We recently published Steven Genise’s thoughtful “An Abridged List of Small Gratitudes Heading into Month Five.”

Here, we ask him two questions about his piece:


1) What I love about this piece is that the gratitudes, while small, hint at largeness. Was it hard to leave unsaid the large things and let the small things do the speaking?

It’s not that it was hard to leave the large things unsaid, but that it was necessary.  The large gratitudes—that I am here, that my family is well, et cetera—draw attention to the reality that we’re only allowed those things because of privilege and luck.  Not because of formal action, but in spite of it.  The systemic issues in our society are the result of policy choices, and so to describe the large gratitudes would mean not reveling in those things, but instead being reminded of the hundreds of thousands that CAN’T find gratitude there because they’ve been intentionally left behind.
The small gratitudes, though, are a practice.  Not everyone has a little yard with a little patch of sunlight, but my hope is that in reading the piece, they can find those small things in their own life for which they’re grateful, and in doing so find some peace from the larger problems around us, in the face of which we feel increasingly little agency.

2) What would be your perfect pandemic breakfast, if not bacon and eggs?

Just before the pandemic, my wife and I went on our honeymoon to New Zealand where, much to my wife’s dismay, I acquired a taste for Marmite on toast. It has been my true go-to pandemic breakfast; I only hope that the very, shall we say, UNIQUE taste of Marmite doesn’t become permanently associated with this year.