Thursday, March 26, 2020

Changing times

Homeschooling, Keeley-style
This week has seen lots of changes. We have all five of the Corrigans at home at once, a rarity in itself. And all five of us are in different stations of the home working remotely, even my fifth-grader. I drove 11 hours to Ohio twice in five days last week to, first, get my daughters, then to retrieve their belongings when their colleges determined they would finish the year “remotely.” And this old dog is trying to learn the remote teaching game himself. Maybe the biggest change is that, for the first time I can remember, the 500-acre boarding school campus where I reside is post-apocalyptically quiet. I live and work with teenagers because I enjoy their energy. The world, as Bo Whitney reminds us, “hasn’t said No to them yet.”

Or, rather, it hadn’t said No until this week.

Keeley (left) made Delaney a diploma
My daughter Delaney, 21, is (was?) a senior at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. She, like the high school seniors I teach and who live in the dorm I run, won’t have a graduation. My senior and my seniors have lost their springs, lost their final athletic seasons, lost their chance to say goodbye.

I loved Thomas’s post on Monday and in particular, the Asimov quote about isolation. It is fitting at this time –– we are all forced to embrace isolation. I told my wife yesterday, “...spend hours at the computer writing and tweaking course content, take the dog on two long walks each day, and read? You just described my Christmas vacation.” Of course, that bad joke was tempered when I got an email from a dear (writer) friend in New York City who said everyone in their house has Covid-19, and she went to the hospital with a 105-degree fever. The danger is real, and the fear is palpable.

And U.S. politicians continue to squabble.

Audrey (right) and Delaney
making dinner
We are living in changing times. I feel it as I did in the wake of 9/11. Declining financial markets have changed people’s lives, so has the need to maintain a “safe social distance.” And so, maybe, as Thomas touched upon on Monday, the need for control –– for us, as writers, who long for it, and for readers who seek our novels because they offer a resolution to a chaotic (fictional) world –– the need for reading and writing has never been greater.

No comments: