The passage of time is an enduring mind jolt. Noticing it can almost pull you completely out of your own body. If you’re on the other side of middle age and you knew someone when they were seven and just heard they’re twenty-four, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I suspect younger people feel that way too though, especially now. How things have changed from last April to this one. Here’s just a few things that mark time and change for me this week.
I’ve started doing crossword puzzles again. In The New Yorker of all places. It’s a big deal for me because my late husband used to dominate all the crossword puzzles that came within an inch of the house. I’m a bit of a word nerd and so was he. It seemed like a small favor to let him have them since he went out to buy the papers every day. But apparently, I missed the practice. Doing them now after so many years of loving self-sacrifice seemed somewhat empowering. Even more bizarre? It felt like self-care. Could this be another way to stimulate brain power? Dr. Sanjay Gupta put a pin in that hopeful balloon thought, in an O interview about his most recent book, Keep Sharp: Build A Better Brain At Any Age. He says that if you really want to retread those neurological pathways and keep your brain in tip top shape you have to do something a little more physical or mentally challenging like learn a new language or go do some outdoor power walking, for goodness sakes. C’est la vie, je vais au marché.
They’ve released a song as a teaser from Prince’s new twelve track album called Welcome2America. The album of the same name doesn’t drop until July but this release gives us a tantalizing opportunity to remember how much we miss having Prince set the musical themes for our funk. The song has a recognizable seventies twang with a jazzy undertone. There’s a heavenly and harmonious female Greek chorus who practically doo wop background vocals while offering occasional political commentary that sounds like news headlines from years gone by. And the Man himself delivers his lyrics like it’s tonal def poetry. It is oddly anachronistic at times like when he quotes George Bush, (that’s #1 not the still living #2) or offers rebukes of technology and sex tapes. After all, that’s so last year or what may now be forever known as pre-pandemic, isn’t it? However, to his credit Prince can point out the obvious or old and still be voguish. That’s why I’m waiting for the rest of whatever he created in the album vault with bated breath and so are you.
My friend who I like to call Darth Voda, cause Voda really is his last name and because the force is always with him especially when it comes to brand new trends or products. He’s always the first person I know to have something I had no idea I wanted. You know, like a light saber. This time he surprised me a few weeks ago by texting that he just finished (and loved) a book I’d been waiting to be released. “How did you get this?’ I asked, after seeing a pic of his copy (I confess I wrote it more like an interrogation text than a simple question). Book of the Month Club, he texted back cheerfully. And maannn that really brought me way back. My mom once gave me a year’s subscription to BOTM for my birthday ages ago. I was probably just past double digits, which was around the time she realized nothing could come between me and fiction. I subscribed to BOTM two or three more times over the years — always giving it up because the choices weren’t interesting enough and besides bookstores are one of my top three places to have an artist’s date in the world. Now though, since I’m buying hardcover books again I also know $9.99 is a bargain for a newly released book and like Audible you get credits for freebies too. So I signed up and started with the book that my friend texted me about,The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, by Dawnie Walton, which I’m reading now and loving. And however long I keep the subscription, perhaps that is what’s best of all about the new (yet, very old) BOTM. Multi-cultural authors are all the rage. Even there. Not nearly as vogue as Prince just yet, but we got time. Don’t we?