It has been a week of heavy losses: David Bowie on Monday, Alan Rickman yesterday, and the lesser-known losses, like the poet C.D. Wright (for a great tribute, see this post). Many of my work colleagues are working through a wide variety of issues, and Facebook friends across the nation struggling with personal losses. The stock market has been in a spiral, and there's talk of contagion and recession.
The weeks after the de-Christmasing of the house and neighborhoods always seem hard, but this year seems tougher than usual. I try to stay on the bright side. For example, yesterday I wrote this Facebook post:
"God must be planning an amazing celestial production to need the talents of both Alan Rickman and David Bowie. I'll be keeping my eyes open!"
And then I thought of all the ways I'd just exhibited crummy theology, so I wrote this:
"And of course, just to be clear, I don't believe in a theology that says that God sends the Angel of Death to take us because we're needed in Heaven. With a more tongue-in-cheek post, I'm just trying not to let Despair crush me this week with the loss of so many great talents: Bowie, Rickman, and the poet C. D. Wright."
I have tried to use these losses as a reminder to be more present, and also, to get on with the stuff that's important. For years I soothed my anxiety by reminding myself that I had plenty of time. Well, we may not have plenty of time.
And yet, I can become panicked and frozen by that fact if not careful. I want to remember what can be accomplished even if I only have small bits of time. I want to inject creativity throughout the day, since I rarely have huge swaths of time.
I began the day by working on a poem. In the afternoon, I created some poetry packets for submissions to journals, a different kind of creative endeavor. Last night my spouse and I made a pot of collaborative chili with the leftovers of last night's dinner. It simmered while we watched some evening TV. We'll eat it tonight--I'll look forward to it all day.
I finished the day by reading Matthea Harvey's If the Tabloids Are True, What Are You? Actually, I looked at the pictures and the erasure poem, more than actually reading her book. What interesting directions she has taken!
I thought again of David Bowie, who took such interesting twists and turns with his art, and Alan Rickman, who is most famous for his villains, but showed such a tender side in Sense and Sensibility. I like these reminders that we can reinvent ourselves and our art.
Yes, life is short, but our creative endeavors will keep us nourished throughout--that's a consolation in a week of heavy losses.