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Laughter, Rest & Hope

Yesterday was my husband’s 39th birthday. The celebrations will continue all week with table tennis (he’s a tournament-level player), good food, friends and family, laughter and stories.Planning the celebrations was a welcome break from work and worry, election propaganda and its unrelenting hyperbolic speech. After a while, no matter our political preference, everything the candidates say sounds like a big lie.

I am getting into a virtual hammock for a few days. I leave it to my news junkie 39-year-old husband to keep me apprised of important developments that cannot be ignored. And, of course, I do scan the news alerts and worry about terrorist attacks and my Turkish student, but I will take it a bit slower for a few days, not carry all the world on my shoulders, and swim as as much as I can. That’s where I relax the most, where ideas for new writing come to me. The text of Nomads 3 is finished. More reason for a refueling hiatus.

The Guardian newspaper in London is running a series of articles this summer about books that give us hope. The first on their list is Marilynne Robinson’s “Gilead.” She is what some call a “meditative” writer; she writes with intention, not to cure us, but to give us perspective.

I have a few such books on my shelves also, books I return to often. Here’s a shortlist of the authors whose humanity, psychological insight and literary skill have joined my personal pantheon: Graham Greene, Anne Tyler, Raymond Carver, Kent Haruf, Willa Cather, Alice Munro and Edith Wharton.

And that’s just a shortlist.

I find that reading a lot of history also helps me maintain perspective on this violent world we are living in. I have just finished "When Paris Went Dark" by Ronald Rosbottom, which was riveting. It's a well-researched book about the Nazi occupation of Paris. As Ur-Fascism is still with us...you can fill in the blanks.

Enjoy what is left of the summer, dear reader, and if you are traveling, travel well, home safe.

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