Now that I’ve reached the latter half of my sixth decade, I increasingly hear myself begin sentences “Back in the day…” or “I remember when….” It’s weird. In our eternally youth-obsessed culture, growing old itself is just plain weird. 

And the current pandemic has upended so much of what we knew, or thought we knew, that things are even weirder than they were before. Let’s face it, that’s really saying something. 

Variations on the phrase “And now, back to our regularly scheduled program” have been around since at least the 70s, possibly even earlier. I use it today because in these first few post-election days, there’s a sense that maybe we’re going to get some kind of normalcy back, some time or other.

 

But When—And What Would That Even Look Like? 

Well, you know I don’t have a clue what the answer to that subhead will be. I’ve been virtually on voluntary lockdown for close to nine months now, so my perspective is perhaps a bit skewed. But here are a couple of my random observations, in no particular order.

1) Our entertainment is going to look a whole lot different for a while. We already see plenty of bare studios with hardly any staff. Wait until every new movie features a cast wearing masks. Even more than the post-9/11 years highlighted that terrible day, a post-pandemic world promises lots of movies and shows about the pandemic. Good luck putting it in the rearview mirror.

2) A return to some real semblance of normalcy may resemble the Roaring 20s…only I guess we’ll call them the Roaring 2020s. If a vaccine gets the world back to something like its pre-pandemic old self, we could see an absolute explosion from all the pent-up demand for live music, sports, travel, and so on.

3) The “breather” our planet got when much of the world locked down this spring will need to be replicated somehow: maybe it’s going to be about carbon capture, maybe just more attention to one’s carbon footprint. But one way another, the future has to be greener.

 

Bringing It Back Home

So when I think about “back in the day,” I sometimes mean the 1970s or 1980s, but these days I might also just be thinking of those far-flung pre-pandemic times…a whole year ago. I mean, I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like 2020 has been about a million years long. It’s put some mileage on my odometer for sure. 

And who knows? Maybe some time in January, we’ll all start to breathe a little easier. Maybe we’ll even start treating each other with more kindness and respect. Stranger things have happened.

fumes

Running On Fumes: Pandemic Fatigue

Let’s face: the past four years have been exhausting. But 2020 is a whole other level of exhausting. If you’re running on fumes right now—and I’ll be the first to admit that’s the case for me—who can blame you? Ordinarily, I have a schedule for these blog posts, and...
ledge

Nightmare On Acid Street

In my mind, I flash back to a time years ago, and the image strikes me with peculiar clarity—the dismal boarding house where I lived when I was newly sober, the shattering acid flashback with its neon cockroaches skittering across the dirty ceiling. Then, further back...
author

Are Authors Typically Obsessive-Compulsive?

Recently I’ve noticed a trend in author blogs toward the confessional. After all, no one wants to read about your characters all the time, and God knows that readers don’t want to read about marketing. They want to know something about you. Happy to oblige. Although...

Book Fair Time Coming September 17th

Most of my blog posts are related in one way or another to the business of being an author - expanding your author platform, improving your book marketing, and so on - and not strictly self-promotional. However, every once in a while, I've got a radio interview or...
balance

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #7: The Elusive Search for Balance

It's Labor Day today, and what are my wife and I doing? You guessed it: laboring! I've just finished a massive job, editing a manuscript for a 90-something client. Hey, God bless him, right? And God bless me for having the intestinal fortitude to get through the most...
Community

Is It Important to Be Part of a Community of Writers?

I just returned from a meeting of the Bay Area Professional Writers Guild, a terrific organization that brings together writers of all types to network, share resources, and provide education. It made me realize what a small world this is, as the guest speaker was...
MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022

Here’s wishing everyone a safe, sane Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For many of us, today is always something of a day of mourning: not only mourning the loss of a great civil rights leader, but also mourning the turn our great nation seemed to take in recent years....

But What If I’m Sick?

Last month my wife and I went to Thailand for a two-week vacation. This was my first real vacation in over two years, and my wife Sunny’s first visit back to her family in her country of origin in even longer. So we really needed and, I think, deserved it. And...
break

You Deserve A Break Today

The last few weeks’ worth of blog posts have been downers, and I appreciate everyone who has read them, sent me messages, and in general been encouraging. This week needs to be lighter. A lot lighter. So I’m going back to one of my favorite topics: writing. I’m on a...
technophobe

The Technophobe Part 2: Why I Wish I Was Better At Some Of This Stuff

The last few weeks have been all about pros and cons. In June, I wrote several blog posts about my biggest strengths, and now I’m writing about some of my greatest challenges. So the two categories are, roughly, “Stuff I’m Good At” and “Stuff I Wish I Was Better At.”...