i took a magnificent nap today, the sort of nap one idealizes in attempting relaxation for the rest of one's life. the relaxation was not complete, but it was winning in its specificity: the little cat trilled a greeting at the hem of my blanket and crawled beneath it to prawn, snoring, against my stomach (reaching out to place his paw across my wrist in his sleep), i got to hear joe clatter and bang his way through bolognese in the kitchen (for the first time in a decade?) as i fell away from my book, and i did not have a jolting pandemic dream. i have decided to pretend that i am at a big house with my family for the next few days and so far it is just as therapeutic as i'd hoped it would be. the doomsday(?) preachers in union square were unusually equivocal this afternoon: "if you're okay with people lying to you...that's fine!"


J and O, the neighbors on the other side of the door to our stairwell, have kept a low profile since the before times. we didn't bump into each other so often then anyway, but since march i could count our meetings on one hand, though if you stand in a certain corner of either of our kitchens you should almost certainly be wearing pants. J is also a writer and has worked from home for many years; when we crossed paths in front of our bodega a month ago i mentioned how much i'd loved a piece he'd had in the best american travel writing. he thanked me for reading it and asked about how my work was going; i told him i'd been in a steady and supportive but maybe a bit opiate freelancing cul de sac for most of 2020. give me six pitches, stick a note on my door and i'll put it in front of the right people, he said — he's a decade and change older than i am and a writer at large for a fantastic magazine — and i thought that was a thing i would put together as a reward for hacking through the rest of this year's work. i ran into him again monday; he lacked his/my half-dozen, he said, and i mentioned the reward theory. it would be a reward for us to read them. wait, what i thought was small talk was J mentoring me? (i'd figured i'd always be feral.)

i taped a walter johnson postcard with a note and my email address on J's door, per his singular pitch instructions — J's a sports writer, among other things — and when he wrote, i sent him all the things today. at its best, my work is diligent, unexpected, and a bit creepy, i said in my janky formal note, and if all of this eddies down into Esoteric Ballads For The People, 2020 will have departed with a shred of honor.