Adventures of the Charmingly Odd

“This Is Such a Bad Town For Such A Pretty Face”

A year ago around this time Steve and I had COVID-19. Of course back then we had no idea what it was other than a miserable time. On a Friday I picked Steve up from a weeklong work trip in Miami and when he got into the passenger seat of my Mini Cooper, he didn’t even say hello. His skin was gray and he asked if I had any water. By Monday I woke up with a vicious sore throat and  Tuesday morning I was full blown sick. I took a week off of work – which I have never done. I slept for days and couldn’t seem to catch my breath. It was a horrible cold but didn’t have the sinus headaches I’m prone to. My bosses at work (ER docs) said they couldn’t explain what it was but it was viral so antibiotics wouldn’t work on me.

The fatigue lingered for weeks.

A year later I’m sick again – IT’S JUST A STOMACH BUG I’M TOTALLY OKAY – but I wonder how long it will be, if ever, that I start to feel sick and don’t immediately panic that I have the virus that has killed over 386,000 Americans. The cases in NJ are at an all time high. The sitting president is being impeached after the attack on the Capitol last week. NJ Unemployment computer system is down and isn’t expected to be working again for weeks.

In the middle of all this and more, the rest of us are expected to live and keep living as though nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Still go to work, still go to class, cook dinner, shower, and repeat. For me this also includes writing a novel.

Really exciting things are happening with my novel and my fellow writers in our collective. We are laying the groundwork for something truly special and this is the most passionate I’ve felt about a company in years. But fuck is it hard to be a creative in this environment. To all of you still getting out of bed in the morning and doing what needs to be done – I see you and appreciate you.

As people have said on Twitter: ‘The West Wing’ didn’t prepare me for anyone of this. 

Since I’ve been sick the past week, I’ve been consuming other people’s fiction. During my process of writing this novel, I’ve been trying to only intake content that is somehow related to my own work. Luckily there are plenty of books and tv shows that inspire me.

Currently Watching

‘Peaky Blinders’ season 1 starts out right after WWI in Birmingham, England. Its about gangsters in the 1920s and the show is a masterpiece! People have been recommending this show to me for a long time but I kept having to rewatch episodes if I felt I was missing little tidbits due to the different accents. However this past week I turned on the subtitles and boom! it’s been so easy to follow along now. I’ve done a lot of research on life in Europe during the 1910s –  1930s so watching a show featuring people of all different nationalities and how they interact has been very helpful for my own work.

Currently Reading

Image from hookedtobookscad.wordpress.com

Another one of those things I just never got around to checking out until this year – “Fall of Giants” by Ken Follett. This book ticks off nearly all my book needs: 1,000+ pages, ensemble cast of characters, religion, politics, classism, and sprawling settings. I’ve read Follett’s other Kingsbridge series several times – I’m not sure why I didn’t pick up his Century Trilogy until now but the timing is perfect! “Fall of Giants” starts right before WWI and deals with a lot of the same topics mentioned in ‘Peaky Blinders’ as well as correlates back to my own work. Follett is able to tell these grand stories without too much prose and an insane number of characters and yet still be reader friendly. That is something I aspire to accomplish one day.

Currently Listening To

A New Zealand angsty rock girl? Sign me the hell up. I had never heard of Gin Wigmore until I looked up what song I kept playing from Apple’s ‘Umbrella Academy’ Playlist. (It’s the perfect playlist for when you want to crawl into bed and cry over writing or politics or generally anything these days).) Wigmore’s song ‘Kill of the Night’ was featured on the tv show and good lord it’s exactly what I need when I need to dance in my office and clear my head. (The title of this blog is from the song as well.) Her whole ‘Gin & Wine’ album from 2011 is excellent and I highly recommend it.

 

I hope all of you are hanging in there as we figure out what the hell is going on in 2021.

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