“Halfway ‘Cross the World: Pandemic Missives”

I have barely been able to write for months.

In addition to my full-time job, I was teaching five nights a week, which is not only a matter of time, but uses much of the same creative energy as writing. Even before pandemic struck, I’d been looking forward to my teaching winding down over March and April to just one or two nights a week so I could get back to my memoirs and other writing.

Then the pandemic descended, and while my evacuation to rural Maine yielded plenty of blogging, and the uprising for Black Lives has me madly peddling listicles in anti-racism, but still the “real” writing (or so it feels most days) has lagged.

Still, there have been brief windows of inspiration, and one of those spurts of creative energy churned out the first entirely new piece of memoir that I’ve done in months, if not a couple years.

So I’m delighted to announce that my contribution to the newly emerging field of pandemic literature, “Halfway ‘Cross the World: Pandemic Missives from my Jordanian Family,” was a winner in the Sacred Essays contest of the Center for Interfaith Relations.

… Jordanians were confined to their villages to protect them from the pandemic, so the three buses down to the nearby northern cities of Jerash and Irbid wouldn’t be running. No one would be going to jobs as teachers, car mechanics, bus drivers and chauffeurs; students wouldn’t be going to university. Without jobs or classes to leave for, Faiha’s wind-scoured ridge of hilltops is quite isolated, with plenty of space between homes, lots of disinfecting high-UV sunlight, and plenty of air circulation from the wind blowing constantly across the Jordan River Valley from Israel. But they wouldn’t be doing their grocery shopping down in Jerash and Irbid, either….

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