Just before the new coronavirus became the 2020 Pandemic, my story Disaster Pants was published in DoveTales, the journal of the nonprofit Writing for Peace. I briefly stopped sharing the link to that story, about living through the Thomas Fire, when fears over the impending COVID-19 Pandemic began to swirl. Didn’t want to add insult to injury. But now that much of the world is in lockdown, and many of us are stuck at home, I hope it’s a good time to share this story…
Here in Ventura, my husband and I weren’t sure we’d get through the Thomas Fire intact. We did, though we’ll never be the same. Not everyone will get through COVID-19, but most will. As we all come together by increasing our social distance, I hope you’ll accept Disaster Pants as my gift to you, a reflection on fortitude in the face of trials. I hope this story reminds you of your own strength to endure, with your humor and compassion all the greater for it:
I recently received a request from a blogger to answer a question he has asked more than 1000 people he characterizes as leaders, thinkers, writers, writers, researchers, elders, artists, CEOs, laymen, etc: What is the meaning of life? Although I don’t believe this is a question one person can answer for another, I do believe it’s a question worth pondering, and I figured, why not add my voice to the mix? So, if you’re in a philosophical mood, please stop by The Meaning of Life blog, and check out my answer, or any of the 1000-plus answers that catches your attention. And by all means, if you feel like sharing a few meaningful thoughts of your own here, please do.
After more than a year striving to find my voice in the world of oral storytelling, I won The Moth StorySlam in L.A. on January 23, 2018. The night’s topic was Achilles’ Heel. It was humbling to win with a story about my weaknesses. I now qualify to compete in a Moth Grand Slam with nine other StorySlam winners. There are no prizes, just the joy of celebrating the human experience with fellow storytellers and an enthusiastic audience. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, if you’re unfamiliar with live storytelling, I recommend checking out The Moth Radio Hour or The Moth Podcast. You’re in for an unforgettable experience in the power of story.
I’ve been getting rid of them this week. The extra words. I often say too much. My obsessive compulsive disorder makes this so hard to control that sometimes it feels like I only have two options: say everything or nothing at all.
Sometimes I write a Facebook reply in an attempt to connect, some comment about an experience I once had that’s similar to the one a friend has described. Then I ask myself: are you sure this person shared their story in hopes of hearing yours? What then shall I write? “I understand”? Won’t that get lost in the thread? Shall I ask a question? “And what happened to you after that?” Too intrusive perhaps? I give up, delete all my words, and hit “like,” or the surprised emoji or laughing emoji, admonishing myself to be sparing with the heart emoji so they know I mean it.
In case you missed it, my short personal story of love and marriage, called Smelly Make This Bed, makes an appearance today at The Manifest-Station, a beautiful online journal “On Being Human.” This Valentine’s Day, let it remind us that whatever challenges we face in our lives, somehow, somewhere, some way: love survives. Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
In this month’s edition of Long Story Short, I take a personal look at a sacred yet strange space, the marriage bed: “…when you spend years sleeping with one person everything that happens in bed is too much information.” Please check out Smelly Make This Bed (if you haven’t yet). Thank you as always, my friends, for supporting the power of words.
I’ve been feeling the loneliness that comes with the realization that not only do others not see the world the same way as I, but that nobody sees it the same way at all. Not a one. Not even the people who vote the same. Not even the people who like the same movies, books, and dances. Not the dearest of friends.