“Upheaval” is just one possible name for a novel one could write about the events of 2020 to date. (We could have said the same back in April, for that matter, but 2020 continues not to disappoint.) I know we always say it about the times we’re living in, but these are strange, confusing, disorienting times.

More to the point, our entire working situation has been thrown into upheaval (again), and that’s why I missed my quickie yesterday. (We’re giving up on full-time face-to-face learning for all students in favor of a hybrid model.) Emergency meetings. Students and parents in a panic. Heck, teachers in a panic. Dogs and cats living together.

Bill Murray Reaction GIF
The best part of this clip might just be Ernie Hudson trying not to break character while Bill Murray riffs.

So I come to you this morning, and I vow to come again this evening.

Apropos of nothing at all, yesterday marking the end of “normality” in our school happened to line up with me closing the book on my latest handwritten journal. (I (try to) write about three pages every morning during the week by hand. I do this when I first arrive at work, because if my wife catches me about it at home, she teasingly remarks “dear Diary” as she walks past with her coffee, which as a man, I cannot abide.) Where, at one time in my life, I would have ascribed some cosmic significance to this unexpected alignment, I am now happy to declare it a coincidence and move on.

I tried to think of an artful way to show the end of the one and the beginning of the other, and, predictably, failed. Bonus, though: you do get to see my cluttered desktop and the bottom of my Death Star holo-lamp.

It’s still interesting, though, to ponder the symbolic possibilities of such things. Filling out the final pages of one journal and writing anew on the pristine pages of a fresh one has that lovely poetic feel of “old things finished” and “new things begun” that any writer worth his salt would do well to put a fine point on if they were writing such a thing into a novel. (Though why the novel would focus on a person’s journal, and specifically on finishing one journal and starting a new one, is a head-scratcher.)

I mention it only because it really is strange that these two things should align. By all accounts I should have finished this journal weeks ago, but for the fact that — as regular readers may have surmised — I lost a bit of gumption over the summer and neglected the daily write more than was reasonable. Further, I was certain that our schools would make this change earlier than we have.

So did the universe steer me to this moment, where pen and paper and pedagogy (yeah okay that was a stretch) collided?

No. The universe has better things to do, and certainly doesn’t care about us, and for that matter, is not conscious. These things just happen.

On a Thursday, no less.

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