The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, September 14, 2019


Going to Heaven
by Emily Dickinson

Going to heaven!
I don’t know when,
Pray do not ask me how,–
Indeed, I’m too astonished
To think of answering you!
Going to heaven!–
How dim it sounds!
And yet it will be done
As sure as flocks go home at night
Unto the shepherd’s arm!

Perhaps you’re going too!
Who knows?
If you should get there first,
Save just a little place for me
Close to the two I lost!
The smallest “robe” will fit me,
And just a bit of “crown”;
For you know we do not mind our dress
When we are going home.

I’m glad I don’t believe it,
For it would stop my breath,
And I’d like to look a little more
At such a curious earth!
I am glad they did believe it
Whom I have never found
Since the mighty autumn afternoon
I left them in the ground.

 

“Going to Heaven” by Emily Dickinson. Public domain. (buy now)


On this day in 1320Dante (books by this authordied from malaria, just months after completing Paradiso, the third and final part of Divine Comedy.

The Italian poet died in exile from his beloved city of Florence after supporting a failed challenge to the pope’s authority. Dante had been a member of the White Party, which wanted the city to remain independent from the influence of the Vatican, but the Black Party wanted to form an alliance with the pope. Dante had tried to help work out a compromise to avoid any real conflict. He traveled to Rome to negotiate with Pope Boniface about the situation, but while he was there, the Blacks launched an uprising and took over the city of Florence. Dante was actually on his way home when he got the news that he had been banished from the city. The government announced that Dante would be buried alive if he ever set foot in Florence again.

Stripped of his wealth, Dante retreated from politics and spent the rest of his life wandering from city to city in northern and central Italy, estranged from his wife and kids and often living in poverty. His only solace during his exile was writing, and sometime around 1308, he started work on his epic poem, The Divine Comedy, and he spent the rest of his life working on it. He chose to write the poem in colloquial Italian rather than Latin, which had been the language for Western literature for more than a thousand years. At the time, Italian society was fractured and politically unstable, and Dante believed that a common literary language would help bring unity to the country. It was also the first epic poem in Western literary history in which the author served as the main character.

Dante had hoped that the success of his poem would be so great that he would be invited back to his home city, but he wasn’t. Just before his death, his children visited him in Ravenna; it was the first time he had seen them since he left Florence almost 20 years before. He died a few years later on this date in 1320.

In the years after his death, the influence of Dante’s work helped establish Italian as a serious literary language worldwide. His hometown of Florence came to regret having banished him and requested that his remains be transferred back for burial. But it wasn’t until 2008 that the city officially rescinded his sentence of perpetual exile. Today, there is renewed interest in Dante’s Florence as tourists flock to the sites of the recent Dan Brown thriller novel Inferno (2013), a reinterpretation of the Divine Comedy.


Today is the birthday of physiologist Ivan Pavlov (books by this author), born in Ryazan, in central Russia (1849). His father was the village priest, and Pavlov was all set to follow in his footsteps — even enrolling in theological seminary — when he read Darwin’s work and became interested in the study of science. He left the seminary and began a course of study in physics, mathematics, and natural sciences at the University of St. Petersburg; later he received his medical degree at the Imperial Medical Academy. He left religion behind because he couldn’t reconcile his passion for scientific proof with a life of faith, and was surprised when he came across other scientists who were religious. One day, walking to his laboratory, he saw a medical student cross himself outside a church. “Think about it!” Pavlov told his colleagues. “A naturalist, a physician, but he prays like an old woman in an almshouse!”

In 1890, he was named head of the Physiology Department at the Institute for Experimental Medicine, and five years later he was named Chair of Physiology at the Imperial Medical Academy. It was during this time that he did his most groundbreaking work. In 1903, he published a paper called “The Experimental Psychology and Psychopathology of Animals.” In it, he explained his theory of conditional reflexes. Unlike innate reflexes, which are instinctual, conditional reflexes are learned. Pavlov came up with this theory in the course of studying the digestive systems of dogs. He noticed that the dogs would begin salivating when the lab assistant brought in their food; this was a natural reflex, and it didn’t surprise him. But then after a while, the dogs began drooling whenever the lab assistant entered the room, even if there was no food present. Pavlov speculated that the dogs’ behavior had changed because they had learned to associate the presence of the lab assistant with the presentation of food. He turned on a metronome at the same time that the dogs were fed. Eventually, the dogs would salivate whenever they heard the metronome — even without food — which meant that Pavlov had created a new, learned reflex in his subjects. He was even able to fine-tune the response so that it only happened when the metronome was set at a particular speed. He also learned that the reflex could be unlearned: if he used the metronome too many times without later providing food, the dogs stopped associating the sound with a meal, and they stopped salivating.


It’s the birthday of American essayist Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (books by this author), born in Queens, New York (1934), and best known for her travel writing, interviews, and autobiographical essays. Harrison’s grandparents emigrated from Calabria, in Southern Italy; her parents were first-generation Americans. Harrison’s childhood was deeply troubled: her father sexually abused her, and her mother suffered from mental illness. She insisted on calling herself “Barbara’s relative,” instead of her mother. When Harrison was nine years old, she and her mother were converted by a Jehovah’s Witness who visited the family.

As a teenager, Harrison said she was “very smart and very strange.” She skipped several grades in school and fell in love with her high school English teacher. He encouraged her writing talent, but the relationship remained platonic. As a Jehovah’s Witness, she was forbidden to attend college, so she went to live and work at the Watchtower headquarters, doing housework for 30 male Witnesses. After three years, she became convinced “my intelligence was some kind of tricky, predatory animal, which if not kept firmly reined, would spring on and destroy me.” She had a nervous breakdown, left the headquarters, and renounced her faith at 22.

Harrison leapt wholeheartedly into the 1960s, finding community among the bohemians of Greenwich Village, writing, and falling in love with an African-American jazz musician. They had a torrid three-year affair, but when her book An Accidental Autobiography came out (1996), she refused to name him, calling him only “Jazzman.” The affair was briefly reignited late in Harrison’s life. Harrison immersed herself in the women’s movement, married an aid worker, and lived in Tripoli, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. Married life didn’t suit Harrison. She said, “I was the kind of wife who always had a novel under her apron.”

She had two children and divorced the aid worker, but kept his last name, and moved back to New York, where her trenchant, incisive, feminist essays were finding homes in Ms. Magazine, Harper’s, The Village Voice, Esquire, and The New York Times. She became particularly well-known for her brash and somewhat accusatory interview style, often pinning her subjects uncomfortably, as she did in 1979 with writer Joan Didion, whom she called a “neurasthenic Cher.” Harrison wrote, “… my charity does not naturally extend to someone whose lavender love seats match exactly the potted orchids on her mantel.”

Harrison became nationally known with the publication of Visions of Glory: A History and a Memory of Jehovah’s Witnesses (1978). The book was a blend of memoir and church history. She was kind to some of the members, but she portrayed the faith itself as harsh, tyrannical, and sexist. Agnostic when she began the book, she experienced a spiritual epiphany while writing it, and converted to Catholicism. Harrison traveled widely, and her travel essays, particularly of Italy, are still beloved.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

A modest proposal for a day of forgiveness

Memorial Day gives us a long weekend and marks the beginning of summer, but I remember back in my Boy Scout youth attending a service at a military cemetery and listening to a chaplain talk about men who willingly gave their lives for their country, and heard Taps played by a bugler in the distance. It was moving. Since then, however, we became aware of men who didn’t give their lives — their lives were taken from them by their country fighting a misbegotten war it didn’t know how to stop.

Even in the Good War, WWII, in 1945, preparing for the invasion of Japan, men had no enthusiasm for giving their lives. A friend of mine was in the invasion force, stationed on Okinawa, and was glad when the A-bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “We were cannon fodder and we knew it,” he told me. “The death toll in an American invasion would’ve been in the millions. It took a nuclear horror to break their will. What a relief not to have to do it by hand-to-hand combat.”

We spent lives heavily in Vietnam and lost the war and now we wonder, “What in God’s name was it for?” Vietnam is a major trading partner, cruise ships stop in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City. My nephew lives in Hanoi and works in a bank there. I could call him and FaceTime if I could figure out the time difference.

I can imagine that FaceTime, YouTube, Instagram, Google, by making the world smaller, might lead to an epoch of relative international peace, and Memorial Day might become a museum piece, and if so, we might consider a Marital Memorial Day, when we honor our divorced and bring some peace to our personal lives. The current divorce rate is around 40% and that is a sorrowful thing, and just as the VFW honors the war dead, knowing how easily the living and the dead might have traded places, so we should acknowledge that marriages crash and burn for reasons not understood and blame should be withheld and peace restored.

To live all the days of your life with your best-informed critic is a heroic venture and it’s worth honoring. Respect your failures and you will more fully enjoy your success.

The MMD should be held in the spring and there should be a lighthearted lunch with exes and their families. You sit next to your ex and toast each other’s health and catch up on the latest and recognize that you launched a romance out of hopeful idealism and though it crashed, the impulse was admirable.

You’re done with the yelling, the door slamming, the lawyers. Sit down and be decent, look each other in the eye, forgive. This would be more valuable in the real life of our country than the patriotic speech and Taps and the rifle salute.

The pandemic has brought husbands and wives closer together than ever and in some states, angry men have stormed state capitols demanding that the bonds be loosened, even at the risk of death. In quarantine, men quickly realize that they married women who possess powerful corrective impulses — who rush to clean up things even before they’re spilled, who straighten and adjust and set things right that men have left askew. Women will edit your sentences as you speak, and if you pause, she will finish the sentence for you. Men are grateful for women’s corrections but it can be exhausting to be held to high standards 24/7 and so, in order to escape supervision, men take up fishing. Fishing makes no sense whatsoever, to go to great trouble and expense to catch inferior game fish when for a fraction of the dough, you can buy salmon or tuna and broil it briefly and have something fabulous. That’s why so few women fish. Men fish because women don’t. For the same reason, they go hunting, go to blues clubs, sit in crowded sports bars and play video games. These things have been shut down by the pandemic. That is why armed men have threatened the woman governor of Michigan.

A Marital Memorial Day would be a small step toward civility in this anger-riven country. The country needs to calm down and learn to speak gently. Once we do MMD, then perhaps Democrats and Republicans will be able to talk to each other. If you can make peace with a well-informed critic, what’s the harm in talking to an ignorant one?

Some self-isolating thoughts about hair

Jenny cut my hair yesterday out on the balcony in the sun and she kept laughing as she did, which doesn’t instill confidence to hear your haircutter laugh, but at least the hair stays out of my eyes and the worst part (she says) is in back, and we’re in isolation so who cares, and at my age I’m not applying for a job, so it’s rather immaterial. If I wanted to do something wild with my hair, dye it deep purple with bright green stripes, now would be the time to do it, but I lack the motivation to be colorful. I’m a writer and an observer and you can’t see the world clearly if other people are staring at you: it’s see or be seen.

Hair was crucial in the 10th grade, 1958, when you had greasers like Trump and jocks with crewcuts and farmboys had shaggy hair and we cool guys aimed for an Ivy League look. My dad cut his sons’ hair and he was a carpenter and not so keen about fashion. I told him, “Short on top but with a part, a little longer in back.” Coolness was the point of it, blue button-down shirts, khaki pants, loafers, white socks, but now I have no clue about what’s cool, if anything is, and coolness is no longer a factor in my life. I’m old. The first section of the paper I turn to is the obituary section. People I know keep showing up there.

I went away to the U aiming to be a writer so I majored in English, not knowing how much I’d come to hate it. I wanted to be F. Scott Fitzgerald and my teachers were his mortician. The English Department was across the street from the Institute of Technology and we writers loved to look down on the engineers. They wore the wrong color shirts with plastic pocket protectors and high-water pants with belts hitched way up under their rib cage and half-rim horn-rimmed glasses and short nerdy hair whereas we had long majestic hair and we wrote dark incomprehensible poetry. If I ever felt miserable about having to write a paper about Dryden or Coleridge or Milton, I just crossed the street and mingled with engineers, their slide rules in a holster on their belt, a race of dullards without a single amazing and original thought, and it gave me the arrogance I was looking for.

I think of this now as I consider what engineers have given the world, such as this little gizmo the size of half a sandwich that is always near me, a telephone that is also a camera, encyclopedia, newspaper, calendar, compass, weather monitor, phone book, and twenty other things I’m not aware of. Quiet studious men from the world of numbers changed the world in some wonderful ways. Bill Gates does not appear to spend a great deal of time worrying about his hair. Mark Zuckerberg has hair like a skullcap. Facebook is my link to family and friends. The nerds who invented Google gave a great gift us old people who forgot what “postmodern” means and can’t remember the year Rod Carew set a record for stealing home base and Google will find it for you: he stole home seventeen times. Seven times in 1969 alone.

Nineteen sixty-nine was an enormous year in my life. I was 27 and had a baby boy and needed to get serious and instead of finishing a novel that nobody would want, I got a job in radio doing the early morning shift and I shifted from tragic self-awareness to humor because that’s what people needed on a dark winter morning and that was when I started to feel useful and that’s when you find your vocation. And hair has nothing to do with it.

I write this on a laptop hooked up to a printer with an instruction manual written by engineers for other engineers, people who whizzed through college courses that to me were a solid brick wall, so it’s unreadable for me. Imagine if all your cookbooks were in French and you had to call one of your few Francophones in order to make pancakes. But never mind. Thank you, Nerdland, for the laptop and the phone. I could live without them but it wouldn’t be nearly so much fun. I apologize for looking down on you for your bad hair.

A few words while I wait for her to come in

I married a perfectionist and am glad for it especially during this pandemonium or pandora or veranda or whatever it is we’re going through these days, even my dream life is clearer, more detailed than in normal times, which now are only a memory, those evenings when we ate dinner in a crowded restaurant and sat in the tenth row of a theater and packed into a crowded train to go home.

She is a violinist, dedicated since her teen years to perfection, practicing many hours a day so that she could play in a string section and not stand out as an individual. I am a struggling writer for whom individual identity is crucial. She sat in an orchestra wearing black like all the others, suppressing the urge to wear a tiara with flashing red and green pulsating lights. I sat in a café, in a red T-shirt, corduroy jacket, jeans, boots, smoking a Gauloise, a Panama hat on the table, writing on a yellow legal pad, something original. It was a café (actually a cafeteria) patronized by engineering students and I was the only Gauloise/Panama person there. The others lived in a world of correct answers and I lived in a forest of wild surmise.

Had I not married the violinist, I’d be in a hospital, trying to breathe, having refused to self-isolate because I hate the term, I prefer the term “drift.” But thanks to her attention to detail, we live with our daughter in a clean apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and haven’t ventured outdoors, except to step out on the balcony, for two months. She is more sociable than I — most musicians are, having a common exclusive language — and so she misses the street life more than I do, but she studied up on the situation — a strange and dangerous contagion, an elderly and careless husband — and saw what needed to be done. And so I find myself in a quiet room with an empty schedule, an ideal life for a writer.

If I taught Creative Writing now, I wouldn’t be encouraging wild originality, I’d be teaching people to keep an orderly house and a spotless kitchen, hang up your clothes, and defend against interruption. A cluttered desk is a prison cell; a life of confusion is a dungeon.

The argument these days between Opening the Doors and Maintaining Quarantine is the argument between ignorance and knowledge and ordinarily I’d go with ignorance but I have a manager who is in for the long haul. She misses her work, playing in a pit, two feet away from two other players, a soprano and a tenor onstage singing Puccini passionately and projecting thousands of saliva droplets with every fricative, but she knows that people shouldn’t die from opera, only in it, so life is rearranged.

And so, when she wakes up in the morning and appears in the doorway of my quiet room, I hold out my arms and she sits on my lap and puts her head on my shoulder. We live day by day. All the big bets are off. The calendar is empty. The canvas chairs on the balcony that I was always too busy to sit in now have occupants. I look at the planter with the herbs my violinist has planted, an orchestra of mint and marjoram, cilantro, basil and rosemary, who will wind up in a stir-fry or what we in Minnesota used to call “hotdish” before we went to college. It’s the middle of May, a chilly spring, you can count the warm days on your left hand. But if the sun shines, even the low 50s are good enough.

Old man in a black winter coat looking out on the rooftops of New York, and a slim blond with violin scars on her jaw, and we talk about the boxes of useless unused stuff in closets that should be dealt with, and it brings to mind a fit of shelf-clearing years ago, an old unread book I opened and found, pressed between the leaves, a piece of yellowed handstitching: “Elizabeth Crandall is my name And America is my nation. Providence is my home And Christ is my salvation When I am dead and in my grave and all my bones are rotten, if this you see, remember me, when I am quite forgotten. 1845.” A fellow writer, long gone, and the thought isn’t original but the stitching is perfect. The perfection is stunning.

A simple lunch outdoors, a major occasion

Spring is here at last in our northern latitude and that is the news that transcends all other news. It arrived Sunday and we observed it by enjoying our first outdoor meal on our New York balcony, sitting in the shade of a potted tree, with two vegan-leaning friends and in their honor there were no 32-ounce prime ribs, but rather a green salad and a bean salad, both excellent, and oatmeal cookies. The sun shone down and we heard a finch singing nearby who apparently is thinking of moving in with us and raising a family so we must now buy some thistle seeds, which finches like and pigeons do not. We prefer finches, they sing, and they’re beautiful in the morning light. Pigeons are just rats with wings.

Spring, glorious spring. It is the Resurrection of Our Lord, a time of transcendence, and tomorrow I shall have my hair cut by my wife, beauty parlors being closed here still, not that beauty is what I’m after, just respectability. Sunshine is the cure for a good deal of what ails us — we know this now after six weeks of lockdown. I sit in the kitchen and agonize about the economy, politics, the demise of the performing arts, and then around noon I step outside and sit in the sun and suddenly I am not a citizen or a consumer or a performer, I am a mammal, along the lines of a muskrat or raccoon, a mammal who owns an apartment with a balcony where I am safe from predators and food is delivered to me regularly — in other words, a zoo mammal.

We discussed this over Sunday lunch, whether we will, when the All-Clear sounds, return to our busy lives, fly hither and yon, attend meetings, eat at restaurants, and we all thought, “Maybe not. Maybe the raccoon life is what we wanted all along.” Thoreau built him a cabin in the woods and raised beans and wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” I think he could’ve done better in an apartment building with a doorman. In his cabin by Walden Pond, Henry was pestered by curious townspeople who wanted to know what he was out there for. A doorman guards against interruptions. Henry said, “Life is frittered away by details.” A pandemic reduces those details to the basics.

What we’re missing is a lawn and as a Minnesotan I miss that. Mowing was my first useful occupation and it organized my mind: you could think dreamy thoughts but still you kept to the lines. Going back and forth, back and forth, on a rectangular lot was what led me to be a writer: it’s really the same thing, except at the end, instead of a bag of clippings, you have an essay.

I went away to college to escape from lawn mowing and to become a writer, and then I fell in love with a girl whose parents owned a house with an extensive corner lot, and I courted her father by mowing it. I was twenty, my writerly pretensions competed with the pretensions of others, and lawn mowing brought me down to earth, and rather than launch a novel that struggles with man’s fate and maybe woman’s too, I set out to do what I’m doing now, writing in gratitude for a spring day.

We spent three hours at lunch Sunday and not once did we talk about the guy with the hairdo. We talked about children, about the goodness of our lives, about the odd beauty of a prayer healing in the Episcopal church. You associate prayer healing with men in cheap suits who handle snakes and whoop and yell, but in the Church of the Wing Tips it’s a simple moment when you go forward and a deacon hears your concern and lays hands on you and prays. It is sweet and mysterious. We attend church online now and pray for the sick and those in need, of whom we all know many. It is a deliberate and essential part of life, prayer.

Meanwhile, we sat in the spring sunshine and were healed of humorlessness and narcissism and anxiety about the Dow Jones. And now I pray for you in Arizona and Texas and Florida, languishing in 100-degree heat. Come north. Life is good.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, May 30, 2020

It was on this day in 1431 that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France at the age of 19. About 500 years later, she was canonized as a Catholic saint.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, May 29, 2020

The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, May 29, 2020

It was on this day in 1913 that the world premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du printemps” caused a riot at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, May 28, 2020

“When you meet somebody who is more important to you than yourself, that has to be the most important thing in life, really.” –Maeve Binchy, born this day in 1940

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The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, May 27, 2020

On this day in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge opened. The idea of the bridge was first broached in 1869 by a man who called himself the “Emperor of the United States.”

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The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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It’s the birthday of photographer and author Dorothea Lange (1895), whose iconic work for the Farm Security Administration gave human faces to the Great Depression.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, May 25, 2020

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“We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole…” –Ralph Waldo Emerson, born this day in 1803

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The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, May 24, 2020

“Writing is about getting your work done and getting your work done every day.” –author Michael Chabon, born this day in 1963

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A Prairie Home Companion: May 30, 2015

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Featuring the National Arab Orchestra Takht Ensemble, Broadway belter Christine DiGiallonardo, the KDJ Trio, and poet Jim Daniels (pictured).

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The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, May 23, 2020

It’s the birthday of “Goodnight Moon” author Margaret Wise Brown (1910). She was a prolific writer and sometimes kept six different publishers busy at once with her projects.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, May 22, 2020

The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, May 22, 2020

It’s the birthday of Harvey Milk (1930), the first openly gay man elected to public office. Assassinated in San Francisco in 1978, he would have been 90 years old today.

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The News from Manhattan: Friday, May 29, 2020

The city I love is burning, people living in dread, as the result of having tolerated a police force that has its own code and doesn’t live by our ideals.

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The News from Manhattan: Thursday, May 28, 2020

So much is strange in this lockdown but the overriding fact, to a Minnesotan, is that it’s summer at last, we’re eating outdoors, and we’re all in this together.

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The News from Manhattan: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A blissful day in isolation, part of it on the terrace snoozing in the sun, mostly indoors working on the novel.

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A modest proposal for a day of forgiveness

Memorial Day gives us a long weekend and marks the beginning of summer, but I remember back in my Boy Scout youth attending a service at a military cemetery and listening to a chaplain talk about men who willingly gave their lives for their country, and heard Taps played by a bugler in the distance. It was moving. Since then, however, we became aware of men who didn’t give their lives — their lives were taken from them by their country fighting a misbegotten war it didn’t know how to stop.

Even in the Good War, WWII, in 1945, preparing for the invasion of Japan, men had no enthusiasm for giving their lives. A friend of mine was in the invasion force, stationed on Okinawa, and was glad when the A-bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “We were cannon fodder and we knew it,” he told me. “The death toll in an American invasion would’ve been in the millions. It took a nuclear horror to break their will. What a relief not to have to do it by hand-to-hand combat.”

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The News from Manhattan: Monday, May 25, 2020

I draw no conclusions except that in isolation, one still needs social life and here it is in a dream. I haven’t been shopping since January and last night I enjoyed looking for pens in a drugstore in Dublin.

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The News from Manhattan: Sunday, May 24, 2020

For the first time in a long time, I have a great deal of time, and I am truly grateful. Up at 6 a.m. and the day stretches ahead. The pandemic has given me something new — the 45-minute phone call.

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The News from Manhattan: Saturday, May 23, 2020

Taciturnity is a privilege and I cling to it, as a writer. I need to think. For me, thinking and talking don’t go well together.

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The News from Manhattan: Friday, May 22, 2020

I used to fly around the country doing shows and staying in nice hotels and now, thanks to the plague, I get to observe my true love close up.

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The News from Manhattan: Thursday, May 21, 2020

We have dinner and hold hands and say table grace, something we never did regularly before but quarantine needs rituals and prayer is a good one.

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The News from Manhattan: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Something about my Calvinist demeanor makes people think I know what I’m doing, but every writer needs an editor.

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