RECAFFEINATED MONDAYS: The Kind of Writer I Want to Be

It’s Monday and day whatever of the stay at home directive. You’ll have to make your own jokes because it’s just not funny anymore.

Let us out. Carefully, but let us out.

I’ve already told you how I feel about that here and here.

And, spare me the snarks about how much we all said we were going to get done that we didn’t get done. I came to a realization fairly early on that, while I was going to try to make some progress, I wasn’t going to guilt myself into things that I had to accomplish.

Translation: I have not written the great American novel.

Alternate translation: I have not lost 30 lbs. To my credit, I’ve also not gained during this time. I consider that a win.

So, no earth-shattering accomplishments, I’ve also not wasted this time.

I’ve taken some online classes in theater and production management. I’ve taken some classes and done some research in how to do online Santa visits.

I have my fingers crossed that the Santa season will be back to normal. But if not, I’ll do some online visits and hopefully do the stage performances at the amusement park. I won’t wear a mask as Santa. I just won’t.

I digress.

Available at Mugshots (click the pic)

And, I have plans to take Memorial Day weekend (since the beaches and amusement parks in Virginia remain closed) to completely redo my home office.

I mean completely. Take everything out, redo the shelves and the walls. And put everything back where it started out.

True story: the closest the wife and I ever came to divorce was that one time, pre-children, that we decided to rearrange the furniture in our two-bedroom apartment in Arlington. Eight hours, and lots of stares, later, we put it back in the exact same spot.

That’s not what I plan to do with my office.

Again, I digress.

I was prompted, in part, to write this post because of a question I was asked the other night.

The Richmond theater community hosted an online happy hour via Zoom. We’re all feeling the crunch of having shows and opportunities canceled. So, this was a good time to check in with everyone.

We were asked about one decision we’d made in our lives that might have changed the direction of our lives and our careers.

Just one? This is the stuff that nightmares, or sleepless nights are made of.

I mean, are we talking about that stupid thing I did when I was a junior in high school? Or do we need to go back further?

But no, I told them about a job interview I had just out of college. I had studied speech communications (our university did not yet have broadcasting). So, after moving home I interviewed for a reporter position with a television station in a nearby city.

I was told by the interviewer that they couldn’t hire me for that position. Then he asked me if I had any interest in being a camera operator.

I said no. They would have trained me and I said no.

It’s that damned left turn in Albuquerque all over again.

But I can’t go back and change that.

Long term readers, and you know you should be, will recall that I was in my early fifties when I decided it was okay to stop saying I wanted to be a writer and actually just say “I am a writer.”

Indeed, I am a writer. Some days I’m a good one.

But was about that time that I started trying to figure out how to translate the writing into a fulltime position.

You’d think that in more than ten years I could have figured that out.

And yet, here I am.

I think I’ve said it before, and maybe even recently.

I don’t want to be a copywriter. I have been. I don’t enjoy it.

And I’m not going to be a successful freelance blogger.

That’s okay.

Instead, I want to focus on scripts, short stories, and a whole stack of novels that I’ve worked on over the years.

Along the way, I’ll supplement that work with the day job, the theater work, and eventually the amusement park. And that’s okay.

In spite of all the classes that continue to promise me that I can write a book in 100 days, or that I can make a six figure income, if only I take their class for the low, low, low price of $499 (honestly, I was getting one pitch for a class costing $5,000), this is not what I want to do.

I mean, it’s not that I just don’t want to spend the money. I don’t want to do that type of writing.

I’ve known this for a while. I may have written about it here (I should probably read my own posts). But it helps to articulate it every now and again.

It’s okay if I don’t get rich from my writing. That’s not why I do it.

Of course, if I’d only used the last eight weeks to write that Great American Novel this would be a different post.


If this is to be our end, then I would have them make such an end, as to be worthy of remembrance.

King Theoden, The Two Towers

I could make some joke about how many years we’ve been in quarantine which might or might not be funny. Or, I could actually count the days which would definitely be depressing.

Enough is enough.

Don’t quote models to me. They’ve pretty much all been flawed.

Don’t neglect the fact that you told us at the beginning that we just needed fourteen days to flatten the curve.

Let us out. At risk populations and those in fear can stay inside. The rest of us need to get this economy back to work.

Before it’s too late.

I’ve never thought Americans were a fearful people.

The American Revolution, two World Wars…disco…we braved it all.

We crossed oceans, and mountains, and flooding rivers.

We faced the wilderness, and starvation, and people who wanted to kill us because they could.

In the American Revolution, families melted down their pewter serving ware to make ammunition.

In the 20th Century we planted victory gardens.

Now we stress over the fact that we’ve watched everything on Netflix and DoorDash forgot our fries.

We’ve forgotten how to fight back. We’ve allowed ourselves to be manipulated by the media and by the people who would be our rulers.

We let this happen. We can’t let it continue.

Consider that just last week the Mayor of New York City said that large religious gatherings of Jews would be rounded up.

What the actual (fill in the blank)?

Here’s the deal. The virus is never going away. It’s just not. It will be around in some form or another, for like ever.

No matter how long we stay inside.

We have to get out.

Call it whatever kind of privilege you like, but one of the ways I manage my arthritis is by spending time in the pool. My gym closed two months ago. I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon after taking a break from yard work because I just couldn’t continue.

Don’t send me your arthritis remedies in the comments. I know what works for me.

And don’t ask about the fact that I have adult children who aren’t helping me in the yard unless I beg. That’s another post and they won’t read that one either.

It’s time.

If you’re scared. If your immune system is compromised. If for any reason you don’t want us to open up, then stay home.

I saw the article some of you were posting from the columnist I usually avoid reading. He said he doesn’t want to die because someone does something stupid. Then stay home.

I don’t think going out is stupid. I think it’s time.

If the early settlers had thought sailing across the ocean in a rowboat made of our popsicle sticks was stupid, we’d all be speaking English today…on the other side of the ocean.

We can do it slowly. We can do it with continued social distancing measures.

But we can’t stay inside much longer.

Open the beaches. Open the parks. Open the stores. Open the restaurants.

Sure, insist that for the first few weeks, capacity is limited.

Insist that masks be worn in certain businesses.

I get that the columnist mentioned above doesn’t want to die because someone does something stupid. Honestly, if that’s your attitude you can never leave your house again, because, virus or not, they’re out there.

But I don’t want to die on the couch surfing Netflix.

True story: Years ago when my mother-in-law was in rehab following hip surgery, my older son and I sat in the waiting area where they daily wheeled the residents who were beyond communicating.

I told my son that he was never to let me get like that, but instead was to take me out back and shoot me.

My wife asked why I asked him instead of her.

Easy, because I know he’ll do it.

And maybe then he’ll notice the yard needs to be mowed.

Cover Photo by Stefan Spassov on Unsplash