Posted in General

June of 2020

When I started writing this post, I wanted to focus on June and what’s happened this month. It was supposed to be the same as any of my other recap posts.  As I wrote however, it felt false and in many ways, forced.

June has been a painful and frustrating month. For me, the first week and a half was filled with moving to the new house as well as transferring to a new job location. The fire season in my state is above average; we won’t see an end to that until monsoons begin. Here in America, clashes have started because of systematic racial discrimination and blatantly willful ignorance. On a widest scale, there is a global pandemic which we cannot combat, and is forcing us to adapt as a global society.

These are not new issues. There are many of them and they are all frustrating and painful. They are large issues and when you’re faced with how to handle them all together, it can feel as impossible as trying to turn the tide. You feel small and helpless as one person. One person cannot turn the tide.

One person can, however, clean up a beach.

One person can tell a story.

One person can spare a dollar or a dime.

One person can adopt a dog.

One person can read a book.

One person can lend a hand.

You do not have to do all of these things. You are one person, but you are not the only one. While you write the story, someone else will read it. While you lend a hand for an hour, someone else will give spare change where it’s needed. While you rescue an animal, someone else is cleaning up the beach.

We are all just one person, but there are billions of people on the planet. Imagine the impact we could make if we all collectively made one choice to help someone or something else in need. That might be helping an elderly neighbor collect their groceries. That might be volunteering or donating to an animal shelter. That might be deliberately finding a new creator to support. That tiny action impacts someone else. A single action of kindness, of empathy, of simple positivity.

Every month, I like to put an aim in my agenda. Usually it’s something for me to work on personally, but I think the one I put down for May of 2019 fits here. Small positives create large impacts.

There are plenty of awful things in the world, but there is a reason why there’s always a story somewhere about the good things. Maybe it’s about a child who cuts off her hair to donate. Maybe it’s about the police officers who help a child’s lemonade stand. Maybe it’s that story about a kitten who finds a forever home.

These are the small positives. They might only stay with you for a moment. They might be the story you remember vaguely years later, but they are the positives. They are the reminders that yes, things are awful. The world is a terrible place with tragedies and travesties galore.

But it’s also full of people. Singular people that, together, have an enormous power. Your share of that power is not as minute as it seems. Those small positives collect and inspire more positives. They create a force of positive change.

Pick one thing. Be that writing a letter to a friend. Be that supporting a diverse creator. Be that offering time or donation to an organization. Be that offering to do an extra chore for a family member. Be whatever it is, pick one thing.

June has not been an easy month. 2020 has already been an trying year and we still have another six months to get through. But we’re not done yet.

Posted in General

Stay At Home.

As of writing this post (around 10:30, Thursday morning) Arizona has 508 confirmed cases of COVID-19. On Wednesday we were at 401 cases. 251 of those cases are in the county where I work: Maricopa county. While Maricopa is a big county, the explosive growth of cases is alarming.

UPDATE: As of March 28, 10:15, Arizona has 773 confirmed cases and 15 deaths.

I know you all are sick of hearing this. I know, staying at home is hard to do and it’s boring but please, stay at home. Some of you cannot, and I understand that. Your jobs have not been closed down (and for some of us, they likely won’t be). If you can, make sure you’re protecting yourself and anyone you come into contact with. Sanitize and disinfect your work surfaces as often as possible. Wash your hands as often as necessary (and don’t forget to use some lotion so your skin doesn’t dry out).

To those of you who are already doing these things, thank you. Thank you so much for following advice and doing what you can to try and limit the community spread. This is an incredibly difficult situation to be in and your efforts are noticed and appreciated.

I understand staying at home is boring and can get tiresome. If you have any sort of outdoor yard (especially one that is fenced in), now is a good time to use that space. Grab a blanket and have a picnic in your backyard. Play a game of tag with your kids if possible. Use a spare pillowcase for capture-the-flag. Make a scavenger hunt out of items like holiday decorations you have in storage. These can also be hidden around your house, not unlike an Easter Egg Hunt.

Try to avoid community outdoor spaces like pools and open barbecues. Hiking trails have become crowded as people try to find some way to both social distance and entertain themselves, don’t make the community spaces around your neighborhood into a danger zone for spread as well.

If you don’t have a reserved space outdoors or your weather makes the outdoors unusable, take your activities inside. Build a pillow fort. If you have kids or old children’s toys, go ahead and play with them: no one will judge you and you’ll entertain yourself. You can try clearing out a space to do an at-home workout, plenty of which you can find online.

Alternately, create something! I’m running a challenge this April if you’d like to get in on it. This also coincides with Camp NaNoWriMo. If writing isn’t your style, grab some paper and doodle, sketch or draw. I find artprompts.org a great place for inspiration. Alternately, I use the app What to Draw (on Android). You can also find hundreds of free coloring pages online. A quick search through your preferred platform can find you lots more.

You can also take this as a great time to expand skills or learn something you’ve been considering for a while. Duolingo is a good place to learn languages. You can also find  free courses through Alison and a rotating handful through CreativeLive. YouTube is another great place to find instructional videos, and a web search for free online classes will turn up even more.

While you’re at home with nothing else to do, go ahead and binge watch something (just remember to take a break and stretch every once in a while). Many streaming services have free-trial periods you can utilize. If you’re looking for something to read, there is a free Kindle app for both computers and smartphones–no e-reader necessary. Many books can be found for free (or check in with the authors you favor, they may know when their books are scheduled to be free or have other options for reading material. For instance, you can check out all of my free short stories and the links on my short stories page.) I also highly recommend The Drabble.

UPDATE: April 4th. Crimson and Gold is free today! Aurarin’s Song will be available for free from the 4th to the 6th.

If the lack of socializing is bothering you, hop onto Skype or Discord. Skype is great for video calling and sharing what you’re doing with others, while Discord can be used to set up groups like an online book club or DnD game, as well as stream between friends. You can also join up with friends in lots of online games, many of which can be found through the free-to-play section in Steam.

I know it’s hard because this is such a drastic change in lifestyle and routine, but please do what you can. Stay at home. And again, if you already are doing these things, thank you.