual arts, theatre, and comedy— q is there. Expect deep insight and big surprises, because on q, arts and entertainment get personal. Visit http://www.cbc.ca/q for more! Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QonCBCRadio Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbcradioq Or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cbcq

What’s Needed is Magic: Writing Advice from Haruki Murakami

If you can believe it, Japanese novelist, talking cat enthusiast, and weird ear chronicler Haruki Murakami turned 70 years old this weekend. 70! But I suppose we should believe it, despite the youthful gaiety and creative magic of his prose: the internationally bestselling writer has 14 novels and a handful of short stories under his belt, and it’s safe to say he’s one of the most famous contemporary writers in the world. To celebrate his birthday, and as a gift to those of you who hope to be the kind of writer Murakami is when you turn 70, I’ve collected some of his best writing advice……..

Source: What’s Needed is Magic: Writing Advice from Haruki Murakami

Bubbles of Love — The Lonely Author

I would like to dedicate this to my muse, if I had one, but I don’t. So, I won’t. (Wink Wink) bubbles of love Soaking in an effervescent tubof your warm poetrytiny inspirationsburst all around meSparkling suds of passioncleanse my soulof the unsightly stainsof dirty loversand tainted memories For you are the nymphetof my passionsa […]

via bubbles of love — The Lonely Author

Finding Love, as the Lights are, Going Out — JUST the Unwinding of Thoughts

Her husband’s gentle acts toward her, translated… The Latin name for rosemary meant the “Dews from the Oceans”, my husband planted a few pots on our lanai. There was, the Pacific Ocean that we can see from there, it’s a weird thing though, no matter how big the wind, I could, never smell the scent […]

via Finding Love, as the Lights are, Going Out — JUST the Unwinding of Thoughts

Poetry – Underneath London Bridge – VinX

How can my heart Forgive a mark Permanently Engraved for gaze Each time I see Her photographs Hanging behind Walls of my heart I do recall The notes she left: ‘I appreciate Your sweet kindness But these my legs Just have to walk Probably run… I must delay Tomorrow’s egg Well, this my heart I […]

via Underneath London Bridge — Poems by VinX

 

 

 

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The Only Story in the World John Steinbeck on Kindness Good & Evil the Wellspring of Good Writing – Maria Popova

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A decade later, and a decade before he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Steinbeck turned this abiding tug of war between good and evil into a literary inquiry in East of Eden (public library) — the 1952 novel that gave us his beautiful wisdom on creativity and the meaning of life, eventually adapted into the 1955 film of the same title starring James Dean……

Read more: https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/09/17/john-steinbeck-good-evil-east-of-eden/

 

 

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Frida Kahlo Writes a Personal Letter to Georgia O’Keeffe After O’Keeffe’s Nervous Breakdown (1933) – Colin Marshall

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Important twentieth-century painters, as every student of art history learns, didn’t tend to sail smoothly through existence. Those even a little interested in famed Mexican self-portraitist Frida Kahlo have heard much about the travails both romantic and physical she endured in her short life. But in this lesser-known instance, another artist suffered, and Kahlo offered the solace.Available to view from Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, we have here a letter Kahlo sent to Georgia O’Keeffe, painter of blossoms and southwest American landscapes…….

Read more: http://www.openculture.com/2013/09/frida-kahlo-writes-a-personal-letter-to-georgia-okeeffe.html

 

 

 

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Ask a Radical CopyEditor: Are There Limits to Self-Identity Language? — Radical Copyeditor

Every person gets to have full agency over the language they use to describe themself, even if those words are experienced by others as oppressive.

via Ask a Radical Copyeditor: Are There Limits to Self-Identity Language? — Radical Copyeditor

 

 

 

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Poetry With Summer Purpled Awe – Robert Okaji

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1

No one wants to be forgotten
or remembered for the wrong reasons,
but how do we attain that sweet spot
between regrettable and a barred
door clanking shut? I was born in
Louisiana. What happened next
is that song living at the edge of
memory, just beyond grasp, its
lyrics gnarled and tangled in the
roots of an old cypress along a
muddy creek. Yeah, that one. I
won’t sing it in this lifetime.
That tune’s never coming back.

2

You stretch out your hands
and a reflection cuts you in half.

3

I should have grabbed you and the dog,
and headed to Texas. They’ve got hills
there that the tide won’t reach, and
trees that won’t die from salt
poisoning, whose branches
won’t be festooned with children’s
clothing and bits of people’s torn
lives, and the stench won’t linger
longer than regret and the effect
of poor choice and dumb luck.

4

There, then gone. I scream
until my voice rasps away
but you are still out there,
still floating, still afraid
and angry and beautiful, hair
forming a halo around your
face, no tears, no sound
but water lapping, and
the flies zeroing in.

5

Next time there will be no party.
I’ll wait alone to greet the rain.
The wind will scour me
as I embrace what comes.

Positive Thought – I Do Not Care About That But I Do Care About You — thesecretblind

I do not care if your eyebrows are not on fleek. I do not care if the spot that you think is huge, is there. I do not care if you have dribbled mayonnaise all over your top from your lunch. I do not care that you have some spinach between your teeth. I do […]

via I Do Not Care About That But I Do Care About You — thesecretblind