May 14, 2020 will mark exactly one year since I was divorced. Yeah, I know, I didn’t write anything about that here until now; mostly because Kate hadn’t mentioned it to anyone besides close family, and neither had I. But then she started posting hints about it on Facebook, and after a while the whole thing was pretty much public knowledge. All the same I wasn’t that comfortable about telling the world. Until now, I guess, with it being the one-year anniversary (bad choice of word?) and all.
So, reasons: I’m not going into details; it’s still a bit personal for both of us. Suffice to say it was mutual, amicable, and didn’t involve adultery or anything like that. (There is, however, a Nigerian romance scammer involved. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.) And she divorced me, if that matters at all.
In fact, we’re still living in the same house. That might sound a little weird until I mention that Kate has had worsening health and mobility issues that make it pretty much impossible for her to take care of herself. Since no-one else could be bothered to step up and help out, that left me as the only caregiver in sight. I don’t like it—under different circumstances I’d have taken off back to England months ago—but I can’t just abandon a disabled woman to fend for herself. I can’t go anywhere until I know she’s safe, with a roof over her head and someone to take care of medical needs. That means I’m going to be here for a while yet.
Along Came COVID-19
…and that’s just made things a lot more difficult. Kate’s had a few incidents (falls and such, mostly, but also a couple of pretty bad infections) that have put her into hospital several times over the last couple of years. And she happened to be in hospital when people in the US began to realise that COVID-19 isn’t the nothingburger that the lying orange sociopath in the White House, and his hangers-on and cronies, want everyone to believe. It’s serious. It didn’t really hit me until one Saturday morning when I decided to treat myself to a steak-and-eggs breakfast at the local IHOP, and found myself in a place about a quarter full (on weekends the place is usually filled and with a long line of people waiting for seating), and having coffee, condiments, and pancake syrup brought to my table in individual containers. And then they restricted visiting hours at the hospital, and started checking my temperature when I went in. Then they stopped allowing visitors altogether.
They brought Kate home Friday before last, and since then I’ve had to be extra careful with social distancing, mask -wearing, hand-washing, and all the rest. Not so much for me—although I’m more than a little worried about some of the nastier effects the virus is reported to have—but more for Kate, since in her weakened state it could very well prove fatal if she were to get it. Which is why I get more than a little bit angry at some of the things I’ve seen when I’ve had to go out for supplies. For example…
- The prat who argued with a store greeter when he tried to go in through the out door, not wearing any kind of face covering despite the signs pointing out that it’s a county ordinance, and said greeter stopped him (I honestly thought a fight was about to break out, and I’m real glad the idiot wasn’t packing);
- The young couple who had masks on to get into the same store, then immediately removed them as soon as they were inside—and who then proceeded to giggle at everyone around them as if it was a huge joke;
- The store staff who saw them do this and didn’t challenge them or ask them to put the masks back on;
- The guy who stood two feet behind me waiting for the pet food store to open, and got all shirty when I asked him to please keep his distance;
- And various assorted meat-heads who plainly think that wearing a mask is uncool or projects weakness or some other bullshit. They’re likely to be finding out how cool they look in a ventilator, or a casket.
Any one of these shit-for-brains could be infected and not know it, and pass it to me so that I end up getting Kate infected, with potentially tragic consequences. Hence, extra care and making trips to the stores only when absolutely necessary. I’ve wondered about getting a t-shirt made with the message, “HIGH-RISK PERSON AT HOME—PLEASE WEAR A MASK AND KEEP YOUR GODDAMNED DISTANCE”.
On The Writing Front
Most things writing-related have gone to pot the last couple of years. Dealing with the divorce and then having to act as caregiver for my ex, on top of holding down a full-time job (I’m one of the lucky ones in that respect; I’ve worked at home for a number of years so I’m used to it, and I still have a job and I can still pay the bills), leaves zero time for more creative pursuits. I’ve been able to scribble down a lot of notes for story ideas and such, but I need focus time to be able to carry those ideas further, and simply put I don’t get that free time any more. In fact I get very little free time at all, and when I do I’m usually too tired to brain and end up watching TV. That will change, eventually, but it could be quite a while.
(Incidentally, I also paid for Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass—which I heartily recommend and I found to be worth every penny.)
My publisher has all but closed up shop due to illness (no-one ever bothered to tell us, the writers, about that until relatively recently). Which explains why my copy editor was in touch less and less often, even though we’d got four or five chapters into editing the draft of Artemis. So even though technically that script is under contract, the fact that not a stroke has been done in at least eighteen months is, I think, good enough for me to ignore said contract. So at some point—after my situation has stabilised a bit—I’m planning on paying a professional editor to work with me on Artemis and Phantasms with a view to getting them both self-published. (I’ve had it with trying to find an agent. I hawked Phantasms to twenty or thirty agents, and although several had nice things to say about it, the answer was still no. Life’s too short. I’m good with self-pub.)
And once I’ve got those scripts moving—or possibly even in parallel with that—I want to get writing again. As I mentioned, I have a number of ideas but there are one or two in particular that I really like, and would very much like to develop.
And On That Note
…I had a list scribbled down with all the topics I wanted to cover in this overlong post, but I can’t lay my hands on it and I know there was something else. No matter. That’s one thing about a blog—if I remember it or find that list, I can write another post tomorrow.
So until next time, gentle reader: Stay safe—wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, and check in again soon. I’ll be trying to post more frequently from now on.