Update from the Plague Year

This year — 2020 — cannot end too soon.

Leave aside the horrendous politics, if you can.

Avoid the pandemic, if you can.

I lost a friend of 42 years, after witnessing a nasty death by lung cancer. Other than scribbling my initials on a digital reader with a crooked, arthritic left index finger, I haven’t written a word since.

Times heals all wounds, they say, but the scab on this one keeps getting ripped open. I’m tired of it.

Let’s start a new year. All in favor, let’s just do it.

Welcome to 2021

Back in the olden days — we’re talking IBM mainframes, not MS-DOS — proponents of the new technology promised it would bring all sorts of environmental benefits: Think of all that paper we would no longer need.


I had to find a paper file folder (unrelated to writing, because I didn’t do much of that in bad old 2020), I came upon these papers.

That’s about five reams or so, all of about edits, critiques, revisions, rewrites and marked-up proofs of the first two Black Orchid Chronicles books. No full drafts here. Just printed paper with lots of chicken scratching in ballpoint pen. It translates into about three white kitchen bags of ultra-shredded pulp.

Would that I made fewer mistakes, we would have more trees.

#SocialDistancing Fail

Six years back, I put my brain to thinking about what the world would really domino-pieces-on-white-background-600w-1685490778

be like at the end.

I called the short story, “A Plague of Doubt.”

Today, I would rename it “Social Distancing Fail.”

At the time, my son — one of my most trusted readers — thought it too contrived. I put i

Here’s how it started:

John Forenow did what he did because he could.

For the third time this year, and it was only May, he planned to stuff himself into his isolation suit, seal himself into his car and drive off to the grocery store with the car’s autopilot disengaged!

It was completely reckless behavior on so many levels.

But that’s how humans behaved if they could—as if the new rules of daily life did not apply. In what some would consider his declining years, John felt the acute need of a survivor to experience life to the fullest and to push boundaries beyond the safe and secure. He lived while so many of those around him died.

Redemption is hard, and may not be what we imagined.

Here’s the whole story (about 6,300 words) in a PDF file: Plague of Doubt-Social Distancing Fail_Final