New Reality

It’s Friday.

They say the first five days after the weekend are the hardest.

Whoever they are.

They also say we’re in a new normal. I don’t accept that.

After 47 years of house arrest this is not normal.

I am, however, resolved to accept that this might be the new reality.

And, I don’t like it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve settled into a routine. Having the gym reopen helped with that.

But this is not sustainable.

I miss the amusement park. I miss theater. I miss church.

They’ll all come back. The question is when and how?

I don’t deal well with unknowns. I don’t like surprises.

That’s why when Halloween comes around, I’m better at being a monster than a haunted house patron. I do not like to be startled. For any reason.

Halloween is another unknown this year. I mean, even if we’re back it will never be the same again.

Speaking of back, school districts are trying to figure out how to open, or not open school this fall. Here in my home county, school is supposed to open on September 8. Even with my problems earlier in the week with identifying the days, I know that’s less than two months.

From the beginning I’ve been in the reopen camp. I still don’t understand how we went from 15 days to flatten the curve to 15 years (give or take a few months) of “you can never go anywhere again.”

Available at Mugshots
(click the pic)

But I just don’t know about school.

We don’t have school-age children, but I’m married to a teacher. She’s spending her summer “off” taking classes about distance learning and how to make that beneficial for both students and teachers.

I know there are some who think we should just open up with social distancing. But that raises so many more questions.

Not the least of which is how are you going to keep the bathrooms stocked with soap and towels.

Plus, there’s just no way that a teacher (with or without an assistant) can be expected to have a room of 25 kindergarten age children keep their masks on.

If you think I’m wrong about that, you’ve obviously never met a child.

These are hard times. Heck you got all the emails…challenging times, difficult times, unprecedented times…one might hope that thesaurus sales have soared. One might also be wrong.

But even with the struggles, most of us still have it pretty good based on world standards. And really in terms of pandemic standards.

No one is rolling a cart through the streets yelling “bring out yer dead.”

The Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918 came on the heels of World War I. As I was thinking about writing this, I thought of the thousands who were affected by nerve gas on the battlefields.

My grandfather was one. You know that I tell his story in my stage play Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy. He lost a lung and suffered for the rest of his life.

But I wonder if there are statistics of those whose respiratory systems were already compromised who fell victim to the flu epidemic. Surely someone out there has studied that.

My grandmother on the other side of the family had the flu, lost a child on Saturday, delivered a child on Wednesday (my Uncle who survived), and lost another child the following Saturday.

We’re complaining because we’ve watched everything on Netflix.

These are hard times. These are challenging times. These are $$%@$&*@# times.

But we will get through them.

Things may not be the same when this is all over. We may not be the same.

If we recognize this as an opportunity to do things better, to be better people, then that’s a good thing.

Let’s give it a try.

We can start on Monday.


From Whence Cometh My Writing Inspiration?

The New River, Giles County, Virginia

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

It’s true. I re-watched The Sound of Music last weekend, even before Disney+ recommended it after we finished Hamilton.

It was one of the first movies I remember seeing in the theater. My neighbors took me. We had to drive an hour to a neighboring city to see it.

The other movie I remember seeing early one was the one time I remember my Dad going with us to the movies. We saw Jimmy Stewart in Shenandoah. I need to watch that again.

Family legend has it that I also saw How the West Was Won when I was just a few months old. Then, in true pioneer fashion, we apparently drove home from Norfolk to Southwest Virginia in a major snowstorm.

I may be making that up, but that’s how I remember the story.

I grew up in the mountains.

As a child, and even as a young adult, I don’t think I appreciated the absolute beauty of my home in the New River Valley.

Now every time I go back, I am full of wonder when I think “I got to grow up here.”

For reasons I can’t quite explain, I’ve always felt more drawn to the ocean than the mountains.

My Aunt, who grew up in Southwest Virginia, but as an adult always felt the need to live on the coast, told me that I’m drawn to the water because I was born under the Cancer sign.

I don’t really follow astrology, but I am known to be crabby on occasion, and I’ve actually survived cancer, so there’s that.

What was I writing about?

Oh yeah, I started out to talk about where I get my writing inspiration.

Well, it comes from the mountains, from the oceans, and sometimes from a cup of coffee…or six.

I know the experts tell you that writers should not talk about writing, but should just write.

You know, show, don’t tell.

But, a lot of time, we end up talking about writer’s block.

The older I get, and the more I write, I don’t think writer’s block is really a thing.

True story, I could sit at a keyboard and write solidly for hours.

The challenge, the block if you will, comes in trying to write something worthwhile, or in choosing a particular subject about which to write.

That’s why I don’t see myself as a copywriter. I’m just not inspired, if you will.

But I’ll always have something to talk about. Even though the draft of my (current) novel project is titled Not Much to Talk About.

That’s a working title and it could be that if I actually stick with it the first review in The New York Times will say “What does he mean? He talks too much.”

A boy can dream. In fact, a boy can be inspired.

I’m inspired by the mountains, by the beaches, and yes, by movies.

And, sometimes I write an inspiring blog post.

It may or may not be this one.