whirlpooled topics unbackspaced. streams of consciousness. blurts. scribbled notes. outlined ideas. velocity waves. snatches from icloud. because self-editing is a writer’s cowardly way of preventing a reader from fucking the writer's confidence. dates don't matter. memories and moments aren't chronologically marked on the soul.

Yet

I’ve had a thought: anyone want to write a great seller? 

Here: there needs to be an oral history written. “How I’ve changed during the racial and medical pandemic.” Title: “Hindsight of 2020” (or something like that …) 

Society hasn’t evolved (an evolution? Revolution?) this drastically since the depression. You can argue the civil rights movement - that didn’t touch rural iowa like this pandemic has. I’d write it. But I’m going to write something else. Besides, I can’t write now. Every emotion is too raw. I can’t open my wounds. Now - go write the book. Go collect the essays and assemble it. Too bad Studs Terkel has left us …

Now. My reply:

I’m not the man I was in 2019. Part of my evolution was the pandemic. Like most global citizens, I pulled out of society and cocooned. Weeks went by without more than my head peeking out of my door except to collect the delivered groceries or take out the rubbish. 

My Father required constant care. Even needed to be fed. And while caring for both parents, I rediscovered silence. Solitude. Contemplation. Privacy. Prayer. Sobriety. Self-discipline. Chasity. Perspective. The proper order of things. My place among God’s creation. 

I remembered the world wasn’t about me. I learned the fragility of the ritual of religion. I learned the privilege of bending my knee and bowing my head and folding my hands in a community.

So who is this evolved Mark R. Trost:

I’m sober. Sober in temperament and consumption. I’m celibate. I’m no longer sexually promiscuous. I’m prayerful. I need an active and structured prayer life i.e. daily recitation of The Rosary. Frequent attendance at Mass. 

I am not born again. I am a devout practicing Roman Catholic. My God and The Church are paramount to me. It is not all the same to me. That’s why I’ve made the distinction. I have allegiance to The Holy See. 

I do not care what others believe, hold in disbelief, or deny. It takes all my efforts to salvage my immortal soul; I don’t give a squatted ass what other’s believe. I haven’t the time, the inclination, or the collar for evangelization.

In 2021 I no longer find representation in either political party. I am not a republican. I am not a democrat. I vote for each candidate. Not any party line. I am a citizen of the United States. I love this country. I see the privilege of citizenship. 

I’m less tolerant than I was. Not of others’ ideology but of their hypocrisy. Bring out a yardstick to measure mankind and we’ll start by seeing how long it hangs toward your knee. 

I’m not fun anymore. The earth is in crisis. I’m too intelligent to turn my intentions to self-satiation. I have the burden of wisdom. In 2020 I’ve accepted my responsibilities. 

I’m broken-hearted. I see the inhumanity of mankind. I see destruction where it ought not be. I see the loss. The losing. And the abandoned.

I’m more hopeful. I have complete confidence in my ability to create change. To urge improvement. To educate the undereducated. 

In hindsight: I don’t think things got better. I think theyve gotten worse. But I’m a better man than I was. And Ive earned the wisdom to know I’m not the man I should be. 

In 2021: I’ve learned the definition of the word YET.