Hello to all of you out there at the other end of this email list.
When you write, you’re supposed to have your audience in mind. You draw some diagram of how much they are like you and how much they are not. This helps you discard writing that makes you chuckle by yourself in the kitchen late at night but that makes only you chuckle.
Writing changes now in the age of the quarantine. We are all roughly in the same boat. (Though I hope it’s not a cruise ship.) We’re worried about our parents or our siblings and we’re worried about our jobs. I like to plan to give my life order. How do you plan under these circumstances? We’re all taking shorter breaths these days.
…and then worrying about whether those short breaths are symptoms of Covid-19.
I wish you peace and hope and resilience in these moments. If you have comfort food of the soul I hope your shelves are stocked with whatever prayer, poem, film or music you need. And I wish all of you the family or friends nearby who discover in those things that sustain you some new sparkling thing that you never noticed. And that they tell you all about it. It is a way of feeling seen or understood and it’s a new discovery for you which is a gem.
My son walked into my room yesterday and told me with some energy a cool fact he had learned about jazz history. It’s just the kind of thing I would do, but I thought in this family I was the only one who randomly recited facts into a room of people who were not expecting it. Sometimes, I guess we’re not just laughing in the kitchen alone.
Wait, this wasn’t the reason I was writing. I wrote an essay about leadership because Mary Hager, the Executive Producer of Face the Nation, asked if I had one in me. Here it is, I hope it is useful to you: