A Year of Wonders


Covid Selfie

I am borrowing from the title of Geraldine Brooks’s novel of the Black Plague, Year of Wonders. It’s been that kind of year, worried about friends and family, seeing people lose their jobs, or risk their lives doing their jobs. Everything is out of balance, even with the ecosystem in our back yard.

It’s also a year that marks the achievement of a lifelong goal. I have finally earned my Ph.D. in English, writing about the connections between American women writers and women photographers in the early twentieth century. One of the women writers I’ve studied is Katherine Anne Porter, who may be one of the few novelists who has included the Spanish Flu of 1918 in her novella, Pale Horse, Pale Rider, after she, herself, barely survived that plague. Lit Hub even features a short video clip from 1973 featuring an 83-year-old Porter describing her experience.

We can or will eventually relate to her words at the end of Pale Horse, Pale Rider: “[N]o more plague, only the dazed silence…noiseless houses with the shades drawn, empty streets, the dead cold light of tomorrow.”