Cloister Commentary, Day 196: Elasticity

While trying to finish up an audiobook yesterday that we started four months ago, Nicole and I pondered the strange elasticity of time in this pandemic:

“Where the hell did September go?”

“Yeah, but January seems two years ago!”

All the things that make time seem to slow down are in play in this weird era, but that’s not been the effect. And, as I’ve gotten older, though I think staying very engaged in life also plays a part, I’ve frequently gotten the feeling that my days are rushing by. Yet, again, the last two road trips we took with friends early this year–“It was just yesterday that we went to Springfield and Joplin with Janet and David,” I should be saying–almost feel to date from the middle of last decade.

How is time playing with you?

By the way, that book is Marjorie Spruill’s Divided We Stand, which explains much about how we became like we are in this country–and we still have five minutes’ worth of it to listen to. We recommend it.

Apparently COVID-19 is, as Willie Nelson once wrote, “extremely real.”

Streaming for Strivers:

It’s the anniversary of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s arrival on this plane, but I don’t think he’d mind me passing this along.

Cloister Commentary, Day 116: Just Being Still

A kind of quiet day in Mask Ordinance USA.

Riding back up to Columbia, we listened to the audiobook of Marjorie Spruill’s Divided We Stand. You’ve heard me mention it while enthusing about the Hulu series Mrs. America, for which it served as somewhat of a guidebook for the series’ writers. In it, Spruill makes a great case for the seeds of today’s paralyzing, aggravating, and flat-out miserable division having been planted by the ’70s struggle over the Equal Rights Amendment. While the book is enlightening, it does not serve to lift much pre-existing dread with which one might be grappling.

In other highlights, when we got home, I lay next to Nicole on our bed in the dark while she napped, just being still, conscious, and calm. It was very nice. Also, there was a cat on my chest.

Later, I had a peach popsicle and again fell asleep exactly for the key moment of Episode 8 of The Great. As always, I awakened right after the key moment.

I did not listen to any music, but I heard much of the following in my head.

Streaming for Strivers:

Thank you for the nudge, Michael Corcoran. It’d been awhile since I’d been down to Marlin, Texas.

Cloister Commentary, Day 91: California, OK!

My Thursday classes are open Zooms: they serve as opportunities for one-on-one tutoring, clarification on coming assignments and grades, testing out fresh writing on me–basically anything related to comp. Three of my students hail from California, all of them are thriving, and one of them always takes advantage of Thursdays. She’s a delight, she always asks the best questions, and despite taking FOUR classes this summer, she is always full of cheer. My favorite quote from her yesterday? “Mr. Overeem, I LOVE writing!” She’s an equine studies major, too!

I have too many books on my stack, but that didn’t stop me from picking up National Book Award winner James McBride’s new one, Deacon King Kong, and, with Nicole, starting the audiobook of Marjorie J. Spruill’s Divided We Stand, one of the guides for the creators of Hulu’s Mrs. America. I know you were hoping I wouldn’t mention that again. It’s that good.

Amazingly, I handled a power drill and didn’t affix myself to the deck’s latticework, upon the posts of which I installed some doo-dads so Nicole could string some colored lights (we call ’em “joy lights”). I earned two fingers of Four Roses to back my cold beer.

Have a great Juneteenth tomorrow, and if you’re not sure about it, look it up!

Streaming for Strivers:

Pre-U.S. release Wailers with Scratch on the sliders and knobs.