March 29, 2020

Dear Hope Nation,

Today is Sunday, a day of rest, so my message will be a series of short sharp shots.

First, if you didn’t see any of the Sicker than Most Show last night, you missed a great example of community gathering together. Not an example of a well-organized video production. Not a thematically-linked evening of performances. Not a group of exquisitely talented artists—with a few exceptions—demonstrating their skills. It was a community gathering together; around isolated glowing screens a couple dozen folks had a chance to connect—talking crap about each other, joking, and sharing some time as well as some talent. From Nicholas’ poetry to Bionic’s playing and singing to Nate’s a capella singing from his basement bunker, it was all good and everyone was beautiful, whether we’d showered or not. While I hope next month’s Sicker than Most will be at Hope, I know this tradition will continue online if necessary. That makes me very happy indeed.

Second, many folks have inquired about Lucy’s safety and physical and emotional health. (Not to focus on resentments, but significantly more than have asked about me. To be fair, I am a human and in regular communication. Lucy is a dog who can’t even talk on the phone much less text. Finally, she is way cuter than I.) So . . . Lucy is doing grandly! As some of you know, we left the Tiny White Box a little more than a month ago and have settled in to a log cabin in the woods across the street from a pond. It is, in short, a perfect home for Lucy. Thanks, all, for asking.

Finally, A few years ago, before I went into seclusion in Pittsburg, I traveled to London for a couple weeks. This was right after the London Bridge killings where more than 50 people were killed or injured. Call me morbid, but I sketched out funeral plans in case I died in London. Part of that plan was a reading from one of my favorite authors, Walker Percy. This passage sums up my view of life in a nutshell, and while it may seem fatalistic, it’s also a dummy’s guide to Stoicism.

“I don’t quite know what we’re doing on this insignificant cinder spinning away in a dark corner of the universe. That is a secret which the high gods have not confided in me.

Yet one thing I believe and I believe it with every fiber of my being. A man must live by his lights and do what little he can and do it as best he can. In this world goodness is destined to be defeated. But a man must go down fighting. That is the victory. To do anything less is to be less than a man.”
— The Moviegoer

In conversations with many of you, whether through text or phone, it is clear to me we are combatants fighting the good fight. Keep up your spirits and keep on battling. After all

You matter. I matter. We matter.

Keith