The Journal: Putting a Cap on It

In today’s Journal

* Putting a Cap on It
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Putting a Cap on It

By way of clarification, in this case “it” is the craziness. And by way of further clarification, “the craziness” is my own and society’s. And this essay, I guess. So my own craziness, society’s craziness, and what some of you probably will see as the craziness of this essay. Feel free to substitute the word “insanity” for “craziness” at any point.

Pain is relative. Inconvenience, too, and distruption of the norm are relative. I think everyone knows that. What you are going through at the moment is not “better” or “worse” than what anyone else is going through or what you’ve been through yourself at other times in your life. It’s just different, one more thing to endure. And it’s what you’re going through at the moment, so it holds your focus.

As I’ve blathered on here before, I’m steeped in a painful mental fog that denies me the ability to function. I’m focused on that because that’s what I’m going through personally. But that’s not to belittle or deem less-important whatever you or your loved ones are going through in your life.

Now, let’s zoom out.

Around the globe, literally thousands of people are dying every day. Most from problems and diseases and conditions other than CovID-19. Others are in hospitals undergoing operations for one condition or another. Others are at home, recovering after such an operation. Basically, everybody’s going through something. Yet I can speak only to my own silly problems.

But back to the novel virus for a moment. As the CDC and everyone else (except the propaganda machine that is the media) has said, as viruses go, CovID-19 isn’t that bad. Yes, there is an at-risk group (I’m in that group) but most people, as in the high 90-percentile, who contract CovID-19 don’t even realize they have it. Most never display symptoms. Most, if they simply wash their hands, never contract it.

Of those who DO display symptoms, most (as in the high 90-percentile) don’t require hospitalization. They recover on their own. And the truth is, we’ll never know how many citizens actually succumbed to the CovID-19 virus. Why? Because definitions are being shifted almost daily and counts are being inflated to make the problem seem far worse than it is. Which leads us to another “why,” but we won’t be able to answer that one until we see what awaits us on the other side.

Even my heart doctor, with whom I had an appointment last Thursday, said he received a phone call out of the blue around two weeks back asking whether he wanted to change the official cause of death on a death certificate to CovID-19. The decedent passed away, probably from a heart attack brought on by other factors (though he couldn’t know for sure so marked the cause of death “unknown”), over 8 months ago. When there is no autopsy, cause of death is a “best guess” and is the responsibility of the physician who last attended the deceased.

So yes, there is a shortage of toilet paper (???), but there is no shortage at all of bovine excrement. If it were white, we could all go skiing.

The upshot of all this, trite as it sounds, is Keep Calm and Carry On. Focus on You. If you wash your hands thoroughly and often, chances are, you won’t contract CovID-19, and if you do, chance are you won’t become ill from it, and if you do, chance are you will recover.

Given the actual hard statistics of CovID-19—but ALL the stats, not just the inflated body count—maybe someday our idiot politicians (both sides of the imaginary aisle) will realize their initial mistake of unnecessarily disabling our entire economy… well, if it was a mistake. If so, they will then

* recommend (not mandate, it’s still a free country, at least in most places) continued sheltering at home or quarantine of persons at high risk (if those people choose to go out, they’re risking only themselves, no one else)

* open the economy again, immediately and fully, and

* let what remains of CovID-19 run its course so the nation will finally be done with it.

Now back to my own crap for a moment.

This mental fog. It’s a real thing (or maybe the absense of anything real) and it’s accompanied by frustration and depression. All because at the moment, I can’t play with my friends. I don’t have the capacity. As my wife can attest, there are times I can’t decide or verbalize what I want for supper.

But as I wrote at the outset, I don’t mean to imply that my problem is any worse than whatever you’re going through at the moment. It isn’t. It’s just what I happen to be going through at the moment. It’s part of my life and it affects my writing, so I comment on it here in the hope that it will help someone else.

In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t upset the apple cart. I wish I were selfish enough to still be enjoying my cigars. From a practical standpoint, I would have written at least one more novel by now, and maybe two. But that isn’t what’s real. So another retrospective: back on May 6, I wish I’d written, “I’ll be on haitus for awhile. Talk with you again in a few weeks” and left it at that. But I didn’t, and here we are.

That said, I believe I’m through the worst of it. Most of the whole-body electric frenzy-urges are gone. I believe the fog will clear soon and I’ll be able to start writing again. Maybe today, maybe in a few days.

No clue what I’ll write. I’ve had an urge to return to westerns for some reason. I’ve also had an urge to write the third novel in the SF series I started, but that’s also a shared world so I have to guard against that book becoming “important.” If that happens I won’t be able to finish it. (By the way, if you’re one of those writing in my shared world, don’t let that become “important” either. You don’t have to impress me or anyone else. You only have to tell a story.) And I’ve also had an urge to turn back to short fiction instead of writing another novel. So as you can see, I’m still considerably rattled. This too shall pass.

Thanks for your kind thoughts along the way. And whatever you or your loved ones are going through in your own lives, may it pass quickly and well.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Why Am I So Against Traditional Publishing?” at

See “Robert Smalls: The Slave Who Stole a Confederate Warship and Became a Congressman” at

See “Get Yourself A Goal” at

See “A Writer’s Guide to Patience, Practice, and Persistence” at FWIW. If someone asked me how to develop patience, practice, and persist as a writer, I would say “Follow Heinlein’s Rules.”

See “Publishing Your Indie Book, Viewed As Jumping From An Airplane” at

See “My Last Pre-Pandemic Novel” FWIW at Like so many people, he tells you what you “will have to do” as a writer. Ignore it and do what you want.

The Numbers

Fiction words yesterday…………………… XXXX
Nonfiction words today…………… 1130 (Journal)

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 309655
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1130
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 117250
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 428905

Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 50
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 208
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31