A COVID Diary (part 3)

Jean ColonomosBy Jean Colonomos      August 21, 2020

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A COVID Diary (part 3)
July 28 Bless cousin, Andy, who suggests I check out the Stendhal syndrome.* Andy’s an Assistant Professor at USC in the Art and Design department who’s steeped in his passion for art. This quote is from the French author, Stendhal from his 1817 visit to Florence: “I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence, close to the great men whose tombs I had seen. Absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty ... I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations ... Everything spoke so vividly to my soul. Ah, if I could only forget. I had palpitations of the heart, what in Berlin they call ‘nerves’. Life was drained from me. I walked with the fear of falling.” *Wikipedia From Andy’s Filipino partner, Jay: “Hey Jean, I’ve got my allergies mostly under control, so I’m not generally afraid to grocery shop, but on bad days I have stayed home rather than risk getting a dirty look from someone. For me, it’s less about physical or even verbal assault, and more about this question: If I sneeze and get a dirty look from someone, is it because they think it’s inconsiderate to be out of the house with obvious respiratory symptoms, or because they think Chinese/Asians are responsible for the virus?” The former is understandable, but the latter makes me depressed just thinking about it. Plenty of reasons to be sad—I don’t need to add more.” From Millicent Borges-Accardi: Bread.* For those of us who know, knew/know, known, it was a bet that we made,/hoping for a last breaking of luck/before the world ran out. It was betting and binding and—/I tell you—we were bleeding/as we went out to get cardboard/boxes in the rain and washed/over our souls with Clorox. /It was flinging a flung/while we tried to fly again./To break bread, crusty and warm./And, then life was forbidden and/everyone was an enemy./The air was poison and spit was/evaporating into a daily forecast./We were television-glued/as news rolled by and the rooms/misled us into doing the nonsense/we knew we shouldn’t:/over-drinking, board games,/chanting curses at each other./It was raining for three days/as I recall and the boxes delivered/on the porch got wet. I went/out there wrapped in bandanas,/ with sanitizer and hope./It was all there was and all we had/to stockpile with kale and bok choy/just in case. Of what?/The unseen war criminal that spreads/its over-washed hands wide across countries./We want to leave, lose/lend, lie. We are shook and shaken/and looking for fever. For signs./and it is all entirely unmanageable.  *Bread first appeared in Another Chicago Magazine. August 1 From the creative solutions department: Star’s at home on her cell all day with investment clients. Every moment she needs the phone available for calls. During in-between phone silences, she used to put her phone in her bra. But she worried about cancer and it being too close to her breast.  Visiting her mother when her hair and nail salon was still open, Star saw her mom wearing a cross body bag. She asked her about the bag. “My cell’s in there so when anyone calls, I don’t have to find the damn thing.” Star now keeps her phone in a cross body bag. #SayHerName: Alesia Thomas—Killed by police on August 9, 2012 Shantel Davis—Killed by police on June 14, 2012 Sharmel Edwards—Killed by police, March 21, 2012 Thank you, Maria, owner of Water Lily, our local café. During the pandemic, your delivery service has been a blessed gift to our Topanga community. And your food—I love your salads—they’re always fresh and full of flavor. And thanks to Tony, Ariel, Nico, and others who tirelessly serve us.       August 2 From Sheila, Bloomsbury Books: “The long list for the Booker Prize, the British Pulitzer Prize came out on 7/28. Of the twelve nominees, nine are women.” Among the Americans cited, Kiley Reid’s “Such a Fun Age,” Sheila thinks is one of the best books on white privilege. Diesel bookstore: Their best seller is Colson Whiteheads, “The Nickel Boys.” August 8 Double eight sounds like a lucky day to me. USC just announced all classes will be online. Also, on fraternity row, there are forty-five cases of covid-19, the largest outbreak in any American college. Their football team has eight cases of the coronavirus. It’s unclear if they’ll play their first game in two weeks.
Jean Colonomos and Daughter
August 9
My daughter writes about my granddaughter, Izzy, who’s eleven: “My daughter is a star. Her being is universal as she tries to live on this planet. She is so far and deep, to walk beside her is to find your own depth.”

About William at eight: “My son is a dream. The twinkle in his eyes captures my being. He holds so tight, I never want him to let go.”
About Madeleine at four: “Her light shines so bright as she moves so freely. She wants all she sees and knows everything is possible.  My daughter’s spirit can penetrate any crevice with the longest of lights.
Jean Colonomos

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August 21, 2020

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