Pop passed away a year ago today. I guess I am glad that he did not make it to see this pandemic. He would surely have died from it. Perhaps, comparatively speaking, it would have been equally painful, but I do not think so. He would have ended up in worse shape from COVID-19 than he did from renal failure. At least he got hospice and fentanyl for his transition from this life out of renal failure. I would not have been able to be with my dad as he transitioned if he had COVID-19, either, so I am glad that he did not get to see this pandemic of 2019-2020, even though he would have been both intensely interested and equally frightened by it. According to my religious beliefs, Pop knows what is going on, anyway. He does not, however, have to worry about dying from it, so that is a plus. The Lord took Pop home just in time.
Other news… I was accepted to Southern New Hampshire University’s Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing Program last Friday. Old news, but worth repeating. If it turns out to be “my thing”, so to speak, then I will attempt to change my major and gain admission to a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program — a terminal degree with a certification — and begin writing either to publish or to teach online university classes. I am more interested in getting my feet wet right now, though, but I have been assured that changing my major at a later time is a possibility as long as I am accepted to the new program of study. That is in the future, though. As I said, I want to get my feet wet first. I took two undergraduate creative writing classes long ago, one introductory and one advanced, and aced both of them. A man by the name of Wilbur Wood taught both and he was quite a fellow. Wilbur and I did not always see eye to eye, but we enjoyed each other in these classes and the jabs flew, of course. I remained in contact with him for quite a while after I was done taking classes from him, but lost that contact somewhere in the transition from graduating with my dual Bachelor of Science degrees and entering a Master of Science program at another university. Wilbur made me a better writer and got me interested in writing at a time when I was having an immense and overwhelming amount of trouble with my PTSD. I was fairly fresh out of the military, so it was a time ripe with raw emotion, thought, and experience to write about. Write about it, I did, but only to a point. There was a point past which I could no longer express myself in words. That was probably good, because now, even though I could express only some of it in words, there are very few whom I trust enough to express those words to. I would have trusted Wilbur, but only after we had been in contact after the classes were over. Or perhaps it has just taken me this long, as I suspect, to find the words and progress a bit in my illness in order to find words that are still inadequate, yet give an idea of what went on. No words can describe the mental aspect of the trauma. I still do not have words for that. I am not sure that any language on earth possesses such words or expressions. I sincerely hope that they do not, for they would not be words that one could utter. They would be words and phrases that would destroy minds.
I applied a vinyl sticker to the back windshield of my truck this morning. It is an image of the state of Montana with the word “STRONG” cut out in the lower right-hand portion. It stands for “Montana Strong”, and is a decal only sold for fund-raising purposes during emergencies by a company called Hometana out of Missoula, Montana. I ordered this decal both to support the fund-raising cause and to show that I am a proud, strong Montanan. It was $3, so it will not break the bank if you, too, want to get one and help this home-grown business get the word out and stay in business. Small businesses are going to be a mass casualty of this pandemic as well as human lives if we do not pitch in and help them stay alive. We need our small businesses. Truly. Hometana is also selling Montana Strong t-shirts for the fund-raising effort. I bought one of those, too. Think about supporting your small businesses any way you can. Not only will you be doing something for your local economy, you will literally be helping your real neighbors out. I am not against the box stores and chain stores, however our small businesses are the heart and soul of our economic and entrepreneurial spirit of creativity in the world. Do what you love and love what you do — that is what I believe in, and to me, that is the American dream. If your work can be your play and your play your work, then you have much more than worldly success. That is exactly why I am going to pursue this M.A. in English and Creative Writing. If there is any way that you can help, help your local businesses stay alive. Please. Wherever you are in the world. They need you. The world needs you.
This pandemic is a test of the human spirit, and I believe that the human spirit is stronger than any disease that can come our way. It is stronger than any hardship we may face. It is stronger than any disaster that may befall us. It is stronger because we have each other, and though we cannot hug and shake hands and be near each other physically right now due to this virus, our spirits can unite as one. So let us do it!