Word on the street reports that with all of this downtime, wannabe novelists have turned to the No. 1 topic of conversation as their prompt, and already literary agents and editors are turning off at the first reference to coronavirus.
My take? Besides the fact a reader can devour only so many volumes, even if interested?
I think it’s too early to tell the story. We’re only in the opening round of this affliction, which was supposed to drop off in the face of warmer weather. Only it hasn’t. Let’s see what happens around the corner, likely the real whammer come September.
Though, as one writing buddy suggests, that first book could be the beginning of a series, if you do it right.
A buddy in Vermont reports that the nightlife in his town now equals Manhattan’s.
Here we are a full six months into the year, and the surge of record-breaking goes unabated.
Racist police brutality is unmasked nationwide, along with the violent suppression of peaceful protests and free speech.
Russian bounties on American soldiers goes unchallenged in the White House.
Wall Street is living in a disconnect with the economy in general while new Covid-19 cases and deaths soar to their highest levels yet – and promise to rocket quickly.
The widespread resistance to public health measures, and then their lifting, threatens to turns the economic hit of the earlier self-quarantining into a wasted expense. Now brace for the truly hard impact when we see what a full outbreak adds up to in costs, including lifetime chronic health problems for many survivors.
And we thought toilet paper and chicken or pork shortages were big?
Already, a wave of evictions is hitting renters who suffered from the mandatory unemployment in April and May. Where can they go? Looks like a lot of vacancies for landlords, too, not that they get any sympathy.
Here where I live, state government revenue is down 20 percent. The next budget round will be a bloodbath.
Who knows what’s going to happen to the crucial election season. National conventions? Door-to-door campaigning? Rallies?
Gee, remember the Senate’s so-called trial of Trump on impeachment charges back in February?
Oh, yes, drought or near-drought in June.
Curing my lifetime of writing headlines, I often felt I’d already seen everything. Nothing could brace me for this.
And now there’s an outbreak of rabbit Ebola, fatal in 80 percent of the cases. Yes, that’s what they’re calling it. Seriously. Wild or domestic, they’re doomed. Bunnies!
Forget the MAGA hats, it’s time for the sackcloth and ashes, friends. We need to repent and be saved. How about some true leadership, based on hard facts and courage?
Happy Independence Day, everyone.
You’ve no doubt heard cliché quips about the stress-relieving blessings of having your own garden. I want to know, compared to what? A day at the beach or in the mountains? Kicking back with a brew on a deck overlooking the river? Listening to music or dancing? Sunbathing on your own deck? Reading a book?
Maybe you’re one of the newbies who decided the year of Covid, with its upsets to the food chain, would be a good time to lay in your first home produce. Welcome, and good luck. Now, for the learning curve.
Veteran gardeners to some degree enjoy what they do, the way any obsessive does, and the activity does provide a common topic for conversation with an in-crowd, or one that’s “in” at the moment. Otherwise, it’s usually old folks looking for some diversion.
Either way, don’t consider relaxation to be among the benefits.
Here are ten reasons gardening is going to raise your blood pressure instead.
All that said, before adding guilt or shame to our list, let’s return to the amazing taste of asparagus or strawberries or real tomatoes sped straight from the garden to the plate. There’s no other way to get this. We’ve really earned it.
One of the joys of publishing ebooks is that they can be updated easily and quickly.
So I had a flash, maybe while I was in the shower, and wondered what would happen in What’s Left if Cassia’s father died of a coronavirus complication instead of an avalanche.
It was tempting until I started realizing that it would have to be an entirely different story. She couldn’t grow up, for one thing, not unless I wanted to project that into the future, up to 30 years from now. Right now, everything just a year from now’s looking fuzzy.
And it couldn’t work with the premise of her having to go back through photo negatives – we’ve been digital too long now. As for the hippie, Buddhist, or AIDS epidemic dimensions?
The very thought, though, has me looking at some of the daily news reports through fiction-oriented lenses. Who are the villains and who are the heroes? Where do you want to set this – the White House, an intensive-care unit, a multi-generational household? What focus would you take? Would it be romance, young adult, sci-fi, fantasy, children’s?
I don’t see myself getting to this anytime soon, but good luck to any of you who feel free to tackle a Covid-19 big tale. There are certainly plenty of angles to consider.
What’s the difference between a zombie and a vampire, really?
Especially in a time of Covid?
Was anyone else left wanting to tell the true believers:
Just drink the kool-aid, will you …
The Covid-19 shutdowns are reminding many of us how much of religious practice involves community interaction.
Yes, personal practice is also essential – we could easily build a list of ten examples – but it blossoms and bears fruit in our interactions.
Here are ten ways those are being impacted by coronavirus.
I do want to mention a renewed appreciation for the medieval tradition of anchorites, women who lived in isolation in the church tower itself and prayed unceasingly for the members’ well-being. These days, their writings seem especially meaningful.
OK, there’s no bingo on my list. What else am I missing?
In this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place, many of us would go stir crazy if we couldn’t get out for long walks. Seeing so many other people also out strolling – with or without their dogs – has been a bright side of our lives lately.
Where we live, a highlight of those treks has often come in checking out others’ gardens, landscaping, and flowerbeds. I don’t know about you who live in apartment complexes or high-rise developments, but I’m curious. Maybe something out on the deck, if you have one?
These days, I’m seeing a lot of raised garden beds going in. Fresh wood, reminding me of the time we were just getting started here. (Some of my earliest posts told of the reasons for raised beds when dealing with northern New England’s clay soils.) You’ve no doubt heard the stories of folks who have recently decided to grow their own food in the face of Covid-19. Maybe you’re even one of them. Part of it, of course, is a concern about breakdowns in our food-supply system or even long lines just to enter the supermarket. Another might even be boredom, as in give me something new to do. From questions we’ve been getting from neighbors and passers-by, they’re really green and in for a lot of surprises, some of them harsh disappointment but a few real treats, too.
We could see this coming when some of our favorite seed catalogs announced they were running out of supplies and would not be selling to new customers; they felt it crucial to serve their longstanding commercial growers first and foremost, followed by their devoted regulars. Fair enough, that’s long-term loyalty. At least, seasoned as we are, we had our orders well in hand by mid-February.
As you know, gardening is a staple of the merry-go-round here at the Barn, but my posts aren’t the detailed advice kind for beginners – more just a taste of the experience, no pun intended. I’m hoping many of the neophytes will discover those of you who post expertly on growing and harvesting. You’re such an encouragement, truly.
Maybe we’ll get them in for the long haul, too, when it comes to things like composting (remember, those two cute bunnies you’ve been seeing featured here are big helps on that front … plus they prompt me to weed daily, just to keep them supplied in greens, which they then convert into their little composter pellets).
And, I should note, we just installed a new colony in our beehive and are anxiously waiting to see it the queen takes hold. If all goes well, our honeybees will be tending pollen in gardens in a radius of up to five miles.
Should we warn people what a few tomato plants can lead to?