Books to read. Coffee to drink. Stories to write.

☕️ Earworms, Dreams, and Flags on the Moon

sky and clouds

I woke up this morning with the song “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas playing through my mind. An earworm, I believe this phenomenon is called. 

I don’t know about you, but as this pandemic progresses my dreams run through my nights like a magical film library produced just for me–vivid, strange, compelling, and with discernable, if odd, storylines. I won’t bore you with any descriptions, as we all know listening to other people’s dreams is about as interesting as watching nailpolish dry, but the line of the song that keeps reverberating over and over as if it were part of the song track to my latest dream-movie is “nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.” 

(It is now almost 11 a.m. I woke at 6:30. So that’s a few hours of earworming. I wonder what the record time is?)

Okay, I’ll just tell you this one part of my dream…in it, my house burned down. It fits. See? Nothing lasts. Nothing lasts. Nothing lasts. 

Aren’t we all feeling this a little bit right now? We know, if we’ve paid any attention at all in school, that we humans are but a blip in the timeline of earth and sky. Trees live much longer than we do. But of course we don’t want our timeline to be cut even shorter, so this pandemic feels a bit as if we’ve been cheated out of what little time we have to…do what? 

I think this is the question that haunts me the most these days. What, exactly, is so important about what we do with our time? Again, I think of classrooms and history lessons, those wars and kings and queens and uprisings and rebellions and all the stupid politics and campaigns and colonizings and raising up of banners. A flag on the friggin’ moon. 

These “doings” got us where we are, I suppose, along with scientific discovery and philosophical ideas and religious epiphanies and art, and it is fascinating, this human history. We are, indeed,  part of it, the leading edge of it, creeping into the future. 

I’m thinking now of Stephen King’s Langoliers and how the past was drab and lifeless while the future sparkled with energy and life. I’ve always been interested in edges. We are living at it all the time. Mindfulness practice allows us to fully experience this edge. So does writing a poem. So does writing a blog post like this one, a stream-of-consciousness kind of thing. 

If nothing lasts, how important is anything? 

Again I come back to the thesis running through my thoughts and this blog lately, the existentialist leaning in: we find our own meaning. Nothing, in and of itself, is really that important. We decide what to make important so that we have a structure. So this pandemic is disrupting our structures, for some people more than others, but for all of us in some way. I find my usual comforts and activities feels less compelling than usual–my reading, books, coffee, writing, cooking–even as I have more time to do them. Wine, on the other hand…

Some of my friends are experiencing the opposite. They are doing a “better” job leaning in to their enjoyments and pleasures. I admire and envy this equilibrium. 

And what of writing? I was talking to a friend yesterday about novels and stories and how and when the pandemic will be written about in our popular fiction. I saw a pandemic-set story on Wattpad already being serialized, so it is, in fact, already happening. I said I didn’t think I could write a story set in the pandemic moment any more than I could have written a WWII novel during the war. I’d need a little more distance to get a perspective. 

The comedians and journalists are doing a pretty good job of writing about the pandemic as it happens. For me, it will take some reflection. However, this may be a good time to keep a journal and to reflect on the small moments. We will each remember this time differently. Won’t it be interesting, when this thing has come and gone, to read about others’ experiences and takeaways?

Wherever you are out there in the world, I wish you comfort and peace. 

XOXO Shelley


Are you keeping a journal? Or are you using your social media account as a kind of running reflection of this time? Are you finding it harder or easier to enjoy your favorite activities? Feel free to drop in a comment. I always love to hear from you!  

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Your thoughts are so interesting. I love how you muse!

    And then, I thought of this “I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center. – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    1. Great quote from Vonnegut who says it so much better because, well…Vonnegut, lol.

  2. “Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.”
    ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

    It’s interesting how each of processes today’s happenings. It’s one of those times when we top and think.. we’re living in history. Someday this is going to be a chapter in a history book or students will talk about how the situation was handled in so many different way by so many different people. I find history to be a fascinating subject.

    1. Another awesome quote about edges! It’s such a shivery space. You are totally right. This will be a chapter in history. “Where did you spent your cornovirus lockdown?” will be the “Where were you when Kennedy was shot” question of the age.

  3. That was so interesting. I’m loving the little things right now. Cooking dinner, eating… of course, the wine. The big things are giving me a lot of angst, greatest among these is the writing. Having twenty years on you, I truly wonder if I will live long enough to finish a novel, never mind get it published and have someone read it. Maybe flash fiction is the answer!
    Thanks, Shelley. Great post.

    1. Don’t give up, Georgette! Even if you manage to write one page a day with a few days off here and there, you could have a 350 page novel done in one year! But yes, I am a big fan of flash and microfiction. In the meantime, those “little” things are so important. Great to hear from you! Any time you want to do a guest blog…I will publish flash fiction as well as essays. Can’t promise you fame and fortune, though:)

  4. In the end….it will only be about what we’ve learned about ourselves, really, and it’s been sped up by this pandemic…..forced to look in the mirror, day, after day, after day………and hopefully we like what we see….or maybe even more important love who we are.

  5. In the end….it will only be about what we’ve learned about ourselves, really, and it’s been sped up by this pandemic…..forced to look in the mirror, day, after day, after day………and hopefully we like what we see….or maybe even more important love who we are.

    1. Yes, probably this is true. Hopefully it will be positive for a lot of people. I suspect it might be very traumatic for others, especially those who lose loved ones or jobs. I hope we will come out of this more attune to how society operates and how weak we are in some areas. Also figuring out what is truly important, keeping in mind that having adequate food, housing, water, and healthcare are necessary foundations.

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