Get a cup of coffee. I may go on for a while. I am now sure exactly where to begin. I am sitting here in my apartment, once again “in lockdown”. My vision is blurry, off and on. Today is the birthday of my good friend Andrea. If I were in Nice, I would try to do something special for her birthday, but restaurants are closed, except for delivery or take-away. I would find a way.
A couple of problems, I don’t have a good doctor. And, my health is not good. But I don’t want to sit here and have a pity party for myself. Yet, if I don’t do it, there is no one to warn me, watch me, or tell me what to do. I am really on my own. The virus is bad outside. France is on alert – terrorist attacks and deaths from the virus. So, I must find a way to weather this storm. How? What are my options? Well, I am not in the mood to die. But I will admit I am very discouraged. And I am a member of several groups on Facebook, and so are a LOT of people. So, if I were to give myself a pep talk, what would I say?
Refocus! Find something to wrap your mind around. What? I don’t know. Think! I saved this post from last night because it spoke to me.
“My grandmother once gave me a tip:
In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make a soup.
You are advancing step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Rest a little.
Take another step.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.”
– Elena Mikhalkova
So, for now, I will putter around the apartment. Wash a load of clothes. Write an email. Thaw some fish. Post some thoughts of my own. Post some thoughts of others.
Here are some other interesting thoughts of others.
Legendary Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company begs for help in pandemic
The landmark store has seen sales fall 80% since March, and with a new lockdown expected has asked for orders from those who can afford it
‘We are struggling, trying to see a way forward’ … Shakespeare and Company.
One of the world’s most iconic bookshops, Shakespeare and Company, has appealed to its customers for help as it is struggling, with sales that are down almost 80% since March.
The celebrated Parisian bookstore told readers on Wednesday that it was facing “hard times” as the Covid-19 pandemic keeps customers away. France is expected to impose a new four-week national lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to surge; large swathes of the country, including Paris, are already under a night-time curfew.
“Like many independent businesses, we are struggling, trying to see a way forward during this time when we’ve been operating at a loss,” said the shop in an email to customers, adding that it would be “especially grateful for new website orders from those of you with the means and interest to do so”.
Photograph: Eamonn McCabe/The Guardian
First opened by Sylvia Beach in 1919, the Parisian institution was frequented by writers including F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, TS Eliot and James Joyce in the early 20th century. George Whitman opened today’s version of the shop in 1951, with James Baldwin, Lawrence Durrell, Allen Ginsberg and Anaïs Nin among its later visitors. Whitman envisaged the shop as a “socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore”: writers are invited to sleep for free among the shelves in exchange for a few hours helping out, and more than 30,000 of the guests, named “tumbleweeds” by Whitman, have stayed since the store opened.
“We’re not closing our doors, but we’ve gone through all of our savings,” Whitman’s daughter, Sylvia Whitman, told the Guardian. “We are 80% down since the beginning of the first wave. We’ve now gone through all of the bookshop savings, which we were lucky to build up, and we have also been making use of the support from the government, and especially the furlough scheme. But it doesn’t cover everything, and we’ve delayed quite a lot of rent that we have.”
The store was closed for two months during France’s first lockdown, and did not sell books online over that period on advice from trade body the Syndicat de la librairie française. Whitman and staff are now waiting for the latest ruling from the French government, expected on Wednesday, and are preparing for a second closure.
“Right now our cafe and bookshop is open, but it’s looking like we will have to close both because bookshops are considered non-essential,” Whitman said. “The one big difference is that we’re adamant this time we’re going to be ready to keep the website open.”
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