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 √Člmer 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.