“The Art of Losing”: An Accelerated Course

Saturday, October 28, 2017

In the past fortnight, I turned 70 years old. I feel as if I had been that age for months, perhaps because some part intuited that things were about to happen that would leave bereft and utterly disconsolate.

On Tuesday morning, October 17th, I woke up to find that at some point in the night my computer at home had “crashed,” and that the hard drive had suffered a mechanical failure. All of my files were lost. One might say that I should have backed up things, but I am very timid with anything technological and have rarely met anyone who is kind enough to help me overcome those fears. What is, on the other hand, more present in my professional life is an insatiable demand for my services, especially on committees at the college where I work.

Two days before my computer crashed, Linda’s car broke down on the freeway, and required over $800 to repair. The day before the computer crashed, there was an unpleasant confrontation with another individual who seemed to have no compunction about his completely unjustifiable use of physical superiority. Linda then came down with the flu. I fought off the virus for a couple of days, then I too succumbed to a slightly milder version.

I have six major projects due in the next two weeks. About 50,000 words worth of projects. Almost all of the work I had done on these projects was on the computer at home, along with drafts of poems and research for a long poem I have been working on for the past three years.

“I can’t go on. I will go on.”

I did find out, however, that my first wife’s oldest friend was spared the ravages of the Santa Rosa fires. I had feared not only for her life, but for her home, and found out through a phone call from Cathay that her home had been spared. I remain concerned about John Martin, the publisher of Black Sparrow Press. He is not someone I am in any way in contact with, but I know that he moved Black Sparrow to Santa Rosa in its final years of operation, and I profoundly hope that John and his family have been apared the loss of their homes and possessions. He is one of the great publishers of the 20th century, and it would be painful to learn that he lost everything in this overwhelming conflagration. If anyone has news about John Martin, which she or he feels free to share, then please write me William.BillMohr@gmail.com.

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