A quote to remind everyone during this pandemic that there is hope

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“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

― Samwise Gamgee

Please everyone – in this time of great peril and the great unknown of what is ahead. Listen to the scientists and doctors warnings. Learn from the mistakes we have already seen. No one ever saw something of this magnitude coming, but it is here and experts say the worst is yet to come. Check on loved ones. Check on your neighbors. Practice kindness. Practice Social Distancing. Wash your hands frequently. Don’t touch your face. Cover your cough. If you experience symptoms call your doctor. Help us flatten the curve by staying home. Don’t sacrifice your safety, those you many live with, or anyone else by acting recklessly. We cannot afford it. Please find things to do around the house to pass the time. Read a book, watch a movie, check your entire pantry for expired food, write in a journal, do yoga, go for a walk in your neighborhood, listen to music,play board games, play video games, clean out your closet, and bake and cook like never before. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Remember that because right now we are inside the tunnel.

Love will win

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Words cannot come out

Even though I have no doubt

How much I love you

It’s true

I am not plagued by doubt

I’m plagued by fear

Fear of losing you

Fear of no knowing what to do

Fear because I know it’s true

That you love me and I love you

I’m startled by how quickly friendship turned to like

And like turned to love

I know people will doubt

I know they won’t believe me at all

In the past I’ve put up an enormous wall

So tall that no one could climb through

Until the day that I met you

Now I feel the love in your touch and kiss

When we aren’t together it’s that feeling I miss

I miss the way you smile

The one I would walk a mile just to see

Your beautiful eyes staring back at me

I do surrender

I do give in

Because it happened now

Despite my qualms

Love will win

…And your Love is what Lingers…

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I feel horrific and sudden pain

Shooting daggers throughout my brain

It feels as if I am absolutely insane

Except I know that I am not

So I spot my headphones

And I put them on quickly

I scroll through my music swiftly

The daggers stab me over and over again

I don’t know when

When will it end

I’ve had this condition for so long

So because nothing helps I turn on a song

And when the piano and cello starts

I immediately fall apart more

Because it’s too beautiful

So I search again for a tune

To calm me down as I stare at the disappearing moon

I find something that will soothe me

And I listen to it quietly

It relaxes my wild mind

And calms my shaken nerves

Something I think I deserve

16 years of fighting to feel not sick

If I had the magic potion to cure me

I’d drink it up quick

Instead I cope, I deal

Sometimes I wonder if any of it’s real

Then I remember that soon today

My love and I will be together and I say

Everything will be okay

Because despite the illness that rages in my mind

Despite the doctors

Despite the medication

Despite side effects

Despite indifference

Despite sweating all night

Despite the anxiety, the fear

Despite the feeling utterly lost sometimes

Despite it all

When you stroke my hand slowly with you soft finger

When you tell me sweet things and smile at me, demonstrating in many ways how much you care

When you tell me “I choose you”

When you kiss me and my heart melts

All the pain goes away

And your love is what lingers

And as long as I’m with you

Which hopefully is forever

We can forget our suffering

Our different but similar pain

And remember that

Love cures all wounds

And I feel that so deeply in my heart

Whenever you are next to me

That’s where you belong

And I hope

That’s always where you’ll be

My Poetic Defense

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My heart is full of deep, profound emotions
So immense
So intense
All I can do is furiously type on this keyboard
All I can do is remember the feeling of your hand in mind
All I can do is wait for the next time I see you
You told me things
You told me “I miss you”
You told me “You mean the world to me”
You told me “I choose you”
These things are causing my heart to implode
And then explode
Never as any man been so kind to me
Treated me with so much respect and dignity
So instead of professing all of my feelings to you
My actions are the words on this page
My emotions gauge this –
I feel that I am falling so hard I can barely stand
So here we are in my written recompense
For being afraid to tell you everything
This is my way of announcing you mean everything to me:
My poetic defense

Thoughts on The Goldfinch

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The goldfinch is the most remarkable novel I have picked up in recent memory. The daunting 771 pages made it seem like I would never finish, never know what happens to Theo and perhaps more curiously, to the painting. I thought the narration in this book was what gave it its brilliance from the start. I was immediately immersed in Theo’s world and with the turn of every page enchanted by the characters and the city of New York. Theo, and his friends (and guardian) Andy, Boris, and Hobie couldn’t have been more different but were all such key characters to the story. They came and went as the author saw fit and that was the brilliance of this novel. Just like the painting “disappeared” from the museum and then reappeared after quite a journey, people appeared and reappeared in Theo’s life, fleeting moments in a coming of age story for the ages. The loss of Theo’s mother forever haunted him and I believe it caused his downward spiral. And despite his father’s behavior that loss also stunned him. I don’t know who is to blame for the unbelievable drug use in this novel, however I believe Theo and Boris used drugs to numb their minds from reality. What that left me with was Theo’s reality. Maybe I should be incredibly disturbed by this book, but Theo’s story broke my heart and I was truly hoping that he and Pippa would have a happy ending. However, I have heard from someone wise, that sometimes people with jagged edges cut each other until they both shatter. Therefore, The was no way that they could be together and Pippa makes that point herself. This novel shocked me but also made me consider how cruel life can be. I wonder only, how Theo and his life go forward after the events that unfolded in Europe and how despite his travel and unknown status of engagement, how is Theo really feeling inside?

Review for The Art Forger

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Within minutes of opening this book, my body was floating in a different world. Having just read The Goldfinch and just seen The Wife, I was familiar with the notion of art theft, of creating art for someone because you loved them and wanted them to succeed, and unfortunately the immense pain that causes for so many. The heartbreaks that Claire experiences in this book, the betrayals by the men she falls in love with are so acutely painful, they cause me to reminisce about my broken heart stories. I believe it takes a talented author to cause such a reaction in my heart as Shapiro did with The Art Forger. Claire and Isaac, Claire and Aiden both those relationships were shown through Claire’s eyes and we see Claire’s pain. I wonder if having multiple points of view could help us to better understand the motives of Isaac and Aiden. Something else that I am not mentioning is the way art is eloquently and brilliantly described and the life of an artist, throwing her life into her work another kind of love affair. And that’s the only lover that she ends up with. Her paintings. Was it because she struck that deal with Aiden that fate caused her such great pain? What about the troubled youth she taught and their pain? I believe their pain and her pain were similar and she went there to connect with them because she felt compassion towards them. She had extremely unhealthy eating habits and sleeping, but I wonder if that sacrifice is justified in the name of art. I only wish the best for Claire. How could I wish that when people blame her for Isaac’s death and Aiden is in jail while she is free? I’m afraid it’s too complicated to answer in a few words why I identify with Claire and her journey in this novel. For Aiden and Isaac I believe that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Isaac and Aiden’s power and subsequent greed in the world of art destroyed them. Also, there are so many unresolved issues with Aiden and Isaac in this book that I don’t know where to begin. Am I a fool to leave Claire blameless? No. It is a question we have explored in this group previously that I cannot answer but leave you all to ponder, Was Claire a bad person or was she a good person who did a bad thing?