Weekly Wonderings – March 15th, 2021

This week marks the first anniversary of the COVID lockdown beginning for most of us in the United States. I would argue I never left the lockdown, at least in mindset, despite four months being forced to teach virtually from my former school. I also don’t think opening things up right now is the smart move with so little of the population having received vaccinations. As someone who saw how lax adherence to COVID policy was in a school, I don’t have confidence there won’t be another surge of spreads as variants pop up. What’s really going on is the American boredom mindset. They are done thinking about COVID, so they will invent a fantasy in their heads where we are past it.

Meanwhile, deaths are still numbering about 1300 – 1500 a day. Yes, there is a decline, but if we are rounding a corner, why don’t we finish coming around before we throw open the gates? My own state issued a press release they will no longer be reporting COVID numbers on weekends or holidays, lumping them into the next business day. Doing something like this implies it’s dying down when in just the lack week, several counties that ended their mask mandates started to see surges in infections. Never underestimate the American mentality to choose the dumbest option during a crisis and then pretend it wasn’t so bad as thousands die.

Here is the Spotify playlist for the week:

I decided to pump the brakes on doing the podcast as just a computer reading reviews. That was an excellent opportunity to play around with Anchor’s interface, but I’d like to do an actual podcast now. I have an outline for a first episode, looking at a release date of March 28th. My wife will be joining me for a couple of segments. I actually had pretty decent recording equipment already without realizing it. From teaching virtually and having a high-end voice recorder my brother gave me for my birthday last year, things sound very good. My plan is to scale back on blog posts, so probably not something every single day, and do about 5-6 segments on a bi-weekly podcast. Instead of reviewing Zack Snyder’s Justice League on the blog, I’ll be doing that on the podcast’s first episode. I would also like to use that venue to talk about video games I’ve been playing, things that have crossed my radar that I think are worth talking about, and doing more op-ed type segments. I have a segment I want to do on the over-reaction to cancel culture and talk about certain filmmakers I decided a while ago I won’t feature on my blog & why.

I’ve really been getting to the character development portion of writing. On reflection in my previous writing attempts, mainly back in and just post-college, I didn’t do enough of that. I would just free-write, which is a perfectly good thing to do, but I didn’t have the tools in my toolbox to refine and develop my ideas. I envy those writers who it just comes to so innately, and I think once you get in the habit and have some work under your belt, that fluidity will naturally happen. In thinking about my characters and writing them as sketches, I have changed some things about them, realizing the original way I saw them needed to be tweaked so that they became more interesting and authentic. I think my decision to go slow with the DIY MFA guide was the right thing to do, and I can feel myself engaging with the writing process on a deeper level.

I don’t think you can learn to be a great writer from reading books about writing, but a good book about writing asks essential questions that you might not naturally think about. In meditating on those questions, you improve your work. At the end of the day, it’s the work of just pounding out the writing where the magic happens, but listening to others who have done it before you multiple times is always beneficial. In college, I was always baffled by those people I met who had such strong resentment for people who were really good at something. I noticed these were often male Art majors at my school and when they saw someone who was really talented, even if it wasn’t the medium the student specialized in, they would get visibly angry. I knew three guys like this, and it was hilarious to me. For myself, when I come across great talent, I feel appreciative to see it. If anything, I’d wanted to pick the talented person’s brain to understand their process and philosophy within their art.

Things are in an exciting space for me. The future is still muddy, but we are continuing on. We just tightened up our spending and are doing pretty good. When the stimulus hits our bank account, we’ll be back to where we were at the start of the year, which is a good feeling. We’re just on a timetable we have to follow before the big move can occur. Right now, we can sell a lot of our physical media because that will not be making the trip with us. We’re both big digital readers now, and I prefer games purchased through Steam/Nintendo Estore over physical stuff mostly. In May, we’ll have the big yard sale, hocking off all the furniture and most appliances will hold on to a few things until the very end with plans to sell or donate them in the eleventh hour. It will be interesting to look back in one year from now, two years since the lockdown started, and see where we are at then.

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