Siege Diaries 9/1/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Am I working to make my soul stronger than any Fortune?

What this is talking about is a hot word right now: resilience. I will resist the urge to do any kind of comparative analysis right now, because my resilience is a very different thing than that of, say, a Holocaust survivor. That fact does not negate the use of the concept to a relatively much more privileged life such as mine. The fact is that cultivating resiliency can help deal with the blows of Fortune. Or, in terms I used earlier during the pandemic, learning to want what I have and to live the emotions that generates.

The next couple of weeks, as I look at them, will feature the return of some very significant things I have not done in a year and a half. I’ll be going to an in-person SCA event, and I will have, starting tomorrow, two and a half weeks where I’ll be attending four (possibly five) concerts plus a dramatic performance with music. There will be travel, too. This is likely all going to be deeply emotional for me. I have also lined up other concerts and events for the next nine months or so. I am, at this point, unsure what will happen with those plans–but I’ve also been through this before. So my goal is to, at each point in these next months, enjoy what I have at any particular moment–but also to prepare my soul for the worst-case scenario as well.

The “last minute” scroll is largely painted (I will finish the highlighting on it tomorrow, and add the text. Likewise, the tunic is completely assembled, and I’m working on finishing the seams. I am very, very happy with the way it’s turned out.

Today’s mail brought an unexpected early arrival: the vintage Soviet watch, ordered from Ukraine. Based on what the website said (and past experience ordering from Ukraine), I was not expecting it for at least a month more. I was quite amused at how thoroughly well packed it was –no less than seven separate layers of cardboard and bubble wrap. The one challenge, however, is getting a band for it, as it has a “fixed lug” — meaning rather than pins to attach the band, there’s a fixed bracket. I have ordered bands from Germany. In the meantime, I’ve cannibalized an old watchband for a buckle and am cobbling together a temporary solution so I can wear it. I wound it up and it’s keeping excellent time.

Tomorrow is the Kreutzer Sonata dramatic/music performance at the Shaw Festival. It’s meant to highlight the Beethoven work, then the Tolstoy novella that shares its name, and then finally the Janacek string quartet (which I heard in full last week) that was inspired by the Tolstoy work. I decided to read the novella, which is about a man who kills his wife out of jealousy at a possible affair, but who more or less does so after becoming completely disillusioned with romantic love and the role of women–who he sees as enslaved by society to be, except when bearing children, completely consumed by the need to attract men. Tolstoy, in later life, became rather ascetic and convinced that celibacy was the only solution to life’s woes. The work is interesting just from a standpoint of watching how this man more or less convinces himself he’s completely miserable, including introducing his wife to the man he expects will start an affair with her. It’s a disturbing story–particularly because Tolstoy is best known for stories where romantic love figures so prominently–but honestly, I can see this Tolstoy hiding in War and Peace.

The half day off will also kick off an extended long weekend. I’ve booked mini golf for us early in the afternoon on Friday, and we’ll do the driving range after that.