The Uncertain Optimism of Change

These are tumultuous times. You don’t need me to explain that to you, certainly, but in the interest of hearing myself talk I will anyway.

What can I even begin to say about the COVID-19 situation? Anything that might occur to me will already be obsolete by the time my fingers hunt and peck the letters. I will confess I am very frightened for Mexico. While I’m not advocating widespread panic, up to this point the government and public-at-large seem content to pretend as though this is a problem exclusively for the rest of the world. The one sign I’ve seen promoting prophylactic measures included the recommendation of “drinking one cup of hot water with lemon per day.” Friends, the year is 2020 and the proposed solution to a global pandemic is hot tea. Consider my confidence uninstilled as the virus no-doubt proliferates in the shadows here rapidly.

I will confess to a slightly morbid sense of hope in all of this. It isn’t that I take the impending mass loss of life lightly, just that I choose to see the immense possibility that comes with rebuilding our world with new eyes because change of the scale that we need isn’t born of happenstance, it is wrought through sacrifice and struggle and the seizing of silver linings.

I haven’t written many posts in the recent months, and not because I haven’t had ample opportunity. The truth is I have, of late, felt very disconnected from the me who began this blog. I scroll back through past posts and wonder what person wrote them. Something like a me, but certainly not me. I feel like I’m in the midst of a metamorphosis–I’m not fully-formed enough to even know what shape I’ll have when I step out of the other side but I’m far enough along that my old clothes no longer fit. This is an experience both disorienting and engrossing.

I have been working diligently on my novel. Indeed, I have even summoned it into the physical dimension and declared it “finished” in order to dutifully leech social-media-laudings. And the truth is it may well be finished–that is to say, edited and re-written to a level at which I would be comfortable letting it stand on its own in perpetuity. But also the truth may be that as proud as I am of it, and as much as I am in love with some of the writing therein, I no longer feel like this current me is adequately in touch with the head space of the author me. To some degree that has been a boon for the work, allowing me to hone it with some impartiality. But mostly, it feels like I’m meddling in someone else’s work now, so I think it is time for me to move on. Yes, of course, I’m still going to try and attract an agent and move forward in the publishing process which will undoubtedly require that I rewrite it over and again. But lacking that 0.1 percentile outcome, I think I’m ready to set it down and aside, without feeling like I’m giving up.

At the outset of this journey I think I was looking for a way out of the wine industry (to say nothing of the restaurant industry), but any new direction felt a little outlandish to consider. For better or worse by now the world of wine feels equally distant to my reality as any other possibility. In this moment I find that incredibly empowering. I ruminate more than ever about returning to school to pursue postgraduate studies in Linguistics; once a ludicrous (and guiltily self-gratifying) whim now it rings as a real and rational way forward. But the point isn’t that I have chosen what to do with my future, it’s that at last I feel like I’m finding the perspective to honestly and capably contemplate my options in a more objective manner.

Undoubtedly this headspace that I find myself in stems in chorus from the transmogrification of immersing myself in another language, from rubbing elbows with the widely varied cast of characters that I’ve met in orbit down here, and from some sort of serene epiphany distilled of the picturesque seascapes I so often find myself anchored in. And picturesque they certainly are.

Mercy me. I’ve got my grouses, sure, but don’t pay ’em any heed. Momo and I are unbelievably fortunate.

Please stay safe out there.

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