My muse is stirring! I have gone back to the start of Tying the Knot, and am actually working on it. Giant flaws, invisible to me in the darkness of writers’ block, are suddenly clear, and I am actually taking pleasure in writing. Glory Hallelujah!
Speaking of which: As has become my custom, I went with a friend yesterday to Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis for a Memorial Day ceremony that, as an honor and memorial to those who have died in military service to our country, is fiercely patriotic. The Colors are Presented, the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, the National Anthem is sung (begun in a low-enough key that the sudden break to a higher key is reachable by ordinary voices), the extremely touching song “If You’re Reading This Letter” is sung. The remarkable baritone Robert Robinson was the featured singer. He also sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and sang the verse:
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat;
Oh, be swift my soul to answer Him! Be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on.
It took my breath away. In the chaos and racket and horror of battle, to call on oneself to not only dash forward, but to be “jubilant” about it requires a rare nerve. But there we sat, the living, awed in the presence of row on row of markers over those kind of soldiers, breathing the free air given us by that kind of jubilant courage. Hallelujah indeed.
And that hymn was written by a woman.