Cloister Commentary, Day 48: “Seclusion from Seclusion”

Maybe it’s just teaching, but I’m a month away from starting a new virtual gig, and I’m already nervous. I’ve no reason to be–I’ve done this work for awhile–but I always am, until I’m in it. When my students complain to me of nervousness, I always tell them two things: one, that’s a sign you give a damn, and two, you’re gonna blink and you’ll be on the other side of the event, looking back on it. I should take my own advice.

The air was filled with repugnant news, but four things here in the house were redemptive. Nicole surprised me by restarting a ritual we used to practice: quietly leaving notes of encouragement for each other to find. I threw myself into the three outstanding books currently on my stack, and was deeply rewarded (two are by amazing Mexican writers, Fernanda Melchor and Élmer Mendoza). We had grilled cheese sandwiches (talk about simple pleasures!). And, for a change, we retreated into my basement “office” in the evening to read, hang out with the cats, and listen to music (Moondog, Miles, Carmen McRae) in a nicely secluded environment. Don’t ask me why more seclusion was nice; it just was.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, Ahmaud Arbery’s murder brings this, top to bottom the greatest reggae album I’ve ever heard, to mind. If you haven’t heard it, you should.

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