The Tenuous Serenity of Not-Knowing

As I start writing this, it’s the morning of November 4th. The day after the election. It’s an event I’m guessing folks will eventually refer to in historical if not straight-up superlative terms: The French Revolution. The The War of 1812, The Tungusta event, the Election of 2020.

(Actual Footage)

This is, as they say, a big one. It feels melodramatic to say, “This is the election that will define America,” but it’s probably true. More than that, I hope this *isn’t* the election that shows what America has become.

Despite the fact that the election was yesterday, I don’t know the results. I did what I could leading up to the event. Donated money to places that fight voter suppression. I helped make arrangements so everyone who works for me or Worldbuilders had the day off so that they could vote or support other people who wanted to vote. I’d made sure friends were voting. Years ago, I started a newsletter with the hope of urging people to political awareness/activism, and it’s been trundling along quietly ever since.

Of course, this morning all I can think about is that I could have done more. That I should have done more. I always feel like I should be doing more.

Nevertheless, I don’t know how the election turned out because last night I focused on spending time with my boys. After I finished my afternoon meetings, we went for a walk. Then we made dinner plans. Then I read them a chapter of Slow Regard. (Something I started a while back on a lark, I wondered if they would enjoy hearing me read, and was startled at how into it they were. I could write an entire *other* blog post about what that’s been like all by itself.)

We read together and we cuddled. We brought the empty garbage cans back to the house. Did some chores. Had a feelings talk. Made and ate dinner together. Cleaned up and did the dishes and had our evening treat:

(Tim-Tams sent to me by the lovely folks at Ludo Cherry.)

Then we did our fun thing for the evening. We were going to watch Kipo and some Adventure Time. But when the time came, our mood had shifted, and instead we watched some Youtube videos: one about a guy called Rollerman, and another about people who do that thing where they jump off mountains and glide like flying squirrels.

After each video, I told the boys that I loved them. I told them I would always support them in whatever they chose to do in their lives. I told them their bodies belonged to them, and they were the only ones who got to decide what happened to them.

I also told them that I admired these people in the videos. And that flying down a mountain looked really cool, and part of me wishes I could do it. And that I was glad that there were people in the world who were willing to pursue amazing feats like that.

BUT I also told them that they could never do either of those things. Ever. They agreed.

We then watched some Minecraft videos. (We’re partial to the flavor of brilliant madness produced by Dream and his friends.) After that, the boys told me that while my choices were my own, and I was an adult and free to do as I liked, that I should never *ever* mine straight down. Especially when I was in the Never and wearing all our best equipment. I agreed.

We have a good relationship.

Then it was washing face and hands. Brushing teeth. And, because we managed to hit our bedtime, we got to read, so I read them the final two chapters of Slow Regard, and we talked about it until they fell asleep.

That was my evening. At no point did I poke my nose onto the internet to find out what was happening with the Election. There was nothing I could do at this point but worry, so I avoided it. This is a skill I’ve been trying to develop this last year: The Life-Changing Magic of Sometimes Just Not Thinking About It. (TM)

Today, I still don’t know what’s up. It’s the boy’s busiest school day, they each have three zoom classes. Breakfast and lunch. Tidy the house. A little e-mail. Setting up a video play date. There’s a lot to keep busy with…

(One of the things I’m keeping busy with is this blog. Pecking away at it here or there. Right now Oot is having his virtual Spanish class while Cutie is listening to the audiobook version of Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess. (Yup, there are novel versions of the amazing comic. They’re both written by the Foglios, and if you buy it off that link you’re *also* supporting Worldbuilders.)

But here’s the thing, as the day progresses, I still don’t want to get into my e-mail or on social media for fear of seeing news about the election. Don’t want to message anyone for fear they’ll let something slip and shatter my fragile not-knowing.

Last night this was such a good strategy. I was proud of it. I was peaceful. I felt I’d made a healthy choice and enjoyed quality time with my boys rather than engage in pointless, self-destructive media engagement.

But today I’m walking on eggshells. The boys and I rake leaves and I think, “Surely if Trump was voted out, one of my friends would have pinged me with delighted crowing… so that must mean he’s still in.”

Then I think, “Surely if Trump was still in, one of my friends would have been unable to avoid howling in agony in my direction, so he must be out?” Plus I’m pretty sure it would be raining blood and the sky would be the color of burning tar.

But nothing is happening. It’s a really nice day out. We rake crispy bright-coloured leaves. We eat pickles and biscuits and soup for lunch. The boys practice their knitting.

I know something big must be happening, but right now it can’t touch me. I’m in an odd liminal state that reminds me nothing so much as when my mother died.

That’s a story I don’t know if I’ve ever told on the blog. Simply said: I got the call in the middle of the class I was teaching. I had a strict no-phone policy, but I’d told my students I had family stuff going on, and I might have to answer the phone if a doctor called. I stepped into the hallway, found out she was dead, then went back into the room and taught the rest of the class. Then I taught my next class too. Only they did I go home, get in my car, and head down to Madison to spend time with my Dad and Sister.

When I came back to Stevens Point two days later, I hung out with a friend. It’s so odd to think of now. I haven’t had local friends in ages, so the thought of just meeting someone casually for lunch seems so odd. Doubly odd now, as after the last 8 months, just the memory of eating in a restaurant feels surreal.

But back then it was odd for a different reason. This was back in 2007, two months before my book was published. Way back when I had local friends in town. All of them knew what was going on: that my mom had the sort of cancer you didn’t get better from.

I wasn’t on social media in a meaningful way. Social media didn’t really exist in the same way back then. The only reason I’d finally caved and bought a cell phone at all was because my mom was sick. As a result, my friend didn’t know my mom was dead.

When we got together to hang out, I didn’t tell them. Part of it was the fact that I couldn’t imagine how to bring it up. But the bigger part was that if I didn’t tell my friend the news, for the space of the meal I didn’t have to live in a place where my mom was gone. Down in Madison everyone knew. We were making funeral plans. Consoling each other. Offering support. I was soaked through with the incessant oppressive reality of her utter non-existence.

But my friend didn’t know. They weren’t sad about it. They didn’t mourn at me. Didn’t offer comfort. That meant that back in Point, for the space of a meal, things could just be normal a little while longer. Just for a while.

That’s what I feel like today.

As I finish writing this blog, it’s 3 AM on November 5th, two days after the election. I spent the day with my boys and despite my best efforts, I’ve become dimly, inexorably aware of the fact that it’s not just me that doesn’t know what’s up with the election. Apparently everyone’s in a liminal state. I still haven’t checked the news.

I’m not sure if I’ll post this. It certainly won’t be the first blog I’ve written and then left to lay fallow here.

If I do launch it. I hope y’all are doing as well as can be reasonably expected. I hope you’re experiencing a flavor of not-knowing you enjoy, or at least find pleasantly palliative. I hope for all of us, this isn’t merely the joyful bliss of an unseen iceberg. I hope for all of us, it’s more the tense uncertainty that comes before opening a gift you’ve been desperately desiring.

Or, if not that, a gift like the ones my grandfather gave me ages ago: a pair of soft pajama pants, wool socks, traction grips that fit my shoes for ease of winter walking….

Not gifts I wanted at that age. Gifts that were, quite frankly, annoying and irritating in the moment. But also the only gifts I used for decades afterwards. Gifts that improved my life in small, meaningful, persistent ways.

Here’s hoping,

pat

This entry was posted in a ganglion of irreconcilable antagonisms, Cutie Snoo, ethical conundra, mom, musings, Oot, the man behind the curtain, things I shouldn't talk about. By Pat115 Responses

115 Comments

  1. Margaret N
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing. I can really relate to that lunch with your friends. I’ve also kept tragedy to myself to protect from it. If that sentence made any sense.

    • Posted November 6, 2020 at 2:23 AM | Permalink

      I think it’s a hard thing to understand, even if you’ve been through it. I don’t know if I described it well enough here for anyone who hasn’t been there to get where I’m coming from though…

      • Matthew O
        Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:05 AM | Permalink

        As you do so often with your writing, you wrote something so true and human that I couldn’t help but know exactly what you were talking about from my own experiences. Love you buddy.

      • Jessica
        Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:36 AM | Permalink

        You absolutely did.

      • Isaias S. Weber
        Posted November 6, 2020 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

        I never went through a loss like that, but that lunch and the “things are normal for a little while longer” made perfect sense. Not gonna say I “understand it” as I haven’t gone through that but… Really made sense.
        Loved the bits about you hanging with your boys, too.

        Personally, I am daring being hopeful about this election.

      • A
        Posted November 6, 2020 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

        So glad to hear from you at this time and to know these experiences are shared

        • Marilyn
          Posted November 8, 2020 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

          I still often think of and miss your Mom. I swear she could read my mind and so many times we said the same thing at the same time.. I have never had another friend like that! I actually miss both your Mom and Dad! Great people!

      • Name
        Posted November 7, 2020 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

        I don’t know if someone who hasn’t been through will fully understand, but I can tell you that I did. It happened last month and that was word for word exactly how I felt.

        It’s still painful, but I’ve accepted it. Being able to talk with my friends like nothing had happened helped a lot, though I felt bad for not telling them.

        Thank you for this blog.

  2. Margaret N.
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

    I have faith that most people who read your blogs have enough empathy to grok what you mean. Even if they haven’t shared the experience.

  3. Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:02 AM | Permalink

    I was thinking along these lines the other day, and i say this as someone who has pursued technology with a great passion. First in my group of friends/family to get the internet, smart phones and social media. I can’t help but feel the world took a major step in the wrong direction by EVERYONE being online sharing ALL their thoughts and opinions. I think the Internet had its sweet spot late 90s to early/mid 2000s.
    Ignorance is bliss.

  4. Laura Watkins
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:02 AM | Permalink
    Show

    Here’s a really clear, non-anxiety-producing site to see how the votes are tallying.
    https://alex.github.io/nyt-2020-election-scraper/battleground-state-changes.html

    • Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:11 AM | Permalink

      I appreciate you… helping? Though you going out of your way to type out detailed information into the blog that I specifically said I’d been avoiding for days seems like a very odd and not entirely well-considered choice.

      I’ve edited your comment with spoiler tags, so other people don’t have to see it if they don’t want.

      • Jason
        Posted November 6, 2020 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

        What a great response! My initial response to an inconsiderate post would have been anger. You’re response is a great example that there is usually a much better way to handle it.

        You rock, sir!

        • Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

          I’ll be honest: It might not have been my *first* response.

          But I try to not let a momentary emotion rule my behavior. It’s like I tell my kids, you can’t control what you feel, but no matter what, you’re responsible for what you do.

          • Steve
            Posted November 7, 2020 at 12:35 AM | Permalink

            It’s also worth considering that some tone deaf posts come from people who don’t understand subtext or social cues and may have an atypical neurological organization affecting their online behavior. I recall watching a stream known for interacting with the chat where the host referenced a movie but said they couldn’t remember its name. I spent the next 20 minutes spamming the title of the movie into the chat because I thought he wanted to know (and I NEEDED him to know) but just couldn’t see my messages. Luckily, I’ve gotten older and matured significantly since then.

            I don’t say that to excuse tone deaf behavior, just to try and separate the perceived malice or disrespect from it.

  5. Mike P
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:03 AM | Permalink

    This was nice thank you for sharing that story. My brother died at around the same time and I still do that thing where I don’t mention he’s dead to some people. Especially if they have something in common with him I mentioned the commonality but don’t mention the death. I think it’s a nice way of remembering him without getting sad.

    • Dana
      Posted November 11, 2020 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

      I like this. If you remove the past tense, you don’t have the “sorry for your loss” addition to the conversation. Sometimes it is easier. Sometimes it is just nice to talk about your loved one in present tense because in your heart they are .. present.

  6. Barbara
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:06 AM | Permalink

    The night with your boys sounds so lovely. We did the opposite and shoveled the news into our brains the past few days, glued to our phones and the TV. As we were going to bed, in a rare moment of peace, we both thought about spending time with my family in Virginia. No TV, no reliable cell service, no noise. Just quiet. Not knowing. You made the right move. Your memory of this election is the quiet joy of your sons, not the abject terror of an autocrat either rising to power or slithering away into some dark corner. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s a gentle reminder to focus on what’s important rather than doom scrolling. My best to you.

  7. Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

    I can relate, to an extent. I lost my dad five years ago, around six months after my wife lost hers. Grief, like most other things, is relative and people just process it different. I never cried at the funeral – but I do tear up occasionally whenever I remember something of him. Small things usually, jazz, discussions on politics, and other things.

    I’m currently sitting on the sidelines on politics since I cannot technically vote just yet – hopefully in a few years I will have that right and will likely engage more. Still, it’s just sad to see how toxic discussions have been, and how much this polarization has damaged relationships. No one is willing to talk anymore, just scream and shake fists at each other.

    Hope we all see better days soon. Cheers to you sir.

  8. William
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:23 AM | Permalink

    I’d really like to see the potential blog post of how reading to your boys is going.
    I have a 10 month old and every time I go to read to him at bedtime I get a feeling of stage fright(?). Not sure if that’s the right way to describe it but I struggle to do it.

    Any tips would be truly helpful.

    • Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:47 AM | Permalink

      This is a cool idea for an end-of-year charity stream: “How to read to your kids.”

      I’ll have to think about that….

      • Chase
        Posted November 6, 2020 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

        Have you considered writing a (SHORT!) children’s book? I have a 9 month old and I love reading to her, but so many popular children’s books are just so awkwardly written! I need some beautifully flowing Rothfuss-spun silk to ease her to sleep! Especially considering you end up reading the same books a thousand times.

    • Matt c
      Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:56 AM | Permalink

      Sit with your kid with a book. Practice turning pages or talk about the pictures or make silly sounds. He will be happy spending time with you. Eventually you’ll figure out what works.

    • Janet
      Posted November 6, 2020 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

      The only way you can mess up is by giving up on this, I wish you myriad happy times reading to him. You could try reading in in the style of say Gandalf, a comedian e.g. Robin Williams, Doctor Who etc and just be ridiculously silly about it – your boy won’t be judging and you can get playful with it and I promise it will come more naturally the more you do it. I’m a right one for doing all the voices 😆 good luck!!

    • Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

      A ten month old isn’t likely to have a lot of patience for books, so just cuddling him in your lap and pointing out pictures is a great way to start. You can’t do it wrong, I think.

      Kids learn SO much from being read to – they learn that there are these things called books, and they have value, they hold meaning, you hold them like this, and you look on the left and then on the right, from the top to the bottom, and you turn the pages like this, and those marks, they have meaning and the magic of stories is in there, somehow.

      My kids learned that a book was a trump card – if they came to me or my husband with a book, we were just about guaranteed to stop what we were doing and read the book to them. My younger kid learned to read very young, but kept it secret out of concern that we might stop reading to them if we knew!

  9. Damon
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:43 AM | Permalink

    Splendidly written. I can relate. Thank you for a late night distraction from my thoughts.

    I wish you well.

  10. Matt c
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

    Here’s a weird thing about this election and not any other US election I know of. It’s not really over. I mean the work is not really over. There’s a campaign now to discredit the results. There’s a campaign to rile up folks with threats of violence. It’s not right. The very fine people counting should be left to do their job and we will know when they are done. But this time we also need to hold up the truth.

  11. Alistair
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:02 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,

    Glad to see a new post from you. I just wanted to say that since becoming a father and having a rough time of it to begin with, your posts on family have been hearting to go back an read with new found perspective. Everything’s feeling pretty good right now regarding that, and I feel like it’s unlocked new rooms in my brain somehow that I didn’t know were there.

    Anyway love to you and yours, good luck in the future and

    P.S I love your work! I go through your books a couple of times each year to just step out of this world for a bit to be elsewhere, thanks for letting me crash there now and again.

  12. Pablo
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:05 AM | Permalink

    Thanks so much for your post, I have to say it relates very heavily. I am from Spain and currently trapped in locked-down UK during my term time (studying away from home). Christmas is a very special time for me, and wherever I am in the world I always make an effort to go back home. This year, on top of all the other incredibly soul-crushing monstrosities, I will not be able to go home. I know, it might sound frivolous, yet for me it is a foundational aspect of my life. Gathering around a warm meal with my *large* family, enjoying the mild December weather (I’m not only Spanish, also from the Canary Islands and proud “enjoyer” of subtropical climate). This year all I’m getting is rain, unwelcoming cold and isolation. I take days at a time, squeezing positivity out of the most mundane things. I am glad I am not the only one seeking solace in the numbing embrace of ignorance.

    Pablo

    • Carmen V
      Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:12 AM | Permalink

      No te conozco pero te envío mucho ánimo, Pablo.
      Siento que no puedas pasar las Navidades con tu familia. A ver si esto pasa pronto ya y podemos volver a vivir con normalidad… :(

      • Pablo
        Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

        Muchas gracias Carmen! No hay nada más bonito que un acto de solidaridad de un desconocido. He de decir que has hecho este triste día inglés brille un poquito más. Saludos desde Inglaterra!

        Pablo

  13. Carmen V
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:08 AM | Permalink

    It’s good to read you again. Thanks for sharing.
    The whole world is waiting for the results, this is beyond the USA now, it afects the entire planet.
    Also, there are moments in life where you just need space and normality. That is absolutely fine, especially when it comes to a loss or a big disappointment.
    It’s good to know you have your boys to love and be loved by them. That is the biggest most important thing.

    Big hug from Spain.

  14. Ryan
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:25 AM | Permalink

    Super wholesome read. Glad you found a bit of solace amongst all this chaos.

  15. Paula Blakley
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:48 AM | Permalink

    Treasure the peaceful and rewarding moments reading with your children. They will treasure them as well. My grown sons still reminisce about their dad reading with them at bedtime. So many fathers miss these precious moments. The absence of technology and media would alleviate a lot of stress for folks these days. I am finding as I grow older that it is refreshing to get “back to the basics’ for my peace of mind. Family time. home, and a good book are pure bliss.

  16. Eep
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 5:27 AM | Permalink

    I really miss your blogging. I started reading your blog waaay back. It has changed so much. Thank you for taking the time to write a post.

    • Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

      I’ve been wanting to come back to it for ages, I’m hoping we’re going to see more fun posts over the next month or so….

  17. Marten
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 5:47 AM | Permalink

    Great blog Pat! Thank you for sharing it! Seems like you have been spending your time much better than most people (including me) these last few days! Hang in there. We will know it when we know it and knowing it a little bit earlier won’t actually change anything. It’s way better to spend your time with your family and writing beautiful blogs than constantly and pointlessly checking the news.

  18. Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    For the Children
    The rising hills, the slopes,
    of statistics
    lie before us.
    the steep climb
    of everything, going up,
    up, as we all
    go down.

    In the next century
    or the one beyond that,
    they say,
    are valleys, pastures,
    we can meet there in peace
    if we make it.

    To climb these coming crests
    one word to you, to
    you and your children:

    stay together
    learn the flowers
    go light

    …Gary Snyder

  19. Karim
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:11 AM | Permalink

    Nice to see you blogging again, Pat. I’m glad you had a good, quiet election day.

    Bunch of thoughts.

    (1) As a POC who the US would gladly nuke out of orbit, I hereby release you from any feelings of could-have-done-more-ness or guilt. I worry I’m crossing a cultural line, here, you’re too hard on yourself, man. Not many people are doing newsletters and creating charity drives.

    (2) I get that lunch thing. I remember, when my granddad passed away, me not telling my then-girlfriend (who’d been out of town) for a while just to kind of…not think about it. There was a kind of serenity to it. You described it well.

    (3) It must be amazing to you that your kids are now reading your stuff. Did they pick up on Slow Regard without needing background? Did they treat it as a strange fairytale?

    (4) I do slightly disagree that this is what America has “become”, and must read different history books than you; hell, Trump hurt me (I’m not American), but so did Obama, and so did everyone else going back to Eisenhower. Hurt me and my family in profound ways. The 2003 invasion gave us kids nightmares. The Americans were coming, after all. I don’t think superlative terminology is doing anyone any favours. That has been the one major advantage of Trump:

    He’s allowed privileged Americans to feel like how the US government makes everyone else feel. Evaluating anything outside of its systemic context will perpetuate it, sadly.

    • Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

      “He’s allowed privileged Americans to feel like how the US government makes everyone else feel.”

      I think this is a very good statement.

      If anything good has come from this, it’s the fact that a lot of people have been forced to confront a lot of things we didn’t know about before.

      • Karim
        Posted November 7, 2020 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

        And now, let’s hope they don’t forget. For now, though, congratulations! One person to another, I hope you feel better than you have been under Trump. The same applies to anyone who reads this comment!

  20. Russell
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:26 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this, Pat. The no news thing was something I myself tried, but I lasted a couple of hours. I know the feeling you described, too. It is something of an ‘inbetween’ is how I can best describe it after going through it myself. You know things have changed, but in that moment they haven’t changed yet. You’re neither where you were, though it feels like you are, but nor are you in the new place yet.
    I’d also like to thank you for the activism newsletter. I’m not American but it’s been helpful to cut through so much of the noise of the last four years, and taught me to be more discerning with the news in my country, too.

  21. Matt
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

    I was also reading to my kids yesterday (Spiderwick) and they were riveted! When I was going through a really rough patch I read (and listened to) a lot of Thich Nhat Hahn and one of the epiphanies he helped me see is that my kids are a part of me (even literally in the sense that they are cells partially formed from your cells so they are a part of you that grew out of you as you are a part of your parents and so on back through time.) If I nurtured them, I was nurturing myself and if I took care of myself, I was taking care of them. This helped me both with self care, but also to realize on my worst days that if I was extra caring to my kids, it would help me. But it sounds like you know this already, so consider this comment just a reminder (as I remind myself) that you’re doing the one thing that matters most more than all the other things.

  22. James
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:38 AM | Permalink

    It’s been a few days now and I’ve found my own bit of peace. 2016 was awful. I obsessively checked maps, watched the news, couldn’t fall to sleep even though I had to wake up at 3am to do interviews.

    This year I’ve been doing kinda like you’ve been. Filing the time with things. Friends, hobbies, a bit of exercise since the weather’s been nice.

    I do check a couple times a day though. I suspect you might be the wiser man.

    • Karim
      Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

      I have a hard time not knowing. I read newspapers compulsively; I’ve been subscribed to a few since I was a teenager. Even I had to tap out in September of this year, between what was happening in my…well, I come from a number of countries. At some point, you need to go easy on yourself, you need to know when it is time to build yourself up again. I’d say to myself, “You’re no good to anyone dysfunctional.” And…now I’m almost at the point I can read the papers as thoroughly as I’m used to.

      But I’ve quit most social media and never just surf the internet anymore. It’s helped a lot. It’s funny how something like “Play games for two hours” or “Exercise” being slotted in for “freak out at Twitter and Reddit” is so simple, obvious, and effective, and yet so hard to do. You have to take care of yourself. Striking that balance between self-love and not being wilfully ignorant (especially if you’re in a position of privilege) is hard but oh-so-crucial. I’ve begun reading more novels to counteract all the history I can’t help but read.

      Glad you’re doing better, James, is what I’m saying. I related to your comment.

  23. Bret
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:49 AM | Permalink

    Your comment on receiving the news of your mom’s death is very similar to both times when my parents passed.

    Each time I found out I was overseas, in the middle of work. There is nothing I could do at that point that would affect anyone or anything about the situation. I had work to wrap up, a presentation or an event due the next day. The energy was better focused on finishing that, and then taking the time I needed to fly back home.

    It is an odd state to be in, the cusp of accepting a life changing event. You know it is happening and your life will never be the same again, but it hasn’t yet.

  24. Kaye
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 7:08 AM | Permalink

    I appreciate the gentle conspiracy of your family, friends, colleagues, and aquaintances that are respecting your boundaries. It’s lovely.

  25. Kath Sargent
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

    When a miscarriage occurs, a mother’s dreams for a new being’s lifetime die too. And yet I looked the same; my grief was a sharp secret to many. When my dad died, I felt like I should tell my friends but I savored the liminal space, as you aptly called it. Susan David describes grief as love with nowhere to go. And that’s the aimless feeling of liminal space, the nowhere to go. It can be quite peaceful, to hug your fullness and longing close. And well done you.

    • Karin
      Posted November 6, 2020 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

      Thank you for this comment.

      I too lost the dream of a child. I remember back to the day before we were to find out the outcome and how I felt decidedly pregnant and un-pregnant, simultaneously. Two opposite and coexisting futures stretched out into infinity. It was both a terrifying and exhilarating space to sit in. The uncertainty setting my mind and mood aflame. My skin tingles at the memory of it. At the time, I imagined this is what Samwise must’ve felt like standing at the boundary of the Shire. Or Schrödinger the moment before he opened the box. And, in a way, like the cat too. Dead and alive. Pregnant and barren. Ok and not-ok.

      I’ve gotten good at living in the point of time where all futures are still true.

      And you’re right about the days after. The world splits in two:
      The people who know and share the labor of my grief and the people who were free of it, unburdened from the knowing of things and from my sadness. I wanted that freedom too. To cast off my sorrow and return to the place where all futures were still possible, where I didn’t need to do the work of healing or sit in the stillness of my grief.

      The in-between is a funny place.

  26. Mathis
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    As someone who did the exact opposite on election day, I can tell you:
    You’ve made the better choice.

    I do not live in the US. I am no citizen of the US. It was my first time following an US-election.
    Nobody needs Trump more gone than the rest of the world.

    So, I stayed up all night for answers, that were not told. As tendencies became seemingly more obvious here and there, my mood shrank more and more.
    In the morning, I told my wife. She moaningly noticed.
    My kids had to suffer quite a bit on their way to kindergarten.
    I had the worst day nap, ever.

    In the evening I showed my older daughter(5), what a Trump means and why fighting one is so important. She listened patiently. I could not even read a book to her. When I fell asleep in her bed at 8, she was still awake.

    Then, the next morning check luckily showed a total turn around.
    And so I did learn, what hope really means. Also, I will never again watch up outcomes on election day. Period.

  27. Posted November 6, 2020 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    Big hugs, to all that need them.

  28. Tom
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Pat, thank you for writing this. As always, you have encapsulated what I’m feeling with your words. I have also been trying out the whole “aggressively trying not to think about something I have no control over anymore” thing, and for the most part it has been good. So I’m glad to hear someone else found it.
    My grandmother passed away about a month ago. I was also teaching at the time, but thankfully I was *not* in front of a class, because I could not have taught on after that. When I came back to work after a few days, my colleagues were all so supportive. However, because of all of the condolences, I couldn’t do what I wanted to do and just Not Think About It. So I super empathize with wanting to keep a small pocket of ignorance to the situation/a bubble of “normalcy.” with your friends.
    As always, I hear you and relate to your experience so much. Thank you for your words.
    Tom

  29. Jen
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    As someone who had a not-so-great-dad, you are a good ass dad. Thank you for all you do/ have done. I know I’ve had to take more mental breaks from social media this year than any other. You do what you need to, Pat. Take care, peace and love.

  30. JeremyM
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

    That was the absolute best use of your time. My coping involved jumping online to game with friends and leaving my phone in another room. We made a rule that one was to mention it, or talk about it. I just wish I would have been stronger in the following days. Thanks for sharing Pat! This was a great blog post to wake up to!

  31. Constance
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

    Many of us are still waiting. Wanting and full of numbness. Numb is safer and more functional than hope and fear sometimes.

  32. Robin
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    Great blog, I can relate about the lunch you had with a friend. My mom passed 5 years ago to cancer and I still haven’t told my friends at work.. it was for sure a sad time but it was also great not to have everyone feel sorry for you which would remind you of your new reality.

    Love all the work you do Pat, you seem like such a good hearted and genuine person that I wish you all the good things in the world. Keep up with everything that you do and stand for.

    You should post blogs more often :)

  33. Sam
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat, thank you for this post. Reading about your day with your boys and the great relationship that you clearly work hard to maintain was really soothing.

    I hope you all have a great weekend.

    Sam

  34. Adam Stadnick
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

    I think a lot of people’s mental health is in that liminal state waiting on the results. I know I haven’t felt normal for the last four years and change and part of me is hoping that Biden wins solely out of a selfish desire to be able to not care about politics for at least a few hours at a time – not that the activism has to stop but that the existential dread will ease off.

    I’ve been watching things very closely but I’m not relaxing, celebrating, or despairing until it’s all over.

  35. Michael M.
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

    Morning Patrick, I think a lot about writing you. You talk about blogs lying fallow, I’ve got at least a couple of letters like that. I feel myself deeply resonating with you. We aren’t the same, but often times my heart hurts in the ways you talk about so clearly. That openness to communicating is something I strive to emulate. This blog post struck yet another chord with me. I’m working on brevity and part of my unsent letter always addresses that maybe the kindest thing we can do for those whose work we admire is to be quick in our expressions of gratitude. So thank you. Your words often improve the shape of my world.

  36. Amy
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    Loved reading this. I chose to do something similar on November 4th & 5th. Meditated, spent quality time with my two boys, tried not to think about what is at stake. I’m so tired at this point. So very tired. But unlike you, I caved several times to look at updates. I just cut myself off from the doom scrolling on Facebook. Small step, but it has helped keep me afloat.

    This will all be over soon thankfully. But let’s keep hugging our kids and take what moments we can to enjoy the beauty and love in the world we have within arms reach.

  37. Jana Slisher
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    This was a beautiful post. Your feelings about the election, your children, and your mother (my father died of cancer) so closely mirror my own.

  38. Matt B.
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the post, Pat. It’s good to see the blog again.

    I’m very glad you decided to post it. I did a similar thing on Tuesday and I think it was the better choice.

    It’s also very encouraging to hear stories of you with your kids. I don’t think I’ll ever be a father, but if more people took the care you did, the world would be a better place.

  39. Jessica
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    Pat – I’m glad you shared this post. It shows that you’ve made great strides in your journey to be healthier and spend more time with your family. Identifying situations that cause mental health issues and choosing to do something that’s more beneficial shows self-regulation and awareness.

    Keep it up!

  40. Toni
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat! Thank you for sharing your story. It’s nice to feel less alone in my decision to focus on self-care for the time being.

  41. Alessandra
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing such vulnerable experiences. As a Canadian who has been fairly constantly checking the US results, I can absolutely understand and fully support decision to steer clear. But beyond that, the microcosm of the world you have shared between yourself and your sons brings a steadiness of hope and delight to a season that has been dark, and is now seeing some rays of light. If those moments are not exactly what “we” are fighting for, then I don’t know what else is worth the effort. Thanks again and hope you are finding joy these days.

  42. christopher
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    The world outside right now reflects what my world inside has been like for much of my life: tensions and conflict and darkness and unknowableness and fear. The bleakness in such palpable vacancy, such consuming blankness, like some blackhole just sitting in your chest, is often frightening (in a numb and distant way at times) and disorienting, especially after loosing someone close to you. But, sometimes that emptiness can be one of calm and peace, not tension and fear. It can be intentional reprieve from the constant battering of stimuli, the names I call myself, the names the world tries to put on my shoulders. It can be a way of finding shelter, of giving room for the often suppressed truths of love, the simple beauties of life, the quiet moments of breathing and listening and being. Those truths need space to for me to hold them and foster their role in my day-to-day life. They can feel remarkably similar in someways to how I handle grief. The time I take to let these small moments of my life, my body, my mind, and my loved ones have space to bloom could easily be called “denial” or “avoidance”. I chose to call them good.

  43. madfroglady
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    Thank you, Pat, for being you and naming something that the rest of us struggle with. As someone who has spent too much time in liminal states of being, I can say your books have offered me a place to crawl into and pull the door of reality shut behind me. I am glad that you can create that for yourself as well.

  44. Mary Kate
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat,

    Thanks for writing this. The things you do add joy to the world: the books, the blog, Worldbuilders. The newsletter helps me not check the news obsessively. Listening to the OneShot podcast made part of the pandemic easier. I love seeing what books and podcasts and movies you recommend on Twitter or here because it makes it easy to find new great things to enjoy.

    Thanks for all that you do.

  45. Andrew Lazzarin
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    Reading with my little ones is often weirdly therapeutic. My daughter has just turned six, and is just starting to read on her own, and I’m kind of mourning in advance the loss of our story times. When you’re telling the tale, even in an author’s words and not your own, it still feels somehow powerful in the moment. Powerful in the telling, as if the story itself has a kind of presence in the moment. It’s some of the very best parent time I’ve had.

  46. Ian F
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    I can totally understand. It’s peaceful to be with people who know nothing of your tragedy, to spend an afternoon/evening of innocent joy. Unfortunately, the entire online world is aware of this possible tragedy. But we have our friends and family and hope: that’s always been enough.

  47. Lance
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been reading to my son since he was old enough to recognize voices in the womb. We do it every night, unless I’m working. He’s only 3, and he has started to want to be the one reading. He can’t actually read, but we’ve read the books that he’s choosing enough times that he kind of has them memorized. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. He’s obsessed with The Gruffalo right now. I always enjoy your blogs, Pat. Thanks for the update.

  48. James Weaver
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    Tank you or sharing. I feel like this was a refreshing bit of piece that we all needed to have.

  49. Erin W
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    I empathize with this post so well. My entire life is in a liminal space right now, and it’s eerie to even confront that realization. I am so glad for you that you have family by your side to keep you in the present moment. I do have family, some of whom are high risk regarding the pandemic, and all of whom like an hour or more away. I am on the East coast in the US, and my boyfriend is on the West coast in Canada. Things feel… disconnected.

    I have also been delving into minecraft videos to pass shinde of the time, and while I imagine you have enough to do that it isn’t a concern, there is a small collective of youtubers making a minecraft series called Hermitcraft, and they are delightful to watch. For you and your family, I would particularly recommend the youtuber GoodTimesWithScar.

    It was very good to hear from you again. Thank youI for posting this update. <3

    • Erin W
      Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

      Aaah, sorry for the typo.

  50. Twilight Moonbeast
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    Right there with you. I don’t want to know until all is said and done. I did what I could and wish I could have done more.

    My son is now 30, so no reading to him. (Not sure the dogs, pigs, goats, and sheep would appreciate the diaries of Murderbot.)

  51. Dan
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    My wife and I read all of the Harry Potter books aloud to our son, a chapter (or two) a night, one a year starting at age 7. We finished the last book this year and started over with our daughter a couple of years ago. It’s the best, especially if you do voices for the characters. I have a pretty good Hagrid, Doby and Luna now. We don’t let them watch the movies until after they read the books (as it should be…or this is the way?) and my son thinks all of their voices are wrong because I do it better. :)

  52. Tim
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing that. The juxtaposition of wingsuiting videos and reminiscing about death and grief is a poignant one for me. While skydiving is fairly safe, BASE jumping (which is the jumping from mountains and such, rather than airplanes, with or without a squirrel suit) is not, and too many of the people I know who have died have done so from BASE jumping. I hid my skydiving from my work social circle, and some of my family. There was a period in which a lot of people “went in”, and when someone would die, most of my world didn’t know. When I would meet up with someone who did know, the experience was very similar, though somehow in reverse – as if Schrödinger’s Cat’s fate was suddenly known, and then went back to being indeterminate once the meal ended.

  53. Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    Pat, thanks for sharing some writing with us! It’s so good to “hear” your voice. (You’ve had a few livestreams, but they’ve all been at not-good times.) We are all waiting together, and you have the better strategy. Respect.

    Your story reminded me of when I got the call that my father had suffered a rupture of his abdominal aortic aneurysm. I grabbed a few things, including a black dress, and headed down from Wisconsin to southern Illinois assuming I’d help my mom with the funeral. As it turned out, my father was exceptionally hard to kill. I spent weeks down there going to the ICU with my mom, eventually bullying the young ICU doctor into extubating him (it was past time, but nobody wants to do it in case you have to re-intubate) and setting him up in rehab. He lived for years more and I ended up having to say goodbye by Facetime, as I’d moved to Oregon with my family.

    I still remember him saying “They told me I would go to sleep and just not wake up [after deliberately stopping dialysis] but I keep waking up!” He was, for the third time, very hard to kill. (The second time was when the nursing home accidentally tripled his digoxin dose and nobody realized this was why he was feeling weaker and weaker until he started hallucinating.) He had a vanilla milkshake on his last day.

    Life goes on. Thanks for sharing a piece of yours.

  54. Jon W
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to say that I enjoyed the not-knowing in the exact same way you did yesterday I started reading Name of the Wind to my wife. It’s her first time.

    It’s been something else to hear out loud.

  55. Chris Stampe
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this, Pat. I got a sincere belly laugh out of your kids’ Minecraft wisdom because I have fallen victim to the same with my two oldest. I also appreciate the wisdom in turning off the “world” and appreciating your own world. After reading your post, I simply sat and looked out my window and was rewarded with the site of our three local bald eagles (2 parents and summer hatchling) wheeling around on a windy day. Lastly, I wish you posted more of the uncooked blog entries. It’s the raw and imperfect that I’ve enjoyed reading; another example of normal life and emotion in a world that sometimes feels so crazy.

  56. Jakob Johnson
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    I really love this blog post. The way you described your reaction to your mom’s death really resonated with me, as my dad died on September 11, 2020 unexpectedly. Funnily enough, one of my escapist methods for coping was actually re-reading the 10th anniversary edition of Name of the Wind. This is such a hard time for everyone right now. I really respect the way that you have dealt with election week, it’s much better than my own response has been. Sending love and happiness to you and your family during this troubling week.

  57. Maira Richards
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    I have started to cherish the time with my children. When did they turn into these little humans with these unique personalities? Your time with them sounds lovely and alphabet soup sounded delightful. I teach and the part about teaching the rest of the day, it’s what I would have done. My best friend lives on the other side of the world and I would love to be able to have her near enough to pop in and just hang out. Enjoyed the post. Take care.

  58. Crystal
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    I just want to say thanks for being so real. Focusing on the good and being purposeful in how you invest and direct your energy is a learning process!

    As a side note, I also wanted to mention, that for Halloween I read “The Princess and Mr. Whiffle” to my class of Gr. 10s. It is such a great book to use for an example of creative writing.

    This time of year is hard, especially for people who struggle with seasonal depression. I hope that you can make time for little happy moments with your family. Maybe they will be inspired by Auri and you all have a craft day and make soap!

    Take care
    Crystal.

  59. Wizard44
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

    I recognized the Tunguska photo immediately.. made me double check which blog I was reading! I love when two of my worlds cross.

    Sending my love to all the humans swimming in anxiety. I am doing what I can for you dear ones.

  60. Does it Matter?
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    I’m sorry that such a large portion of humanity appears to suck.

  61. Nathan Mack
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this story, Pat. It is cathartic to hear your thoughts on life and the election. Hearing your thoughts reminds me that we are all human and that we all share similar struggles. With the crazy times around us it has been easy to forget that we are community.

  62. Lexxa
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    Welcome back.

  63. Alex Redd
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    Wait. All those things you said are incredibly important and the sentiment is felt everywhere. I’m overjoyed you spent your time in the best way possible. I should have unplugged, didn’t, and have upped my Xanax intake.

    The real question here is THERE ARE DOUBLE COATED TIM TAMS? Is this a prize that only amazing people get?

    Thank you for being you.

  64. Stella Dang
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 11:55 PM | Permalink

    Thank you, Pat. I was reading excerpts from your blog to my friend on a call today when we talked about people that restore our faith in humanity. If I ever have children, I know I will read them Slow Regard before bed. It’s the book I read every night to keep myself grounded.

    Hoping for the best. We love you <3

  65. Dina Fulconis
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 1:30 AM | Permalink

    You always manage to put words to seemingly ineffable things. The Tenuous Serenity of Not-Knowing. Beautiful. I could write novels about this feeling and yet I’ve never named it. Thank you for this name Pat, among all the others. They sit like flowers in my garden, ever blooming :)

  66. Nick
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

    I’m a long time fan, I bought your first book when it was shiny and new and fell in love with the series. When book two came out I was one of the people that bought your first editions with your signature. I also bought a second paperback for reading.

    I bought the signed book for my first child (who I didn’t have at the time) as I had a gut feeling that you Pat are going to be very famous and popular and I wanted to buy something for my child that they could sell when the time was right to buy themselves a car or a holiday or keep the book itself.

    I looked at it once when it arrived and quickly placed it back in the box with the popcorn fome things and placed it up in the attic in a corner for safe keeping.

    Fast forward to today where a ton has changed. I lived in the home where your book was kept for 12 years. Until, c19 came and my mother and law whome owns the house went dark and changed on my partner (her daughter) and myself and kicked us out.

    I recently had a baby girl in February, Willow is her name, anyway a few weeks go by and we’re in a new apartment and we get a call. “Come back and take your books or they’re going out into a skip before Wednesday” I decide to go that day and when we get there a ton of our things are outside beside or in the skip… The box with your book in it beside it… Empty.

    I ask my mother and law what happened to the book and she can’t tell me. Her family from Dublin came down and removed our things which her mum said was safe until we got a place big enough to keep them.

    They took the book away with them. I’ve been sad about everything that’s happened to us this year and equally delighted to have a beautiful daughter and an amazing wife but that book keeps coming up in my mind. It had purpose and now that’s gone too. Taken by people who don’t value or care about it or us to stop and think that their actions are disgraceful.

    We don’t speak to any of them now and your post in Facebook and this blog connected it all for me. The heartbreaking loss of family and the loss of some hopes for the future.

    As for American politics, I fear that your country’s division won’t be fixed easily and maybe Bernie would have been a better choice.

    • Nick
      Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:08 AM | Permalink

      PS You sound like a great dad and your boys sound lovely too! I remember you were poly in a previous blog post, my partner and I have been talking about it for years now ourselves. We conducted the research and worked on personal development, the whole nine yards. We maybe ready for it when the right person comes around but my girl is my first priority. Have a good one Pat!

  67. Barak Austin
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this post! I also tried to avoid election stuff as much as possible, and despite caving a bit, I still feel I understand the feeling of being in a liminal space about the whole thing. I appreciate so much you putting voice to something so personal and deeply emotive.

  68. Andrew Van Ness
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    Thank you! I hope you make many more new old friends, so some day you can quietly get lunch and enjoy each others company. I read both your main books to my wife, so thanks for bringing us closer together!

  69. Victor Krylov
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    Welcome back to blogging Pat, I missed your voice more than I realized. Also congrats on Trump getting fired, that idiot child is gone. All of a sudden I can listen to NPR again, I can be interested in political policy again, and I can live with the comparatively less stress of COVID again. Your books mean more to me than you will know, they touch me dearly.

    I hope now is the time to for everyone to poke out of their bunkers and joke about the nonsense. Or maybe make nonsense jokes, whichever.

  70. Lara
    Posted November 8, 2020 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

    I loved this blog post.
    I don’t know what it is about your style of writing (maybe it’s just because I’ve read it so much) but it has such a comforting effect on me. It feels like my dad reading to me when I was little or rereading a favourite chapter for the thirtieth time, even though the content is new and exciting.
    “The Life-Changing Magic of Sometimes Just Not Thinking About It” is something I have perfected to the point of it becoming a problem. If something worries me, if there was a conversation that troubled me, if I should be doing something I’m dreading – my mind will basically censor it out. I find it very difficult to actively think about these things and it would get me into trouble, as ignoring things won’t make then go away. I have improved at confronting scary thoughts (albeit mostly at 3am) but it is still my default defence mechanism.
    I’m glad to hear that The Life-Changing Magic of Sometimes Just Not Thinking About It (I propose an initialism like TLCMOSJNTAI for future reference) is doing you good though, and find it interesting how one person’s bad habit can be a healthy response for another.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and parts of your life with us. You’re boys sound lovely and seem lucky to have you as their dad.
    Have a nice day!

  71. Andy Arenson
    Posted November 8, 2020 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    You feel things and you articulate them and that’s a powerful, valuable combination. Thanks.

  72. Miguel
    Posted November 8, 2020 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for updating the blog!
    I hope you and your family are ok.

    I send you a hug from Spain!

  73. Pelle
    Posted November 9, 2020 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    That’s for the blog update!

    Also, keep reading your books for your children, they are awesome (books & children) and i am sure at some point your kids are going to wonder how the tale ends.

  74. Joan Nieto Casanovas
    Posted November 9, 2020 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

    If you like to see emotional videos watch this one
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCmBYTbx_Hs

  75. Jess Shirley
    Posted November 10, 2020 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    Today I went online and googled when your third book in the King Chronicles series will be coming out (as I do at least once every two weeks), and it was here where I happened to stumble upon this website. I have been a huge fan of yours for a while now, so I can’t believe I never knew about it! But much to my delight in discovering this website, I then saw your blog post which not gonna lie, kinda made me nervous. But to read this and find out that my favorite author is in fact not a Trump fan was… I don’t know, just something I really needed to see today. So thank you for that.

    -Jess

  76. Posted November 11, 2020 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    You really are an intelligent person, your wordings kept me reading your whole post, I am trying my level best, one day i will become a blogger like you… Cheers!

  77. Posted November 11, 2020 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    The best people nature is to take time before they plan or write anything, this is a better way to express anything properly. And this is what i have found in your post.

  78. Posted November 11, 2020 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    I feel so lucky when I searched for something and found it right before my eyes, you post have made my day!

  79. Posted November 11, 2020 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

    You have explained! in this post, in a wonderful way and it has become a piece of cake for me to understand it very quickly and easily…

  80. Posted November 11, 2020 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    Your post has been expressed with emotions, all the sentences are speaking the complete situations, very appreciateable, KeEp uP tHE gOOd wOrK!

  81. Posted November 11, 2020 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    Your post deserve to be pronounce, impressive. I had no trouble reading through the content. The good thing is I have learned something new today! Cheers…

  82. Carol Graham
    Posted November 12, 2020 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

    These past few months have been stressful. Well said. And waiting for the election results to be finalized is like a long drawn out horror movie. But another analogy comes to mind: It is like waiting for the third book to be release in a trilogy. Never knowing, never knowing……….. so like you I turn my mind to other things. History will be culling through the chaos of 2020 for many decades. Maybe on your passing someone will find your notes and finally complete the trilogy. History.

  83. Eric Connelly
    Posted November 13, 2020 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

    Just letting you know – the flying squirrel thing is, indeed, as much fun (and as scary) as it looks

  84. Clark
    Posted November 15, 2020 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat
    I haven’t checked your blog in a while, and I am really glad I did it today.
    As always, you have beautifully written many things for me to think about.

    I can definitely relate to the loss and wanting to have parts of your life, and people in it, that are not involved with it. You nailed the description and the feeling. Thank you.

    Reading to your kids has to be the best activity ever invented – enjoy it while it lasts. Our kids are grown now, and I still miss it. My wife and I took turns and literally read to our kids from the night they were born – I’m pretty sure Goodnight Moon was the first book for both kids. When they were little we had a “do, don’t buy” family rule, the exception always being books – we never said no to buying a book. One night when my son was 12 and my daughter was 9, all four of us were on the couch each reading our own books together – my wife and I gave each other a proud look, and we still talk about that moment.

    Not getting caught up in the minute by minute news cycle, whether the election or other topics, is good for us all from time to time. I agree with another reply that said you turned the night into a night to remember with your kids, rather than a night of stress and endless “he said, she said” stuff that doesn’t do anything valuable for us. Hopefully the counts and certifications will be done soon, and then the Electoral College will do its thing, and America can start to move forward again. But, checking on the status every minute won’t help the process or us as individuals.

  85. Paul
    Posted November 17, 2020 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    I just had the life altering realization that my Mom won’t live forever. She just had a “rare cancer” pop up on her leg and they removed it. So far so good. But, it’s malignant. Surgery for the next bit to take out is next week. I’m filing under “they caught it quickly” but yet the fact that I had to sit with the thought of being without my Mother was chilling: she’s always there.

    As for friends, I seem to keep shedding them. I lost one because he’s a Trump supporter and we just couldn’t talk anymore. I lost a good college friend because we got in a fight about the protests (I life in Portland so it’s a nightly event)–she fell down the well of blaming the protesters for causing people to vote for Trump. My Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria has been getting quite a workout. “If you meet someone in the morning and that person is an asshole, then yes, they are an asshole; if everyone you meet is an asshole then YOU are the asshole. AITA?

  86. Matt
    Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing pat. I’m stuck in another lockdown in the UK and your post made me stop and think of all the things I have instead of what I’m missing. It also inspired to reach out to my father who i spoke to tokay for the first time in 16 years

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