My last essay generated quite a bit of feedback. It seems that many of my readers looked back into their past and found, sometimes to their surprise, memories that reanimated them and filled them with joy. I had readers who reminded me that not everyone has happy memories. This is true, but even those readers did find a happy memory amongst the ruins.
I am most grateful to all of you who responded. It makes me feel connected with you and your experience of life. One reader wrote an essay on a special memory and posted it on her own substack site. It is titled, Creativity Without Attachment. It is about finding herself in the “painting” before she ever put brush to canvas. It was there waiting to be the witness of her expression.
The essays I have been writing are a search for what is my truth about life in this Coronavirus time. Everything looks normal as I walk around my village, but underneath, I know nothing is the way it was before and probably won’t be again. I can’t just hop on a fast airplane and see my son in six or seven hours, at least not without risking being infected with the virus or carrying the virus to him. I can’t even drive an hour east and see my good friends in Luxembourg because the border is closed. I can’t join friends at a restaurant to share a meal. Even when restrictions are lifted, there will be the lingering fear that it will surge again with a vengeance.
In these times of information and misinformation overload, it is more important than ever to find our own truth. To look inside ourselves and find the painting, the writing, the song, the poem, that is waiting to find its medium. It is time to not care whether we are perfect in our expression. Our truth will write its own story if we let it.
It does frequently rain in my heart. It cries in my heart. People are dying. Business are closed. Many have lost their jobs and have no means of support for themselves and their families. Schools are closed and children are missing important learning experiences. People are frightened and some are doing and saying very frightening things. These are of my truths. But there are other truths. There is the truth that I am loved. That I can love in return. I can say what I feel and not let the fear of judgement impede my voice. I do not have to be attached to whether I survive this pandemic. That is not entirely up to me. But I can look for my truth and let it write my story and be a witness to this life, at this time, with all of you.
I encourage you to do the same. Live the life that you have always wanted to live. Don’t hesitate. The canvas is waiting for you.
I will end with a poem I wrote for this essay.
For You, For Me, For Paul Verlaine
All things said
All things read
All things old
All things new
All things bold
Await under heaven’s dome,
The prisoner’s release,
The triumph of reason
Defeating the trumpet’s mournful call.
When will the answer come?
It is being forged just beyond horizon’s wall.
Be safe. Be well. Love the ones you’re with. Don’t let you stop you. Life is short even without a pandemic. Please share with me your canvases.
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*Il pleure dans mon coeur, (He cries in my heart) Paul Verlaine 1874
The full poem in French and English translation can be found at: