amongst books

amongst books

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Ottawa, April 15, 2020 - Spring, crocuses and fabulous birdhouses


Outside today for the first time since Friday. I saw crocuses, little buds just starting to make bumps on the trees, tiny cases on the sidewalk, a fabulous birdhouse. The tall building across the street that’s been under construction for the last year or so has started to gain windows. Streets are mostly empty in Chinatown. A few folks walking dogs or doing a bit of shopping at Kowloon. A road construction project underway on Cambridge North has all the little gardens dug up.

I’m getting by. I’m safe and sound on the 19th floor. The more I stay indoors, the more anxious I get about leaving the apartment. I have to pretty much force myself out, but am glad when I do. If it weren’t for the fact that people are dying and sickening from this thing, I woudn’t mind limiting my outdoor activity to walks and a weekly grocery shop. I love being outside at this time or year though and I need it. I have to remember that.

My best days are when I limit my consumption of social media and the news. I wish I could avoid both all together, but that’s not my way, not yet anyway. Is it just me or are  a lot of people even sharper and more aggressive than usual on social media? I guess it’s the stress.

I’ve been reading a lot, sleeping a lot, wanking a little, enjoying Charles’ company when he’s home. We work on our various publishing projects via Bywords.ca and AngelHousePress, these keep going because they have virtual rather than in-person requirements.

I do some form of exercise, mostly every day, my meditation sessions with my tai chi instructor, exercises from my stretch and strength class at Carleton. And if I don’t feel like doing something, if I find I’m too stressed or overwhelmed, I just skip it.

I’ve read two really great poetry books this week: The Quiet by Anne-Marie Turza (House of Anansi Press, 2014), which I purchased shortly after being blown away by her chapbook, Slip-Minute, which came out with Baseline Press in 2018, and Love Speech by Xiao Xuan / Sherry Huang from Metatron Press in 2019, a really amazing hybrid poem-essay book on love.

I hope you’re staying calm during all this, taking time to rest and able to somehow care about people and you and yours while finding joy in the moment. I feel weird saying that, as if we’re not supposed to have any joy. Anyone else feel like that? I think humans are capable of feeling joy and sorrow at the same time, grief and happiness, love and anger. It’s a bittersweet time. Take a breath, keep going. Moment by moment. That’s my strategy.

Currently listening to The Heartless Bastards, The Mountain

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