Back to the Grindstone

I took a break from my blogging routine over the last few weeks. Offered up revisions of stories from my books instead of my typical musings. I’m not sure why I did this. But I did it. And now I’m done doing it.

So it’s back to the grindstone. Not with the misguided belief that there is an audience desperate for my weekly ruminations. More because the habit is good for me. Keeps me writing. Most people who write need routines. I certainly do. And the pandemic has done a number on many of my routines.

The last nine months (nine months!) have left me reeling. I’m sure they’ve disrupted your life, too. I hate the phrase “new normal.” Not sure why, I just do.

I am ready to get back to being around people. Spitting on them and being spit on by them. Spreading germs with reckless abandon. Like the good old days. No more washing hands. No more social distance. I’ll get up in your bubble. You get in mine. A shower? Who needs it? I’m ready for human contact.

I’m also eager to live in an America that isn’t ready to fight to the death over the crazy-making games of partisan politics. Republicans and Democrats and a black-and-white views of reality. Vote for this person or that or the universe will implode. Stupid. I’ve got my horses in the race, I suppose, but more than anything else, the vitriol and polarization in this country makes me sad. And afraid. History has much to say about the consequences of political climates such as the one we find ourselves in.

I’m convinced the pandemic will end. I’m less certain about the future of the United States. I guess I could rent a room in the Four Seasons and wait it out.


About routines. A friend of mine started working out recently. He asked me to join him. Virtually. There was a free trial. So I gave it a go. Set my computer up in my basement. Logged into a Zoom room. Spent forty-five minutes sweating all over my cats. It was grueling.

I made it a week. And signed up for another week. See if I can’t challenge myself to move a little bit.

I’ve been sedentary for the last nine months (nine months!) Sure, I go for a morning run. A short little jaunt around the park near my house. Get a little fresh air. A little solitude before I go about my day. This has always been part of my routine, but it feels more important now that my wife and two sons are sequestered together with me in our house. A tiny moment to myself. Still, other than my little run, I’ve spent too much time at my desk. Staring at the screen. Not moving.

My computer has been my classroom, my office, a theatre, my children’s school, the newspaper, the bar, my tiny portal into the world over these last nine months (nine months!)

Okay, I’ll stop accentuating that the pandemic has lasted nine months. But seriously, that is a long time. Anyway, I’ve spent so much time either sitting in my office chair or standing in front of my laptop as it sits atop an empty wine box. (I find that teaching feels more like teaching if I’m standing.) It has been nice to have an excuse to move. A routine to guide me.

I don’t look like Brad Pitt yet. And I might never look like Brad Pitt. But man do I sweat. And disturb my cats. One of the things that working out reminds me is this: I miss playing basketball.

As a high school teacher in my 30’s, I played in a staff/student game every Tuesday and Thursday morning before school. Arrived early. Ran up and down the floor with colleagues and teenagers. Showered in the closet bathroom upstairs in the B-wing of Roseville Area High School, and spent the day with high school students. Making theatre. Writing. Reading. Thinking together. Man, I get nostalgic for my life as a high school teacher sometimes. And I miss morning basketball. I’m sure my limited skills have deteriorated, but I’d kill to get on the floor and run and sweat and be sweated on without a thought of germs or social distance or whatever.

Anyway, I’ve been working out the last two weeks. A nice little change to my routine during these strange times.


The semester is finishing up. My schedule is packed with too many zoom meetings. And too many projects to work on. You’d think a pandemic would slow things down. It hasn’t, really. But in some ways it has. I haven’t been as productive this fall, even though it feels like I’ve worked harder than at any other point in my short career as a college professor. Moving classes online is grueling. Keeping up with virtual meetings is agonizing. Moving forward with writing, research, and projects without my normal routines has proved challenging, to say the least. Produced plenty of anxiety for me.

But I’ve got my health. And my family has spent the last nine months (I won’t do it again) hunkering down together. Surviving. Yes, Solomon is loud. And yes, our new kitten Theo has become an annoying, Christmas-tree-destroying monster. But it has been good to be together through this.

And, as I commit to the routine of working out, I will also get back to this habit of blogging with fresh content. Musing and rambling. Keep my mind moving in the same way I’m getting my body going. Movement is a good thing, I think. Let that be my parting words of wisdom here.

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