What is Capitalism without its Distractions? 20 Fragments.

I got a writing prompt in my inbox to make a list of 100 things I’m observing, doing, feeling, or thinking during the pandemic. Here are 20.

  1. I can’t stand this world the way it is. I don’t want an apocalypse.
  2. When was it bearable to see toddler face down in water, child all skin & bones & fragile as a bird; boy posing with hands in his pockets before he died in a concentration camp?
  3. All the artists are losing their gigs. Artists can stay in, even if they can’t eat. Plenty of art still to go around on the internet. Read #TolstoyTogether. Lenin was a lover of literature. He wrote, “Tolstoy reflected the pent-up hatred, the ripened striving for a better lot, the desire to get rid of the past — and also the immature dreaming, the political inexperience, the revolutionary flabbiness.”
  4. Maybe the last novel I will ever write went out to publishers a week before New York got shut down in a COVID-19 death grip. I am scared for all my friends and scared that my little Moushumi who was 12 years old in 1983 will not make it out of this pandemic.
  5. Can’t string together sentences. Can’t make paragraphs. Have a headache.
  6. I started writing a story about a virus that only attaches to fascist leaders. Have not finished story.
  7. Modi is shutting India down. Trump wants everyone back in church by Easter. They will not test you, treat you, or give you food. You can die of starvation or disease. You have many choices in a democracy.
  8. Why are there not enough medical masks or ventilators?
  9. Is everything in the New York Times true?
  10. Did Iraq have weapons of mass destruction and even if they did, should the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons on actual people get to invade them?
  11. What is the difference between fascist, bourgeois, communist epistemology?
  12. This is more of a memory. Some friends and I were outside of a farmer’s market in East Austin trying to talk to people about what was happening to immigrants under the Trump/Pence regime. A woman who refused to stop said, “I know, but not today, please.”
  13. My head really hurts but I don’t have a cough or a fever.
  14. Mohsin Hamid wrote about the dangers of nostalgia in fiction, but perhaps made a false equivalency of nostalgia of fascists. “Stories have the power to liberate us from the tyranny of what was and what is.” Yes, agree.
  15. I wrote a novel about a 12-year old Indian American girl in Pennsylvania, 1983. It is somewhat nostalgic. So far, editors have called it “quiet.”
  16. Running out of Clorox wipes. My birthday is in a few days.
  17. My heart hurts for the people who are dying alone. My heart hurts for the people who are dying around other people who will get sick. My heart hurts for the people who can’t get a hug right now but need one.
  18. COVID-19 pandemic has stripped away the polished veneer of this system and exposed its irredeemable core. IMHO.
  19. In my story about the fascist virus, the CDC can’t figure out how to issue its warning without being political. “You are most at risk if…let’s see…how to put this…if you make speeches to large groups of people who think they are the only humans on earth and everyone else should drop dead.”
  20. Yesterday a podcaster said he can’t wait to go eat out in a restaurant again. I like to eat in restaurants too. What I can’t wait for is in the Bob Dylan song When the Ship Comes in: And the seas will split/And the ship will hit/And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking/Then the tide will sound/And the wind will pound/And the morning will be breaking