Keeping Social Separation

Day 77 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

Sunday, May 31, 2020 – Live to Blog with No Regrets and a New Focus

I can’t believe I’ve made it! No, not that we are still sheltering-in-place for 77 days. Frankly, I expected that. My personal epidemiologist (Clemencia) has repeatedly warned me this was going to be bad – really bad – and that we needed to get ourselves prepared mentally and physically for the long haul. What I can’t believe is that I made it through 77 consecutive blogs.


Looking Back…

When I started writing this blog series, I thought it was going to be for 14 days. That’s how long we thought the sheltering-in-place was going to last. I don’t know what the reality of being locked down has to do with quantum theory but it does seem to have messed with my sense of time. On the one hand, it doesn’t actually seem like it has been 77 days. On the other hand, it sometimes feels like it has been an eternity. All in all, the evidence around me, provided by the changing of the season, tells me it has been a significant period of time.

So what have I learned along the way?

I have learned that I am full of drivel – enough to fill 77 daily blogs. In this period I have written more blogs than I did in the previous seven years. Since March 16th I’ve written nearly 90,000 words for this blog. By comparison, my doctoral dissertation was a mere 65,000 words.

I’ve redisovered my love of writing. All of my life I’ve had to write – curriculum, reports, proposals, papers, dissertations, more proposals, more reports, blah-blah-blah, yada yada, ad nauseam. When I wrote my dissertation it felt like I had nothing else left to give. Ever since then writing has been even more onerous. In writing this daily drivel blog I’ve found joy again in the word play, creativity, and silliness that comes with writing what I want.

It’s been a great exercise for my brain. It has pushed me to creative experimentaion, especially when I have seemed to be running low. There were many days when I didn’t think I had anything in me to write. On those days, I’d just start writing, stream of consciousness, to see what came out. Sometimes it was weird as heck, but it made me smile, giggle, and sometimes laugh. So I’d just go with it. I have come to love the challenge of creating something out of nothing every single day.

My writing is more interesting and at its best when I don’t try to write for others. Truly, I started this COVID-19 blog because I needed to do something to manage my own pandemic anxiety. I decided to write for myself – as in a journal – whatever was coming up for me. I was surprised to find people reading the blog and responding to it. Some people tell me it is the first thing they read when they get up in the morning (it is automatically sent each day at 8:00 AM Eastern). Some people come to my website to read it, others just read it in the format in which it appears in email. I’m stunned and humbled to realize how many people are actually reading this drivel blog.

I can sometimes put into words what others think and feel but cannot articulate. I did not fully appreciate until now what an important thing that is. I’m honored to be able to do that. I’m even more honored when my voice has given permission to or empowered others to use their voices.

I’ve learned much more about how to use Word Press, which is where my blog and the Tenacious Change LLC website are housed. I would not say that I’ve been expert at it but I can do most things now without first watching a tutorial or Googling it.

I don’t want to stop. I really don’t. I’m having too much fun. I’ve realized that I could be immensely happy doing nothing but writing a daily blog and then calling it a day. Unfortunately, I can’t do it that way. I still have to work for a living…a lot…but…

Looking Forward…

Still, I’m not going to stop, though it will be a little bit different than it has been. Here’s what to expect.

First, here is a sneak peek at the new name and new masthead you will see at the top of tomorrow’s blog:

Second, I am going to do my best to write a daily blog, even if it is just a few lines. Since I will continue working from home for the foreseeable future, it will be easier to carve out a few minutes to tap out a posting. However, if I miss a day here or there, be sure to check back.

Third, the The Daily Drivel will retain some things I think are important and that I enjoy. For example:

  • The blog will continue to be a retrospective, like a journal. No breaking news here. The news will have already been broken, but I may have opinions about it.
  • Stories of COVID-19, under this or a new title, will now become a section of the blog that I will write as needed.
  • Chickenman will continue. There were approximately 100 original episodes of Chickenman and we are only about halfway through.
  • Winthrop Dykstra-Baum will appear occasionally because I just can’t rid of him. I expect he and I will continue to irritate one another occasionally.
  • Bert Left and Ernie Right…well, they may reconstitute themselves if I decide to do another experiment in non-stop sock wearting.
  • For better or worse, my occasional rants will continue because, more than anything else, this blog is still a means for me to stay sane in the midst of an increasingly insane world. Letting off steam here helps me maintain some perspective.
  • Stories of my life – past and present – will appear because the process of writing tends to remind me of stories and then I just tell them. I really can’t help myself, actually.
  • Cartoons and drawings from my friend Jeff Logan will also continue for as long as he is willing to let me publish them. (Hint, hint, Jeff.)

What will be new in The Daily Drivel will be occasional essays (which, of course, are just calmer rants), a little more integration of my professional life and work, and odd bits of trivia. Trivia has always fascinated me but not the kind of useful trivia you’d want to know for a game like Trivial Pursuit or trivia night at your local pub. I really enjoy totally useless, weird trivia which, when you throw it into a conversation, people look at you funny and say, “Huh?!?” Then they go silent because they really don’t know what to say or maybe they are just wondering if it is safe to be near you.

I would also like The Daily Drivel to be a place where we can have some open, honest dialogue about things that are important but not easy to discuss. I’m not exactly sure how to make this happen, but it is something I am going to work on. I may not always get it right, but I’m going to try. I am open to your suggestions.

In the end, what I want this blog to be is a place to have a dual purpose. I want it to be a place where people can come each day to have some fun to start their day or to end it. And I also want people to learn, to grow, and to feel motivated and encouraged to join me in making this world we share a better place for ALL of us. What greater good can we do together than this?

See you tomorrow!


Chickenman – Episode 44

Chickenman is hot on the trail of the Mayor’s favorite kite – the one with the rocket ship on it. Along the way, Chickenman is mistaken for an elephant.


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and please keep meeting me here.

Tom

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