Volume 12 • Number 2 • Fall - Winter 2020

Alice Lowe

Pizza on Thursday, or, the isness of what is

We write about the pandemic, our observations, impressions, experiences, and we write about writing about the pandemic (we swore at the beginning that we wouldn’t—everyone else is or will, I don’t need to add my voice to the chorus) but another month goes by, and another … and we write, because we have something to say, because we’re writers, because this is what is, like the fact that for more than twenty years my husband and I have eaten take-out pizza on Friday night, rarely missing a week; we used to get two slices each from Bronx Pizza, a neighborhood institution since 1997, the carnivore spouse opting for pepperoni or sausage while I remain faithful to the purity of plain cheese, but now, since Covid-19, they sell only whole pies from the outside pick-up window, so we order half meat, half cheese, but with leftovers we’ve cut back to every other week, and we’ve switched to Thursdays, which aren’t as busy as Fridays—we adapt to “the isness of what is,” which is what I wrote in orange marker on my dry-erase board when I read it in Vivian Gornick’s Unfinished Business, prescient of the times we’re in, I thought, and if the book were mine I’d have underlined it, put an asterisk in the margin, attached a post-it to the page, but this was a library book, which is still here—my library isn’t yet taking returns—but I don’t want to reread it (ironically—a book about rereading), at least not now; I’d like to find that reference but can’t recall if it was in the chapter about Elizabeth Bowen or Natalia Ginzburg or Colette, so I flip through the pages, glancing at the top half of every right-hand page, which is where I kind of remember seeing it, though sometimes I’m wrong, like now, so the quote stands alone, as perhaps it should—this is the isness of what is.

Alice Lowe writes about life, literature, food and family in San Diego CA. Recent essays appear or are forthcoming in South 85, Eclectica, JMWW, Gold Man, and Hobart. She’s had notables in the Best American Essays and nominations for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net. Alice posts at