A friend sent me this reflection by Maggie Nelson published yesterday in the The New Yorker entitled “Finding Moments of Calm During a Pandemic.” Nelson describes re-reading Natalia Ginzburg’s essay “Winter in the Abruzzi” (this is Dick Davis’ translation and Lynne Sharon Schwartz has a fine one too), calling it “an essay I consider one of the most perfect and devastating ever written.” Of course, I feel that way about so much of Ginzburg’s work. Her voice–clear, stark, urgent–is a voice for our times certainly, as this article in Jacobin so well delineates. But what has always drawn me to Natalia Ginzburg, and why I think she is one of our great and enduring writers of all time, is that the abiding message of her work, no matter how dark, and it can be very, very dark, is one of joy. Long before the universe decided to weigh in, Ginzburg has been speaking to me through her body of work, which I read again and again, assuring me with ever sentence that our saving grace is our capacity for joy and we can find it anywhere, anytime if we decide to look.
Here’s a great resource for finding books for free in this weird time.
Here are beautiful coloring books by Nancy Blum that you can print at home. My mother is loving these.
And here is the delightful text for a children’s book that a friend and colleague of mine, the artist Meera Thompson, has shared to help “keep kids busy.” It has been providing endless joy to my daughter, Ayane, and her friends as they illustrate it: R. S. V. P. activites PDF
Puzzle Progress: We finally finished the frame on our 5000 piece puzzle of Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights”!
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