Happy New Year, pals. Yes, the pattern book is still on the burner, but as you know, we are all just climbing out of the remains of 2020, hoping for a much better 2021. Right now, at least in the United States, the coronavirus is still raging and has taken a good many lives and livelihoods. I would be telling a lie if I said that it has not struck my family is some measure. I’ve lost students to the disease, my children have suffered from the isolation of online school that isn’t meant to be such. I’ve had to work extra to make up for the places where my adult children could not work. At one point, in addition to teaching college English, I’ve had two other jobs, and that does not include writing. So, the book will come. It will come soon, but not yet.
When I had my first child, my grandmother (the Jewish one) told me to take one hour a day for myself, to find that time even if it inconvenienced others. “It’s only one hour,” she said, “and it will keep you going.” She had a mocha java every day. I have had various things over the year: an hour of quiet reading, a nap, lunch alone, a drive to the store, an early morning coffee to watch the sunrise. It’s winter, so I’ve picked up one of the Russians and I intend to spend an hour alone with Pasternak every day. Yes, Dr. Zhivago, and yes, you’re correct. I do know this story like the back of my hand, but not because I’ve read it, but because I’ve watched the movie every year since I was about six years old. I want to see the discrepancies, if any. I want to be anchored by the weight of the Steppe and the language and cadence it produces in translated literature. What will you do?
In addition to reading lengthy Russian prose, I’ll also be working on a few projects: a scarf for my father for his birthday, which is tomorrow. He’ll never wear it, and he probably will have wanted something else, but it’s in his favorite color and it’ll do, because pandemic and all.
I’m also making a scarf for my dear friend, Lenya. She turned 50 yesterday, and I have a few gifts for her, including this crocheted, extra soft, chevron stitch. It’s in her favorite color, pink, so I know she’ll like it. I’m working on a knitted teal sweater, a blanket in Wool Ease, and another one crocheted in the same teal in which I’m knitting. Since time feels a little like it’s in a vacuum right now, I don’t know when these things will get done, but at least one of them will be included in the book.
I want to wish everyone a healthy, happy, and beautiful 2021. One of the other books I’m reading right now is by Pope Francis, Let Us Dream. Everything he writes is full of joy, and I saw it at B&N last week and knew that I needed to read it. This morning, I read, “we grow by giving of ourselves, not by preserving ourselves.” So, while I agree to that one hour a day for myself, that is because the other 23 hours usually belong to others–my family, my students, my friends, my community, etc. Hopefully, I’ll grow this year and so will you.
Shalom and God bless us, everyone.