Emily Dickinson lived much of her life isolated in a single room, and I’ve found her poetry coming to me a lot this year. Though her isolation was voluntary, I doubt it was easy. Her room overlooked a cemetery, and many of her poems are focused on death.

As the winter of 2020 approached, I might have expected one of those poems to keep floating to mind, but instead it was her writing on hope: “’Hope’ is the thing with feathers,” it begins, “/ That perches in the soul / And sings the song without the words / And never…

Last year I pledged to give the majority of my wealth back to the society that helped generate it, to do it thoughtfully, to get started soon, and to keep at it until the safe is empty. There’s no question in my mind that anyone’s personal wealth is the product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others.

Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror. Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking…

MacKenzie Scott

Mom, writer, advocate.

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