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A Future in Doubt

Added: Sunday, January 8th 2023 at 12:37pm by epiphanettes

I spoke with my French half-sister recently. Isabelle and Edmond, her husband of 60 years, lived in a Parisian apartment for almost five decades until they realized in 2020 that, at their respective ages, Covid presented a serious threat. They moved to Luchon, a small city in the Pyrenees mountains. Isa creates music and Edmond runs an art gallery.

I was a kid when my parents decided to come to America. Isa and Florence, my other half=sister, opted to remain in France with their father, an Algerian doctor and filmmaker.

Isa’s life has been devoted to her art. She was a professor at the Paris Conservatory for most of her life and still regularly creates orchestral pieces that are performed internationally.  She is also a very big fish in a small pond, perhaps the best-known composer of children’s operas in the Western world.

I last saw her in Paris just before Covid struck. We ate an excellent meal in a small neighborhood restaurant and spoke of her children, her health, my health, my books, and her latest opera which was to be performed in Lausanne.

Isa is a few years older than me and a force of nature. She walks everywhere (I don’t think she ever got a driver’s license), neither smokes nor drinks, and climbs four flights of stairs two or three times daily (the elevator in her building does not work.) She is, simply put, indefatigable, practicing the piano two or three hours a day and leading an active social life.

The thing is, I’ve spent hardly any time with her. I came to the States when I was a kid, and she does not like to fly and so never visited. I’d see her for a day or two whenever I went to France and we’d catch up—who was where and why.

Isa and I believe that the world has largely lost what small degree of civility it had a few years ago. The nitwits, the disingenuous, the duplicitous and hypocritical have made such headways that they now tear at the fabric of society. In France, Isa blames Macron and other politicians. Here, I blame Trump and his zombie followers. All strive to reduce our world to the lowest common denominator, even as we are knee-deep mired in self-centered social media.

Isa has always been a positive realist who sees life as an opportunity to appreciate what was given her. She rarely complains about her lot. I am more negative and consider life to be a random collection of deeds and events. Additionally, I believe in Tennyson’s epiphany that ‘nature is red of tooth and claw.’ We are in never-ending struggles to come out on top, emotionally, mentally, and morally. Since we are not very smart, and egocentric to boot (a bad combination of shortcomings), we are constantly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and satisfied with small accomplishments.

I believe we live too long and have proven to be poor stewards of what has been given us. Sadly, we leave behind chaos for the next generation, and I am not sure if posterity will find solutions or cause further harm. Sadly, Isa agrees.


User Comments

I think that Death is merely taught.

But how its taught is the real problem.

It IS an ongoing problem. What child merely 10 years old hasn't already been taught that one's expiring necessarily comes?

It's too bad you didn't get to grow up with your sister. She sounds like a talented individual. 

I wish you visited here more often as I really enjoy your way with words. Once I discovered, by reading past blogs, you were an author, I hied myself forthwith to (where else?) Amazon where I spent quite some time reading all the "Look Inside" bits that were available. You write beautifully with an attention to character that I find appealing. You build them carefully and with detail, something that is missisng from most of the stuff I read. I will, at first opportunity, be buying some of your books. It will have wait until the stars, planets, and social security checks align, but it will happen.


Thanks for the kind words! Let me know what you think after reading my books!  Thanks again, and stay healthy!

Is there any one in particular you think I should start with?

I’ve now read L’Amerique and Thirst. Including the “about the author” but from the latter. That last line: “I think I’m pretty good.” I concur.

Thank you!  I'm so glad you enjoyed the books!  I've got a couple more on the way and will stay in touch with you for when they get published. And thanks for letting me know you likee the writing!

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