Checking In

Special Ida-Delayed Quasi Edition: a quick update and explanation of TAoN's erratic schedule lately — but still, there's a prompt!

I’m several days late with this TAoN installment, and it is going to be a short one, written quickly (sorry if that shows).

Here’s the deal.

As I occasionally mention in the newsletter, I live in New Orleans, and it has been an eventful few days. We stayed in town before the arrival of Hurricane Ida, and while we came through just fine (though it was a bit nerve-racking) we lost power Sunday morning and have been scrambling ever since. We are now safe and sound in a spot where we can get things done — such as writing and sending a newsletter — while the New Orleans power situation gets sorted.

Along the way, so many friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and relations have written to check in: to see if we were okay, if we were prepared, if we were staying or going, if we were scared.

I haven’t been great about answering all the check-ins because I was in fact floundering around trying to figure out what to do. And nobody wants the answer to “you okay?” to be “um, I don’t know yet.” We were never in any serious danger (I guess), but I just didn’t have the bandwidth to offer a full response to everyone.

So first of all deep and sincere thanks to all who reached out. Every inquiry meant a lot. I intend to get to more direct responses now that we’re temporarily settled. I am truly grateful.

Second, this experience made me think about how often we “check in” only because of bad news. I do this all the time: I’ll see word of some disaster or crisis, remember someone dear to me who might be affected, and reach out, sometimes for the first time in years. Often, of course, that person is getting lots of such reach-outs, and may be dealing with more pressing concerns.

It made me think that maybe what I should do instead is figure out a better way to “check in” with people who matter to me. I often argue that noticing and attention are about other people, about relationships, as much as they are about taking in the world. So ….

The prompt: Check in with someone you care about, who you haven’t been in touch with lately. Don’t wait for a crisis to motivate you; be proactive.

This is not to suggest that you shouldn’t check in with friends who might be in a crisis scenario! It just means to prod you (or me) to think about the “check in” in a slightly different way.

Again: my thanks to all who checked in with us. We are good! (And note to friends I need to check in on — forgive the delay, but I hope you are safe and well. More soon.)

Looking Forward

There’s a lot of fun stuff in the TAoN hopper (including new Icebreakers and Missing Words, but also other surprises) and I hope that I’m now in a position to get kinda back on schedule. I have a feeling there is also going to be more to say that results directly from current experiences; there’s certainly much to attend to! I definitely will be making an effort to make up this downtime, particularly to paid subscribers.

Meanwhile you might enjoy this “sound shot” — here’s what it sounded like in my home office Sunday late morning, as Ida’s arrival started to become pronounced. Imagine this sound continuing, and actually getting more unnerving, of and on for about 10 to 12 hours. Not ideal conditions for writing :)

Best wishes to everyone in the Ida-affected regions!

Okay that’s it!

As always, I value your feedback (suggestions, critiques, positive reinforcement, constructive insults, etc.), as well as your tips or stories or personal noticing rituals, things we need a word for, and of course your icebreakers: Or use the comments!

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All this by Rob Walker PO Box 171, 748 Mehle St., Arabi LA 70032 

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