53. Radio silence
June 4th, 2022

Collected enthusiasms, September 2021 – Present
(File under: sci-fi, cereal, seasons)

Recently, my body has been behaving like, pardon my French, a real rascal.

Since September 2021 I’ve been trudging through a gauntlet of diagnoses, getting scanned, shocked, and stuck with needles, in a variety of beige rooms. At one point I'm convinced I had enough blood drawn to fill a punch bowl. There hasn't been any bad news, but there hasn't been much good news, either—just a lot of chronic pain, sleepless nights, and excuses to use the word phlebotomist.

It's been miserable! And isolating! As if two years and change of miserable isolation wasn't enough already. Undiagnosed chronic pain is a real piece of work—it inserts itself like a dismal prefix before every thought, and refocuses all your energy on late-night catastrophizing. Combine this with living alone in a city you moved to 10 days before the world shut down, a city where you can count the number of people you know on one hand, and you're close to filling up the world's most depressing bingo card.

Unsurprisingly, enthusiasm has been thin on the ground. In this newsletter's abrupt hiatus, I gravitated exclusively toward things that felt familiar or consolatory, and I didn't feel compelled to share them. What was there to be enthusiastic about? But these emails (which began a month into the pandemic!) have always been about coping in some way—with grief, with America, with lockdown— and enthusiasm often came from simply writing, regardless of what I was writing about. So, hello again. Here's a few things that I relied on these past nine months.

Dept. of Enthusiasm is a monthly email from me, Jez Burrows. You can read some past issues, or sign up below.