I’m a bit late today. I have had 3 meetings, read a book and worked and … I’m tired. I don’t have many words for you today, then, but my last few days got me thinking. I have so many things to think about right now that it’s hard to settle down to write about just one idea. What is helping sort me out is a letter I received from an editor. It was one of the most lucid analyses of a manuscript I’ve seen in a long time. It told me what my mind was doing. That letter also helped me see what other people’s minds are doing.
We’re all in a strange world and adjusting to it as difficult. This new world has too much quicksand. It’s easy to step onto something secure and discover the ground sucking us in.
COVID changes our everyday in ways we can’t predict. The emotional response to the pandemic and the quicksand changes our emotions in ways we cannot control. What this lucid letter taught me was that I had temporarily lost the capacity to take a step back and to see the world clearly.
In some ways we’re living very slowly right now, and we’re a bit divorced from the world because we can’t walk in it every day.
In other ways we’re living very intensely. In the late 1980s I clipped a cartoon and stuck it on a bookshelf, for it exactly summed up what the world looked like just then. Father Time was playing with a device. “Oops, I hit fast-forward,” he said.
That cartoon is even more appropriate now than it was then, for social distancing and iso and the world talking so quickly and passionately online while our local social networks are temporarily faded makes me think of the TV screen and watching events on it.
In the late 1980s Father Time was metaphorically hitting the switch that affected our lives. In 2020, we are ourselves in Father Time’s seat, seeing the whole world through screens.