Well, we’re two weeks into the new year, and hopefully you’re off to a great start, and good things are already unfolding. I’ve already had one terrific surprise, in the past week. I learned that my new book “Invisible”, in hardcover, determined after only five days of sales, will be Number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list this coming Sunday, and my new paperback “Neighbors” will be Number 1 on their paperback list. And I have another paperback still on that list, “All That Glitters.” That definitely gets my year off to a VERY happy start!! I hope you’ll have time to read it, and will love it.
Today is a very important day, Martin Luther King Day, one of the great historical figures of our times, and an extraordinary man, a great and inspiring religious leader who had a tremendous political and historical impact on the battle for desegregation in the United States at the time. He was an inspiration to all, and left the world a better place for having been here, and his murder was a tragedy for the world. He will be remembered and admired forever in our history.
I find that January is always kind of a bleak, dreary month. The weather is bad almost everywhere. Life is always slower after the holidays. And this year, we’ve begun the year at the height of the peak of another wave of Covid that has hit the world hard, with the Omicron variant. There are a myriad theories about it, that it’s less severe than earlier variants, but more contagious, that it’s a good sign that the virus is weakening, and then contradictory opinions. We are all eager to see the end of the virus altogether and the sky high numbers of new cases around the world are discouraging and frightening. I long for the time when this is all behind us, and life returns to normal again, and every day is no longer a challenge of testing, masking, distancing, vaccinating, boosting, and worrying about Covid. Let’s hope that this year it will finally disappear from our lives, or at the very least become no more dangerous than the common cold. Wouldn’t that be nice!!!
In the holiday letters I received, and conversations I’ve had, two words have caught my attention. Words that people don’t speak often or admit to, and are now talking about openly. The two words are ‘lonely’ and ‘disconnected’. I can’t remember a time when people said to me openly, or wrote in a letter, “I’m so lonely” or “I feel so disconnected.” In a way, I think it’s actually a good thing that people are actually saying it now, if that’s what they’re feeling. In the past, I think people were embarrassed to admit it, but it’s out in the open now. It has been one of the great impacts of Covid: isolation, solitude, either from quarantines, from being sick, out of fear of getting sick, from working at home remotely, or not being in school, millions of people have been affected, separated from their loved ones. Adult children have not seen their elderly parents in order to protect them, College kids haven’t seen their friends or been able to make new ones. Curfews, lockdowns, fear, and good judgement have isolated all of us from each other. I spent fifteen months of the last two years separated from my children, which was unimaginable to me before Covid. And even now, travelling to visit them, which I did once a month before is much more challenging and travel is often dangerous, or just before you’re about to see someone, they have been exposed to someone with Covid and are in quarantine and isolating. It is MUCH harder to see people now, and nearly impossible to have a social life. Going to parties isn’t wise, even if vaccinated, you think twice about inviting anyone to your home, and people are just tired of the cautions, restrictions and dangers, and it all becomes too complicated, so people wind up staying home alone. It takes real effort and consideration to maintain connections with people. I think we’re all beginning to realize that solitude does take a tremendous toll, and we do need to make that effort to stay connected to others, we need to see our family and friends, those connections are important to all of us and our wellbeing, and I think we all need to make that extra effort so we aren’t lonely. The emotional and psychological effects of the pandemic are just as dangerous as the physical ones. It’s something to think about and be aware of as we start a new year. A promise to ourselves to stay connected to other people, so that the word lonely is no longer the first word we think of to describe ourselves and how we’re feeling.
I’m starting the year off working on two books, which is usually how I start every year: writing. It’s a good month to stay home and write. Writing is always isolating because you have to stay home alone to do it. But I am going to make more effort now to see people between books, as part of my own commitment to stay connected!!
My daughter Beatrix sent me a terrific quote today of Robin Williams. He was a lovely man, and I was lucky to know him. His son and my daughter dated all through high school, and my family has remained friends with his ever since. Robin was as funny in private as he was on screen, but the side of him I loved and always impressed me was that he was an absolutely wonderful father and adored his children. The quote my daughter sent me was “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always”/Robin Williams. It’s a good thing to keep in mind. Life is a daily battle to stay on course and keep your ahead above water, and in the pandemic, you have to fight that much harder.
I hope you have a wonderful, easy week, full of good news, good surprises, good times, and blessings.
Take Care. love, Danielle