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The COVID Diaries, Episode 1 of However Many...

After almost three years of "Dodging the COVID," the creature finally caught up to me. For someone who has rarely fallen ill since going vegetarian over 20 years ago (another story for another time), I always assumed it would come knocking, but I also hoped it might pass me by.

I knew I was in trouble on Saturday afternoon when that lovely feeling came on. Colds generally go straight to my head, meaning my throat and whatever comes after. My precautions went for nothing, and I wasn't feeling too good Sunday.

Something wasn't right--this was not a cold or flu, it felt deeper, sicker if that is the proper word. The symptoms weren't much more, but as my body temperature began to fluctuate in a way it normally should not, I took the home test.

Normally I'm a little skeptical of the quickie tests, but I have on good authority they're pretty accurate. And to borrow a phrase, "Look who won the pony?"

Thankfully, I live alone, and the one person I was physically closest to for any period of time tested negative. I'm not exiling at home, not that it bothers me, mind, but it makes me feel as though I did let my guard down.

We've all been there; to mask or not to mask, to avail ourselves of the hand sanitizer, to wash up, all that stuff. I don't think I did much less or different, but the mask thing probably got me.

If you believe all the lies, that this isn't a pandemic, it didn't happen, and that "reality" states otherwise than what I and millions around the world are dealing with, you can stop reading now. And spare me your regurgitations of whatever talk show host/preacher/pundit/YouTube influencer you pleasure yourself to, for it means nothing to me. I've had too many friends fall ill from this, and too many have died for us to even be arguing about this shit anymore. And for your entertainment and delight:

Are we good? Good.

This is officially the second day of the home confinement, so hopefully I make it to Saturday. The new rules under the CDC regarding COVID-19, and what my doctor has passed along is five days isolation and then mask up. Something I will indeed do.

I am taking Paxlovid, and I've since been informed COVID might come right back on me. I hope not, and I hope the drug was not the reason for that. Add to it, I'm taking a fair amount of ibuprofen and Nyquil variants for the pain and a vain effort to sleep.

No litany of complaints feels like a hard shot of the cold/flu, and I just have to get through it.

The work from home thing is appealing to me, but in broadcasting my audio gear does not quite measure up to pristine quality. It's good, but not where I'd like it. I suppose I better think about investing in Adobe Audition after all. The cheap Aussie version is good, but not something I'd recommend for a radio/TV station to use.

I also realize I have not blogged since last fall, because honestly I have not had time, nor the incentive to write much of anything. I've been busy, as usual.

Now back to this situation: when the emergency went off in March 2020, I was relieved of weekend duties at a certain megalomaniacal broadcasting company. For the first time in nine years I didn't have to be somewhere Saturdays and Sundays, and I spent a lot more time at home. Fine with me. I proceeded to write, and re-write, pretty much everything that hasn't been published yet, plus even more new projects.

I've seen my home nearly get destroyed, fought with insurance companies and sundry others to get it repaired, dealt with strange activities in the literary world, and continued changes in a field that somehow still hasn't killed me off yet.

It's been a pretty hectic run. I'll get more into book stuff in a second, but let's see where I still am: I've radio work for two state networks, plus an affiliate, I'll be working for the Harrisburg Senators again this spring/summer, if my health permits. I've managed to navigate pitfalls of emotional, financial and other kinds, and am somehow still here.

Also, I'm reminded time and again that if you think this is bad, you don't know it until someone tells you about it. My longtime neighbor two doors down (who I generally don't see in the winter) was out today. She had a reason for being gone: she was busy kicking cancer's ass good and proper.

This is temporary, folks, most things are but death, taxes, and the Houston Texans should be contracted from the NFL (Okay, DeMeco Ryans gets a chance to right the ship, but whatever).

Now about one of the many other things I do:

One show of many on the Bookspeak Network, here is my latest, with my friend Juelz Davenport, a man of many talents. I recorded a collection of his poetry, "Penned in Pennsylvania," and his upcoming release, "Who is Shawn?" Check him out.

I also record the other shows and produce them, including those of my Sunbury Press publisher, Lawrence Knorr. Before I fell ill for real Saturday, L. and I discussed the collection, "After the Pandemic," which came out in 2020 and offered several views on what life in many of its aspects would be like once we got out of this.

Well, I don't think we're out yet. Is it time for another collection? I don't know, but what have we learned the past three years? I would like to think people have begun to realize that our infrastructure is tenuous, and not just our health.

I find it darkly laughable that we (not all but a lot of us) got pretty uptight about the masks, the restrictions, the precautions. We, a nation of consumers who consume without thought, and largely demand what we want, right here, right now, a damn you if you try and get in front of that.

What I am really talking about though, is how things have changed, in that when the pandemic took away people from the regular equation, they did not come right back. In some cases, not at all. Work, for example: while I'm not privy to cut in stone figures, a lot of people in this country decided it's not worth it to slave away for others. They started their own businesses, found jobs that fit their lives, or went their own way.

This has certainly infuriated those who expect to be accommodated, and they mean now. Services are not so immediate, you don't get all things the way you want anymore, do you? Deliveries aren't right this second; your server is not immediately available to you, or people are finding their restaurants, bars and other places of self-enjoyment are on reduced hours, or gone entirely?

The toilet-trained line, "People Don't Want to Work" has been spoon-fed to the bottom feeders, to make them think they are being deliberately inconvenienced. How dare the workers who make minimum wage want more? How dare they not do as I say, right this moment? How dare they!

People don't want to hear it, and neither do I, bitches. Go do for yourself for once. Maybe you have; in any case, there's been plenty of that and it's not the best news.

We had an economic roller coaster--people suddenly were paying off their debts, their mortgages, etc., and that was supposed to be good. Then all of a sudden, credit card debt is now higher than ever. We have a serious imbalance, and a lot of folks still trying to get their feet after all this.

Point is, we are not at any crossroads with COVID-19 or anything else. We are still shouting, screaming, demanding things be the way we want them, but the world has changed. You just have not changed with it.

I've accepted that things will not be the same. With this illness, I once more must focus on getting out of this. I've been here before; this is serious, but one must believe we come out the other side. We have no choice--instead of complaining, step up and be supportive.

So yeah, where are we now?

Yep--Shake Hands with the Devil, the third of the Sweet Dreams Series is well out, and I'm carrying on with formulating plans for the continuation of the series. I'm not sure what, or how, but I will do that.

My next appearances will be at Cleveland Concoction in Ohio in March, which is back after a hiatus, and I'll be at the Anime Con in Ocean City, MD in April. Not sure what else, but my appearances have been limited; again our friend the coronavirus.

My next release will be a return to commercial fiction. I can't say much right now, but I've come up with something that veers from YA into New Adult, but should just be a good and interesting read. I have a lot to do in the last few years in this body, so we must get to it. An illness is not going to stop me.

I'm rather light in the brain now, so time to close down for a bit.

Peace, Out.


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