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Today's Pandemic Top Ten Quotes

10 Quotes from the land of COVID-19 in late February 1. "Why am I so tired tonight?" 2. "I'm doing laundry, do you need your masks washed?" 3. "You know how I was going to try and stop drinking during the week? Yeah, no." 4. "I went to the coffee shop today and there was a group of women holding an unmasked book study. Maniacs!" 5. "It might be a frozen pizza night!" (Sometimes twice a week.) 6. "You should put your pajamas on and be done with it." (Quoting my wife at 5:30 PM) 7. If I have to sit through another Zoom meeting, I'm going to scream."" 8. "Your mic is muted!" 9. "How can you be 11 months into a pandemic and claim you don't have a web cam. C'mon, man!" 10. "I'm going to share my screen now. Hopefully this will work okay." (It always does. This is not a new technology. C'mon, man!) The list goes on and on. I'd like to say we've turned the corner

Turning The Corner

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 I'd like to believe we're on the downside of winter, but I'm afraid to for fear of more snow. It has been a brutal last 6 weeks after a fairly mild, almost snowless December. There were some things to appreciate about this season, starting with that snowless December. January had a lot of days near 30 degrees which made for good cross country skiing and decent walking weather to maintain some semblance of fitness. Then Late January and early February rolled around and as often happens, things got ugly. Lots of significant snowfalls, usually followed by the predictable cold temps that seem to follow most storms.  Throw into that fun, the last 10 days of what I'm calling a Polar Vortex, (I don't know if the meteorologists are, but I am)  and it has most of us thinking spring can't come soon enough. Temps are creeping into the thirties in the next few days so, I'm running with that victory. After my walk in 17 degree weather (and daylight, bonus!) yesterday, I

My Point Is...

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 So life in publication land goes on despite COVID-19. I continue to market and promote Cretin Boy and my other books albeit mostly virtually or through emails and social media. It's been kind of a cool week from a feedback standpoint so I thought I'd share a few of the bright spots. I heard from my cousin Judy today who gave the book to her husband as a surprise Christmas gift. She snuck a picture of him reading my book. He was a grad from 1970, and she thought he's enjoy recalling some of his days at Cretin. He said that many of the teachers I mentioned were there when he was, so that was convenient. The book has helped me connect with a few family members who I don't hear from often, so that's a nice intangible benefit, I guess. A friend and writing colleague posted a picture of the book and mentioned how she was looking forward to it. She is a poet and a great source of light and inspiration to not only me, but to all writers and poets in Wisconsin. We've b

Making The Best Of It

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 One of the many fallouts of the pandemic is the momentary death of live book festivals. Along with other large conferences, these events if held would be nothing short of irresponsible super-spreader events. The local festival in Waukesha, the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books went virtual last November in an attempt to keep some semblance of a conference. Others have followed suit including the Twin Cities Book Festival in October.  I didn't realize how much I missed the interactions and networking I have at these events until I didn't have them. I miss presenting at them, I miss talking to my peers and I miss talking to readers.  Nevertheless, I still need to pursue the promotion and marketing of my books, particularly my newest, Cretin Boy. This means searching far and wide for venues to get it out there.  One of the better ones I've found is the Deep Valley Book Festival held in the Mankato area of Minnesota. They are typically in-person, but because of COVID are

A Word From The Bunker

 I keep looking for an end or a bit of light with regards to the pandemic. It's hard when we're 10 months into it and still looking at probably another 6-8 before we see widespread vaccinations. Unfortunately our numbers are as high as they've ever been and hospitals are starting to feel the pinch on a much broader scale. We're not too bad locally, but am hearing reports of places that are. In the meantime, I continue to stay home as much as possible and minimize contact with people.  To keep a sense of normalcy, I continue to try and get some writing done. In the last week I've submitted to 3 poetry magazines and a nonfiction story about introversion to Introvert, Dear, a website on the cause. I'll tell you more about it if you text me. LOL. Little introvert joke there. The combination of writing and my wife are keeping me sane through all of this. I'm still reporting into work twice a week with three days working from home. When I get down about any of it

Digital Christmas

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 As with many Christmases past, this one came with its share of technology gadgets and upgrades. It seems our kids continually push us to the bleeding edge of technology and while I am keen as to why, I am not always willing to take the leap without their gentle nudging. For starters, this year my daughter gave us a Chromecast for our TV. While I've known about this technology for a while, we never really had a TV to support it. (That's another technology leap we made a year or two ago.) For those that don't know, Chromecast allows you to project various apps from your phone or computer to your TV. Once you've synced all your apps like YouTube and Netflix to your Chromecast, you can pretty much look up anything on your phone and send it to the TV. The biggest benefit of this is no more arduous typing using the stupid TV remote to search for something. It is much easier to search on your phone and then casting it. On Christmas Eve before we opened the presents, it was k

Nine Months In

Today marks month 9 of the pandemic. I think I was told to stay home from work as of the 16th of March, which felt extremely weird to me. I don't know how I thought it to play out, but there's no way I expected we'd still be working from home at Christmas time. As it spread and we saw the impact, obviously I became aware that we'd be lucky to be back up and running by March 2021. That seems to be holding true, probably more like late summer or early fall. All of it begs the question, how are you holding up? I think it's fair to have felt every possible bad emotion during the course of spread of it. Disbelief, rage, sorrow, sadness, despair, hopelessness, anger, hostility, gloom and anxiousness. And I've been to all of those places briefly myself over these 9 months. I am fortunate that I have the ability to pull myself out of the dark places. I have a tendency toward optimism. It's not my nature, but I've learned to fake-it-till-I-make it. I tend to avoi