September 11, 2018 – ROSH HASHANAH
I had a panic attack last night with my dad. My inner Shofar was crying. I was on the floor immobilized and lost voluntary movement. And I cursed and disrespected my dad. I gained voluntary control of my body as I talked to my sponsor over the course of an hour. And then I wept and felt his pain and my dad’s pain and allowed myself to feel my own… I had skipped breakfast for the last 3 days in a row, had been getting about 5 1/2 hrs of sleep a night for the last 4 days, and hadn’t listened to Chassidic lectures for the last 2 days.
My neshamah was weakening.
I needed a reminder of God’s love, and to remember to be grateful for where I have come as a person with significant autism and learning disabilities, so much so that my mom and dad were skeptical that I would ever be able to get a bar mitzvah or go to college.
I am now 3 years sober by the grace of God. I am in my senior year at Pitzer. I was asked last week by the Chabad rabbi in Claremont to lead the shofar today. I have a dinner date with a girl who is in two of my classes, Psychology of Mindfulness and Science of Life-Changing Events.
Can I apply the knowledge from these classes to my life? And also be mindful of my own psychology and grateful for the events that have changed life? Can I be mindful of the science that God is with me here right now?
Can I blow the shofar of love and empathy? And carry it on for this moment and the next?
Los Angeles native Joshua Corwin is an emerging poet and a recent graduate from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, where he earned a B. A. in Mathematics and a minor in Philosophy. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2019, his work can be found in Al-Khemia Poetica, Spectrum Publishing Vol. 20 and Cento – Special Issue, Rattle Poetry’s Rattlecast #9, #10, #13, #14, #16, and one forthcoming (April 2020) in poeticdiversity. Corwin’s debut poetry collection, Becoming Vulnerable, details his experience with autism, addiction, sobriety and spirituality; it is coming soon.
Collaborating with The Miracle Project, Corwin is developing poetry reading, writing and performance classes for individuals of all abilities (neurodiverse and neurotypical), including those with autism and recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. He is the editor-in-chief of the cento-only online publication Centopede. Corwin writes to honor his grandpa, Mert, whose last words to him were: “Don’t ever stop writing.”