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We’re holding two info in our minds lately: In some locations, virus instances are rising; throughout the U.S., instances are up by about 20 p.c from two weeks in the past. Meanwhile, persons are getting vaccinated, and the CDC has reported that the vaccines are efficient. These two realities usually appear to be at odds with each other. Virus and vaccine. Caution and optimism. The undeniable fact that issues are scary, the truth that there may be hope.
It’s not simple.
In his 1936 essay “The Crack-Up,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” By now we’ve been at it for 13 months, attempting to reconcile the contradictions. We’ve tried to be brave with out getting forward of the case fee, to make plans whereas anticipating reversals. Can we acknowledge that that is troublesome? That it’s exhausting and that we really feel, at occasions, as Fitzgerald did, like “cracked crockery,” fragile and in want of cautious dealing with?
Some days it’s simpler than others. What’s serving to me as we speak: Elisabeth Egan on the creator Beverly Cleary, who died this week at 104:
“To read Cleary’s books as a child in the 1980s was to feel not just seen, but noticed by a benevolent soul. The country was rebounding from a recession; divorce was on the rise; anti-bullying initiatives were as far in the future as the internet. If you grew up during this time, you may remember an every-kid-for-himself vibe (perfectly captured in ‘E.T.,’ where a 10-year-old boy hides an extraterrestrial in his closet, and his mother is too distracted to notice). Yes, today’s helicopter and tiger parents were once latchkey kids, nuking solitary French bread pizza dinners in the microwave.”
I really like Anna Katz’s examination, on Smithsonian Magazine’s web site, of the 5 artists who illustrated Cleary’s most well-known character, Ramona Quimby. (Alan Tiegreen’s drawing of Ramona and her sister Beezus trashing the kitchen whereas making dinner stays particularly vivid for me.)
Speaking of cooking, it is best to learn Dorie Greenspan on baked alaska, then make it your self. Here are seven podcasts you’ll be able to eat in a single day. Tammy Duckworth has a brand new memoir, “a book whose contents are far more gripping, gritty and original than its bromide of a title — ‘Every Day Is a Gift’ — might suggest,” wrote Susan Dominus, in her evaluate. And right here’s but another excuse to put on a masks: It may also help alleviate seasonal allergy signs.