I don’t know a single person who the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t impact, myself included. Friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, strangers — everyone I knew before Lockdown 2020 went in one way and “came out” (which is to say, ended the year, we’re still not through it) a changed person. People got sick. People lost jobs. People had babies. People died. Even if you managed to avoid the plague, keep your job and your sanity and your relationship, you know someone who lost something or someone to it. No one faces global, cataclysmic change alone even if there’s no one directly beside you.
Because of the nature of my job, I was able to stay in self-isolation for a lot longer than most people. I scurried out of my house every few days like a little groundhog, grabbing my FedEx and UPS packages or whatever food delivery I could manage. I stayed productive, recording podcasts with Doc and writing when I could (see below). Knowing that isolation would drain me of whatever sanity I still had left, I went to physically distant barbecues with friends so I could see them and their newborn baby — my nephew — and get caught up in their lives. When that didn’t work, we video chatted and watched movies together. I took up a couple new hobbies — learning German (mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut), Instant Pot cooking — and even found the time to get physically active — I bought a rower and some weights for my birthday and now I’m a regular at-home gym rat. I’ve tried to make the most out of a really unpleasant year.
Not everything is great, of course. My other nephew was born a month after the first — and on my birthday no less — and I couldn’t be there because of COVID. Family members fell gravely ill and were hospitalized and I could not travel to see them because of COVID. People close to me lost their jobs because of COVID. I lost touch with once close friends because of COVID. All sure-bets that seemed so bright and promising this time last year faded and broke apart like salt in a glass of lemonade, bitter and remaining long after the taste is gone from your mouth, all because of COVID.
My third book is still coming along in the rewrite phase. I’m not ahead of schedule like I wanted to be (all because of COVID), but I’m moving along. I don’t want to talk about page numbers or word counts because it’s flexible and will change while I’m editing, but the book is divided into 5 parts (acts, if you will), each with 6 chapters. Last night, I finished the 5th chapter of part 2. Again, I wanted to be much further along, but I get huge spouts of productivity and manage to plow through quite a bit. Back in March, I thought Wowee, a lockdown! I’ll have so much time to write and get this done! I can’t remember where I saw this but the phrase “who would have thought the worst pandemic since 1919 would come along and zap away all the will for creative thought, right?”
I’ve decided to write these progress reports as both a check on myself and a means of keeping my readers informed of my status. I aim to be done with part 2 and well into part 3 by my next progress report. Of course, any delays won’t be on account of procrastinating on my end as I’ve been pretty diligent on writing every free minute I have for the last 9 months. This will only be if there’s yet another global crisis around the corner.