May 25, 2022
What a year. And we’re only in May.
The pandemic continues. Around the world, people are still dying from the Covid-19 virus. The Russian war against Ukraine continues to devastate Ukraine and its people. Millions of people, now refugees, fled their country. Roe v. Wade is threatened, again. Women’s rights continue to be abused and trampled on around the world. Baby formula is scarce. A Palestinian-American journalist was slain. No one is taking responsibility for her death. Gas prices are close to $5.00. White supremacy and advocates of this pestilence continue to ooze from behind every corner. They no longer hide in the shadows. It’s out of control. Massacres due to gun violence continue. Mental health beyond a critical place. Folks are getting laid off and are forced to work two, three jobs to try to make ends meet. Crypto millionaires are snatching up land and properties in Puerto Rico, encouraged by US tax breaks. Greed and power. And the rich keep getting richer. I could go on and on.
I no longer ask, “What now?” Each day, there is a new or ongoing crisis that keeps my head reeling and my heart hurting.
In early April, I stopped watching news broadcasts and reading newspapers. It was too much for me. Believe me, enough news still seeps in through social media outlets. That’s where I learned about the monkey pox virus and that an asteroid the size of the Empire State building is hurling through space toward the Earth. Last night, I learned the asteroid will miss us. What the hell.
Note: I edited this blog post in the morning. Late afternoon, I discovered that 19 elementary school students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas were murdered. I was stunned. My heart broke as I watched the news broadcasts in evening. My April news fast was broken. How long can we stand by and watch the murder of innocents? When will our elected political leaders finally do the right thing and pass sane gun laws that protect us? Sadly, I don’t know the answers to those questions.
I worry about my niece, an elementary school teacher, and all teachers and their students. They are frightened. Parents are frightened and suffering. Feeling unsafe, not in control in our lives and the lives of our children and family members is not normal.
I do know one thing: The line, “This is not who we are”, is a lie. This IS who we are.
There is one woman speaking truth to power — Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados. If you haven’t heard of her, look her up. I admire her very much. Watch the video of her speech at the Opening of the COP26 World Leaders Summit of the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
On a more positive light, in mid-April, I cohosted my beloved daughter and her fiancé’s engagement party. The joyous, elegant, and intimate celebration was held in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Our family and friends joined my future son-in-law’s family and friends for the first time. It was wonderful to celebrate the happy couple and to hug family and friends after two years of being apart. It was healing to forget about the cares of the world and the pain and suffering of the last two years for one beautiful weekend of love and family. There were a lot of tears, mostly happy tears, but I know our tears were also a mixture of releasing of pent-up emotions, of negativity, fear, and anxiety mixed with a great need to connect with others. God knows we all needed something to celebrate. My daughter’s wedding is to be held next year.
I drove back to West Virginia with my dog Miss Sophie, happy that I chose not to sell my house and move to Northern Virginia. It would have been a huge mistake for me. This old house has its quirks and issues, but it’s home. My refuge. A sanctuary. This is the home where I wrote and saw my first novel, A Decent Woman, and my first poetry collection, Tight Knots. Loose Threads. published.
These days, I’m focused on preparing the draft manuscript for my second novel, The Laments, for a story development editor. I’m excited to work with her this summer. I finally ordered a printer and a package of red ink pens, which will help as I work best with physical copies of my manuscripts. I’m old school.
So, we move forward. I can’t control much of what happens in the world around me, but I can do my small part to help. I can also control and make sure my creative life continues to thrive. My creative goals are front and center again, where they belong.
As my friend Jack says, “Art is salvation”. Amen.
Be well. Ellie x
ABOUT ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA:
Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning historical novel, A DECENT WOMAN (2017 & 2019 International Latino Book Awards) and the award-winning collection of poetry, TIGHT KNOTS. LOOSE THREADS. (2021 International Latino Book Awards). Eleanor’s books are published by Winter Goose Publishing.
Eleanor is currently working on her second novel, THE LAMENTS, and a new collection of poetry, currently titled ERASE AND REWIND.