Writing about COVID-19, that is. But I don't really want to. Many ideas have germinated (ugh..see what just happened there?) and then I've crushed them, mostly because it's all already being said.
This isn't like 9/11 to me. This has "Cold" War written all over it. I mean, that was my brother's joke when I wrote it first, but hey. This is really like the Cold War. People are panic buying, rationing is beginning in some areas, and for the first time in my 45 years, education has been canceled.
Schools across the country are scrambling. And some of us are still doing this educating thing, and some of us are being told not to. And many of us are just struggling to come to terms with the fact that even though our kids are at home with many resources, others are not. Or at least, not with resources. And many, without food, too.
My classroom has moved online. It's better, probably, with this group of kids. We were getting close to strangling one another, but we also were really beginning to love Hamlet. So now I'm trying to show them why I love him--through a computer screen. (Though I still refuse to video myself talking about him.)
I shared soliloquies they can wash their hands to, and I've given challenging assignments that may take them 10 minutes, or maybe 1 hour. It's up to them. I'm trying to be flexible. Then Jasmine tells me she left her textbook at home while she escaped to a cabin in the woods. Oy vey, kid.
But that's what we are up against. A lit book is probably not the first need when being told, "pack your shit, we're going to the cabin." It would be mine, but it isn't Jasmine's. That has to be okay with me. I felt comfortable lecturing her via text, because she's my Jasmine, and she's kind of like my daughter, but I let her off the hook and took pictures of some of the pages she needed. That's what I can do. I can still love them, I guess. Even if I can't see their beautiful faces.
So there's the rub.
I did it again, only this time:
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
perchance to Dream; aye, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor's wrong, the proud man's Contumely,
The pangs of dispised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.
So. Hamlet lives and breathes within all of us, and teaching it from home might give it new life after all.
We will see. Time will bear this one out.
COVID-19 scared us, but maybe we needed it.
Much love, homies. I'm sorry it's been months since I last shared my thoughts. I have at least 3 weeks to rectify it now.
Wanted: a good set of sentences to grab you from the depths of the internet. I keep trying to catch your eye.