It’s 3 degrees here and getting colder tonight. There is frost on my office window so thick I can barely see the street though the streetlight and Christmas lights on the house across the way are shining. Like I have 500 times before, I see the frosted window and remember the frost on the hospital windows the night my daughter was born. I couldn’t see much that night either – what I would do next, how it would work out – but it was fine in the moment and it’s that fineness that I remember most.
We had dinner with an old friend and her ex-husband who are still friends who live down the street from each other. We used to spend a lot of time together, our kids grew up together, but that was then. The ties that bound us got used for other things. But on the table was the big pewter salad bowl we’d given them as a wedding present. I thought when I saw it, there’s something that has really endured. But thinking again, I realized we all had.
Today at lunch, a friend remarked that I was speaking too softly. She has a hearing issue which, because I always thought it minor compared to mine, I never much attended to. Why would I worry about your limp when my leg is broken? So now my leg is mended, insofar as the cochlear implant has improved my hearing so much, and it’s my turn to watch how I am speaking and to check in to make sure she is hearing me. It’s hard, I realized right away, to really know when I’m saying what can be heard.
My little exercise of writing about race was difficult but worth it. I think I’m one of the least racist people I know, but that’s my opinion. Even so, I’ve got “it,” the nugget, the kernel, the gene. Writing the three blog posts sorted that out. You know the Flannery O’Connor quote, “I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” What comes next is always my question. I don’t know.
My New Year’s resolution to keep showing up works in small and larger ways. Regained hearing is physically and intellectually empowering in ways I hadn’t guessed so showing up has right away meant a lot more than moving my formerly potted plant self from one venue to another. My brain apparently still works in public. It’s fun to see.
Link to Jan's Instagram - for pictures of dogs and other living things
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Listen to Jan read her essay “Billy” presented on WUWM’s Lake Effect.
Jan’s essay “At the Breakfast Bar” on WUWM Lake Effect
Jan’s essay “The Parish Hall,” on WUWM Lake Effect May 27, 2020
“Fury Cannot Touch Me,” Modern Love, NYT, 9/29/11
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