Writing in a Time of Peril: 7.4.2020

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard reported 2.20 million U.S. cases and 118,695 deaths as of 12:30 pm on June 19, 2020 – From Johns Hopkins daily update.

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard reported 2.64 million U.S. cases and 127,485 deaths as of 11:30 pm on July 1. – From Johns Hopkins daily update.

“By the river of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! We wept when we returned to Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave the roof of my mouth.” –Psalm 13

In my night and day dreamings, I’m never sure who is speaking or what is being revealed or hidden or known.

The voices of my enslavers, the people who ceaselessly attempt to free me, my own agitated voice or the stars who do not care?

Is my conscious unencumbered by the whirl of the ceiling fan, the cooing of the mourning doves in the eaves, the whispering of the trees or the song playing on Spotify?

When I read the page I have written, I often wonder who wrote it, was it me or some other?

When I lean into the writing or laugh or weep or feel the creep of sadness or weariness of our journeys here or sudden flights of joy, I often ask again, to whom have I been writing, who will be receiving it, shared or not shared, sent or unsent, unpublished published or released for the stars?

And yet I am not afraid of inattentive stars, the encumbrances of otherings, grief’s wells of loneliness and death, my own laughter and tears, my own ditherings, procrastinations. 

There is something in me that requires that I remember, re-remember, speak and speak, tell and tell the harrowing sufferings, the gruesome deaths we have witnessed and borne, the savage oppressions we labor beneath, the grotesque lies of the nation’s founding, building, and profit-taking, and the simple appalling truths of white supremacy, then and now. 

And yet, what I hold dear is this place of my birth, the sky, the hills, the rivers and seas, the soils of my ancestor’s sweat, tears, and blood fertilized and grown into a nation, a nation cycling, surging, awestruck by my splendid countenances, my majestic being, my lighted footsteps shining toward more perfect unions and reunions. 

What I remember, what I re_remember, what I know, what I hold dear, can heal a world.

I read the speech Frederick Douglas gave on July 5, 1852. , The Meaning of July 4 for the Negro by Frederick Douglass 

I watched a video linking Douglas’ speech to our current confluences of viral and racial pandemics.

 Daveed Diggs asks: “What to My People is the Fourth of July … 

I read Opinion | ‘My Body Is a Confederate Monument’: Slavery …

I watched a Video of Ta-Nehisi Coats.

  Ta-Nehisi Coates Testifies About Reparations: Politics Daily …

Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose 2014 article “The Case for Reparations” in The Atlantic rekindled the debate over reparations for slavery and its legacy, testified on Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee.

I go down my to-do list of self-care: avoid contact with police, meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home–except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there are very few people about. Watch less T.V., but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear, grief, rage, remembering, honoring, and loving compassion into expression, action, and art. 

I continue to chronicle these times.

In Joy,


© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA





2 thoughts on “Writing in a Time of Peril: 7.4.2020

  1. Wise self-care choices, and my heart almost stopped at the photo of the New Orleans streetcar on St. Charles Avenue under the Live Oaks. Thank you for chronicling these times.


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