Day 215

Though I have continued to not update this blog, I have been tracking every day since COVID-induced shelter-in-place started in San Francisco. Today is Day 215. It’s the third day of another heatwave, temperatures up to 95 degrees. I don’t remember it ever being this hot in San Francisco for this many days in a year. Granted, this is in part because I used to live in the Sunset, closer to the cooling ocean breeze, but it is without a doubt also due to climate change. When I moved here a decade ago, I yearned for summer days like this, but now they fill me with a deep sorrow.

Here are some updates and things I’ve been up to this year, in part for whomever follows this blog and in part for me to mark the passage of time in a year when time feels so altered:

  • At the beginning of this year, I started a new remote job. It has been a tough year and a steep learning curve, but I’m getting used to it and like the people. I still struggle with my science and writer identities.
  • Right after starting aforementioned new job and before the pandemic, I participated in Tin House’s Winter Workshop. It felt like a dream then. It feels even more like a dream now.
  • At the beginning of the pandemic, I worried it would be terrible, but did not anticipate how terrible it would actually become. The first few months, I was burned out – from work, from grad school (STILL), even from writing – and aside from the terror of the circumstances, I was okay with slowing down. I read a lot of books, including a lot of not-very-literary, probably problematic, purely escapist fiction, and I saw no one, did no readings, and became so isolated I didn’t know how to become a part of society again.
  • This summer, I was sort of forced out of my cocoon by fellowships and workshops, and it has been challenging and necessary and ultimately quite rewarding. I started my stint as a Grotto Fellow, completed IWL and wrote about the weirdness of my reemergence into society for KSW, started doing readings again in August. (You can watch one of them here.)
  • On day 90, I moved to a new apartment, and in this larger apartment I finally have a little separate writing nook, from which I am typing this update.
  • The wildfires in California and all of the West have been the worst in history. On day 177, the sky was orange.
  • My poetry manuscript has been a finalist for two book prizes this year, the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry and another that I’m not sure I’m allowed to disclose yet.
  • Today, day 215, I taught/facilitated my first-ever poetry workshop for Rooted and Written. Zoom is weird, and teaching is weird, but I think it went well. So wild that this time last year, I was a participant. Wilder still that this time three years ago I had just finished my PhD, had not yet started my first real-person job, and I was just starting to be more involved in the literary world and knew absolutely nothing.
  • My grandmother is dying of kidney failure. She’s 95, and she never really accepted the limitations of old age. I think on some level she has been ready to let go for some time. I’m not really ready to say more than that.

There is so much to grieve, so much to be grateful for, this year and in this life. So difficult to hold them side by side. This is all I have in me for now. Be well, friends.

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