In March of 2020, my place of employment had all office employees head home for what was thought to be two weeks. Two years later, things finally look like they did before. Driving back to the same office in my same car and seeing (mostly) the same people.
But there have been changes. Sure, some of those are occasional use of masks and a habit of social distancing (much appreciated, I like my personal space!) but there’s other changes too. Changes in every person in every person I reconnect with who went off and had their own completely different experiences over the last two years. And as the weeks go on, it’s become more apparent that I’ve had the same happen to me. I’ve changed too.
Try as we may to put it behind us while re-joining society, most of those self-appointed medals and self-afflicted scars that we earned over the past two years `are here to stay for a while. Might as well show them off a little!
For this post, I’ll be taking a look inward to some of the ways my own interests and tastes have altered since early 2020. A bit of a reminder to myself that they weren’t years lost to time, even if they were really strange.
Music – The pandemic, musically, will always be defined by how I reached back into the past. 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, old made new again. More than television, music became a constant in the home and, with some help from Amazon Music, we were able to explore some of the classic bands that I always figured were over-hyped or too primitive to bother catching up on. Bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin are still played loudly on a daily basis, shelving the more modern bands I’d usually have on.
Film / TV – The news became too much of a bummer to watch. Reality TV shows became too scripted-feeling and boring. So, I instead streamed plenty of great movies. While it would surprise nobody that my favourite movie of the year goes to Dune, there were plenty of other surprise hits for me too. One in particular was Bo Burnham’s Inside. A one-man / one-room Netflix special that chronicle’s Bo’s year-long journey in exploring issues like social media, mental health, politics, age, and more through songs and skits. It’s a brilliant masterpiece in both concept and execution, completely winning me over as a newcomer to his material. Nothing will ever sum up the pandemic more for me than during All Eyes on Me, where he says, “… and then the funniest thing happened.”
Literature – I’ve been steering myself back into horror while working on a few projects of my own. There’s some excellent litmags that scratched this itch for me. Pyre Magazine, Vanishing Point, and Cosmic Horror Monthly to name a few. The one book that best defined our strange times right now, for me, was Catriona Ward’s The Last House on Needless Street. Wow, seriously, I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a book in the horror genre that so painstakingly plants you within the walls of their setting. Everything feels dangerous, rotting, and poisonous. Not a single character can be trusted with even the most basic of facts. And there’s a cat that reads the bible! If you think you lost a bit of sanity lately while being stuck inside, wait until you see when is endured within these pages.
Sports – Despite all the talk above about being stuck inside, there was so much I got up to outside as well. Fun, uplifting activities. Playing at parks, going for long walks, running. The big one though was returning to skiing after a four entire winters of nothing. Now, this is huge for me. I’ve been on skis since I was two years old, moved up to downhill racing at eight, then began teaching skiing at fifteen. Teaching is something I did until thirty-two. It was incredible to get back out there, and with my family as well. The whole experience felt familiar and fresh at the same time. We’re definitely going to keep that up next winter.
Those are my highlights! How about yours? Is there anything we are similar on from the topics above? It’s definitely time for everyone to start building new connections with people all around us. Those connections establish empathy, and empathy is a wonderful tool against anger towards others.
In other news, I’m sure my usual readers have noticed a slowdown in blog post frequency lately. That’s just because I’ve been putting every bit of spare time that I find towards the novel project. My current draft is sitting at 35k words currently. Getting there! I also have a short story being posted in audio form soon, so I’ll provide an update on that when available. Until then…
Keep turning the page,