Uncategorized #12 – Apocalypse Next Week
March 22, 2020 in Uncategorized
It’s after 8pm in New York, and that means we’ve gone into a state of total lockdown. The state is calling it a “pause.” Only essential businesses are still open, like grocery stores, laundromats and hospitals. Restaurants are all doing takeout and delivery service only, and we’re only supposed to go out for small amounts of exercise and things that we need to do, like grocery shopping or laundry. It’s all too surreal.
The week started out like a big experiment around working from home. Our apartment, pictured above, turned into a make-shift office/daycare. It was kind of fun at first. By day two it stopped being fun. Everyone figured out how to use Zoom and the novelty wore off.
We had a fun group Zoom chat on Monday, and I did one office hours session on Thursday. Those were highlights. The rest of the week was consumed by caring for our nearly one year old son, freaking out by watching the news, and Twitter, and worrying if we were going to be stuck here, indoors, forever.
On Thursday, there was a small break from the stress of it all, because, in a small way, we got to celebrate my 44th birthday. Amanda managed to cook me a really excellent cake, topped with candles, which I got to blow out with Noah sitting next to me—totally amazed. It was a nice evening.
But then Friday rolled around and my anxiety and stress boiled over. I started to think about all the micro-decisions we had been making over the past few weeks, and well, let’s just say, I nearly lost it. Amanda and I had a nice long talk about everything that evening, and I realized I was getting overrun by my addiction to the news and social media. So, I deleted all those apps from my iPhone and decided to just check email twice a day or so. No more pulling down to refresh Twitter. No more opening the New York Times and the Washington Post as soon as I wake up without my glasses even on yet. No more waiting for emails to arrive. Wipe it all away, and just check things out every once in a while from the laptop. So far it’s working, and I feel much, much better.
Still, its super weird here. Walking in the park is weird, going to the bank is weird. It’s hard to explain, or put into words, but it just feels strange outside.
But we are managing.
This past week, I decided to re-watch Apocalypse Now. I downloaded the Redux version, which is about three hours long, and watched it over the course of three nights. I am starting to think watching it contributed to my meltdown. It’s not about an outbreak or a pandemic or even a virus, but that journey to Kurtz’s camp, up the river, way up, and into the Heart of Darkness—it felt oddly relevant. The breakdown of everything we know to be sane, and everything we accept and understand—the closer to Kurtz’s camp we get, the more it all just turns into insanity.
And then I remembered something.
About three years ago, I decided to participate in “NaNoWriMo.” For those who don’t know, it’s an annual writing activity where people all over the world try to write about 50,000 words in a month. I decided to try my hand at this in November of 2016, and I just remembered what I wrote about.
I only made it through about 15,000 words. I’m not someone who ordinarily writes fiction, so it was a struggle—fun at first, but eventually I gave up. But, re-reading it now, I realized, it was something I should probably look at again.
The story is about a guy who in November of 2019 is living in his apartment in Brooklyn and never allowed to leave. It’s called “The Attack” and it chronicles the life of this guy who is forced to live inside his apartment following some kind of attack that happened three years prior. What?!
I’ve decided to share the first chapter here on my website. It’s not something I’m super proud of, but I thought you might like to check it out, and perhaps, if properly motivated, I’ll go back and keep working on it.
Also, the new website is nearly done. I’ve been having a lot of fun working on it, building little tricks and experiments. It now has the full archive of all of these emails, and soon it will have all kinds of other stuff—soon. In a week or two I will redirect the current site to the new one—we call it a launch!
Honestly, I’m gonna keep this one a little short. I know I’m not the only one who is overwhelmed and stressed. If you wanna chat with me, book an office hours session via my Calendly link. I’m happy to chat about whatever you like. I hope you are all safe and healthy and maintaining your own sanity. This is not gonna be the easiest time of our lives, but I know we will get through it one way or another. Just do yourselves a favor and get off the internet a little—trust me on this!
I hope you all have a great week.
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