Someone posted on Twitter: "every day I wake up and begin the 16 hour process of getting ready for bed". I know what they mean. The simplest tasks feel Sisyphean. Even habits, once thoughtless, are cumbersome. Each minor act, heavy as a boulder, to repeat, on repeat. Still, this self-confinement, the confinement of Ireland, must amount to something: despite the highest daily death toll announced last night (101 lost souls), the daily infection rate is receding.
I try to notice something, anything, on my walks. To have, at least, a sense of trying. Susan Sontag's dictum: "Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager." I don't feel eagerness, but I cling to the idea of attention as if it is a lifeboat in the sea that is my feelings.
What did I notice today? Likely nothing of note to anyone else. Three men in an empty storefront, chatting over lunch in separate corners. Branches of a tree, each tipped in shining drops of water. Bones, of mysterious origin, that Sam inevitably finds on the pavement. The sun, its ineffable brilliance obscured by rain cloud, a fearsome white hole.
Later I sat down to write. Usually nothing occurs because the husband will inevitably interrupt me with some request, or the mother-in-law will make one needling observation, which I will chew on for the rest of the day. But this time an image surfaced, and I started to write about the image, and I find myself, at last, in that place where I'm paying attention, curious about the characters I've discovered.