Cloister Commentary, Day 112: Good Fortune and Bright Light

Good fortune and bright light shone on me yesterday. As far as fortune went, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty found inmates for both Nicole and me to correspond with through their program. Neither of us believe in capital punishment, both of us recognize mass incarceration as one of our country’s biggest issues, and we applied to MADP to try to assist in a personal way. The response to the program had been so robust that they initially had no one to pair us with.

Bright light came in two forms. We successfully released “Scrappy,” a stray cat who found his way to Columbia’s Cat Capitol and got trapped and SNPed. To our surprise, he stayed put on the deck for a tuna treat. But…why were we even surprised? Also, our great friends Kenny and Gwen Wright chose us for their first Zoom double-date and we laughed into the night. Their youngun Ethan will soon be driving the most conspicuous and be-bumper-stickered teacher vehicle in town, only he’ll be doing so in Birmingham. We’ll meet in Memphis for the transaction, so that will be bright light for the future. I wish they were our next-door neighbors.

Oh yeah: I finished grading those papers. Beer. And dropped off a mega-load of recycling. Beer. And finished Jennings & Duffy’s mind-blowing graphic adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred. Beer. Apologies, but I had been needing some release, and was stubborn in coming.

Streaming for Strivers:

Comin’ round the mountain…

Cloister Commentary, Day 111: More Lasagna

As a citizen trying to stay healthy and wanting others to as well, as a teacher and voter looking ahead to August and November, as a student who truly believes that education is the key to law and order, as a human striving to act justly and compassionately, as a survivor grieving and a friend pining, I cannot describe my contempt for our “leadership.” And I cannot believe I am alone in that.

Ok, so I got that off my chest. I suppose it was inspired by yet another threat lobbed yesterday, or was it the day before, from the very White House. But I have bigger and better things to think and worry about than bullies. Like fighting to keep the losses of my best friend and my dad from melding. They happened so suddenly and so closely together that some of the details (like correspondences) are blurring and even my processing frequently feels mixed up.

It’s a weird metaphor, but I keep coming back to it: lasagna. Layers of dread. Except lasagna is also delicious and this time is the opposite.

I graded some papers. They’re analytical essay rough drafts: the subjects of the three I made it through were Halsey, Inside Out, and Chanel–at least the topics are interesting. But three wore me out and I quit and took a nap.

Drove to Moser’s to look at the state of their recycling bins and decided to move that task to another day.

Nicole’s latest round of limoncello “matured,” so we enjoyed a couple tiny glasses of that delicious elixir. She crafted it cream-style this time, my favorite.

Finished up The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Ford presents a political and historical vision that’s complicated, to say the least, but the performances are great and its best moments are inspiring. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”? That quote’s taken on new, troublesome weight. As the credits rolled, I found myself thinking about statues, and the fact that before our eyes we’re seeing legends subjected to a bigger mass of critical thinking than ever before. Some may cry bloody murder–and often that was on such legends’ hands–but that critical thinking is good.

Streaming for Strivers:

Bit of a lost album from a terrific but somewhat underappreciated soul man.