I’m going to be blunt here and lift the taboo I’ve put on certain topics that I write about here.
There is a very good chance that I won’t get much (or anything) accomplished with respect to writing a “novel” in 30 days. The cards are stacked against me with respect to success most years, but this particular year has a number of other issues involved.
There is, of course, the election that is occurring in our country at the beginning of the month. In most election years, this would consume a day or two of my attention. Nothing much, although it is a ding against me for allowing myself that distraction.
But this year is particularly fraught with the likelihood of long-term distraction as a matter of safety as a result of the election taking place. There have been too many instances of Americans taking to violence against other Americans due to their stance on politics in recent months, and now we have a lazy authoritarian wannabee in office that looks increasingly like he’s going to lose the election, provided some semblance of normality can be upheld. He doesn’t agree to accepting the results of an election if it isn’t in his favor; he won’t commit to the peaceful transfer of power; he encourages right-wing and white-supremist violence and issues dog-whistles for them to take up violence against anyone who doesn’t agree with them or him; he has done everything he can to question the legitimacy of an election unless he wins; and the list goes on… Again, let’s not assume that normality will be upheld. It hasn’t for four years, why would we think anything would change.
So, regardless of the outcome and level of “normality”, I expect a significant amount of chaos to be stirred up in our already dystopic country when you consider the political minority transgressions and the expected increases in cases of Covid-19 alongside the rise in cases of influenza that occur every autumn and winter as people close their windows and gather for holidays in rejection of the advice for people to limit such things. Americans are individualistic to the point of absurdity. “You ain’t the boss of me!” should be our motto instead of “E pluribus unum”. As Vonnegut wrote, “So it goes.”
In complete denial of the pandemic and flu threat, our local schools are insisting in the return to in-person schooling — which is a recipe for disaster if you ask me. At the time of writing, Minnesota (our state) has 23 cases of coronavirus a day per 100,000 people (7-day running average) and we are a fairly populated state. It is also worth noting that our neighboring states have much higher rates of infection than we do: North Dakota and South Dakota have 74 cases/100k, Wisconsin has 50 cases/100k, and Iowa has 33 cases/100k. I fully expect our own numbers to rise sooner or later, as coronavirus doesn’t give a flying fuck at a rolling donut about state borders. Especially when we have people who think that masking up is somehow an infringement on their freedom instead of a utilitarian approach towards seeing to the health of the greater whole. Did I mention that Americans are caustically individualistic?
But some in power have decided that herd immunity is somehow the gold standard and in-school teaching is paramount to a child’s education. More than considering the long-term risks associated with infection (ask the “long-haulers” if it just goes away). Because we’re a little more cautious with our children, our kids will be “punished” by being removed from the elements of the specialized school curriculum in favor of the equivalent of educational pabulum via distance learning where the lowest common denominator rules the roost.
So it goes.
Not to be outdone, my Boomer parents are already trying to guilt me into indoor family events in the time of coronavirus; Twin’s Birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. While Christmas is in December, I expect my mother to nag at me about it anyway as I steadfastly refuse to put them or my children at risk. “It’s not fair,” my mother has said often enough, “to make the twin’s forgo birthday celebrations because of Covid.” No, it isn’t fair, but life is rarely fair. If I could be convinced that my parents were taking the pandemic seriously, I might have fewer reservations, but they go out in public far more often than we do, and my father hates wearing a mask even though he is the most at risk of all of us (triple bypass less than 2 months ago). I wouldn’t put it past him to only wear a mask when my mother was around. As it is, she’ll want me to set up more and more Zoom/Meets with the kiddos, which will suck up time that I might otherwise write. I need to monitor the conversations, because otherwise she makes promises about get-togethers with the kids as part of her attempts at Catholic guilt trips. Or she doesn’t notice that the three girls are tired of talking in a virtual meeting and they are too polite to say, “gotta go!”
Additionally, it would be just the kind of thing that happens that my workloads will increase because the anti-writing fairy waves her wand.
So, it might be some kind of minor miracle if I get 50k words written.
So it goes.