“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”
~~ Emily Brontë

Hi all,

I somehow ended up working on not one but two stories.  So, as per usual these days, this is a bit thrown together.  And probably has some weird typos.  Been noticing an uptick of those which I'll choose to blame on my poor sleeping habits.  At least I actually remembered to take my melatonin these past two nights!

Anyway, I hope you're all doing well and staying safe and able to enjoy the spooky season!

God bless,

Quarantine Q and A- Six-ish Months In

So I decided we've been at this whole pandemic thing for over half a year and maybe I should do a check-in of sorts.  And that seemed easiest in a Q and A format so here goes...

How has this impacted your writing?

Well, it finally allowed me to get that "Haunting of Hill House" story done since, given it was about characters watching a TV show, it was pandemic-friendly. 

It did, however, delay a story I planned for early 2020 dealing with Joccy and Takoda going through a difficult time.  I'm currently working on that and it's now set in September 2020.  I had to let go of some ideas I had that weren't conducive to social distancing and such.  But I think what I came up with is pretty good.  It did strand Mary and Lucius in NYC for waaaay longer than I ever intended but I think that's okay with them.

After that's finished, I think I might look into doing some stories set in the past.  Weirdly, I've realized that I'm actually more at peace with my life during the pandemic than I am with my characters' lives.  I'm a homebody so other than just fretting over people's health, this hasn't been that difficult for me.  But it was really heartbreaking to not be able to have the Friends all mingling and hugging and just doing their thing.  So I'll probably step away from writing current stories for a bit.  I haven't decided what that means for the annual Christmas story.  Maybe it will all be set in the past.  Maybe it'll be relatively short vignettes of the assorted groups doing smaller, more intimate Christmas celebrations.  I don't start writing that until December usually so there's time for things to change.

And change they will...  Just in the couple of days since writing the above, I ended up writing (and am still tinkering with) a very short story in which Andrew returns to his AOD work.  That's pretty much how things have been...  One day I'll want to escape from the pandemic with writing, the next day I want to tackle it head-on.  And when I look at the Story Index, three of the four stories I've written since March were at least partially inspired by current events and weren't in any way planned.  So that adds another layer of uncertainty.  But some things I can say with relative certainty so...

How are the Friends handling the pandemic?

I think I cover Andrew, JenniAnn, and their household enough in "God in the Gloom" so I'll leave them alone except to say, again, that Andrew is now dividing his time between Dyeland and his assignments.  Otherwise, things are much the same as they were in March except Max, Rose, and Landon have started going home on the weekends.  Violeta still mostly stays at Willowveil but sometimes stays at Serendipity.

Initially, Arthur and Monica made the difficult decision for her to remain in Dyeland with Liam and Arthur to stay in New York to staff True Light.  That separation lasted for a couple of months.  After that, Arthur and Zeke started rotating their schedules so while one is off for two weeks, the other works.  Then they switch.  So after he tests negative, Arthur returns to Dyeland and his family for two weeks.  It's helped the trio immensely.

Diana and Zeke are adjusting to their new life, too.  Hailey's back at the house, teaching remotely along with Diana.  Kendra is also at home, attending college classes online.  And Manny is remotely connecting with his class in the Tunnels.  They're adjusting to no longer having Sy around the house but glad that they can occasionally visit him in Dyeland now... even if it is with masks and social distancing.

Sy and Ivy... now Ivy Lee-Wilson... are happily settling into married life.  This certainly isn't how they intended to start their marriage but, all things considered, they're doing well.  Leo and T'Challa, their dog and cat, are keeping them busy as are remote classes.  Ivy is continuing to pursue her advanced degrees at Fordham while Sy is in his final year of undergrad work. 

And maybe I'll just make it a thing where every newsletter I update on another few characters so I'll stop there for now.

Now some just for fun...

Which character do you think is handling lockdown the best?

While I think he has a lot on his plate what with being the leader of the Tunnel community, I'm gonna say Vincent.  His life has probably changed the least of all the characters.  The first few weeks were probably rough since there wasn't any passage between Dyeland and the Tunnels.  But after they opened that back up, Vincent was able to move about as freely as he ever could.  I mean it's not like he was ever able to just stroll into a theater or work out in a packed gym.  His biggest issue would just be concern about loved ones getting sick which is true for all of the characters.  Also, his biggest hobby is reading which is a very pandemic-friendly hobby to have.

What new skills do you think characters have learned while staying home?

Hmm...  I'm sure many of them had big plans that didn't exactly pan out...  But a few probably accomplished some things.

Since Owen is sequestered alone in an apartment for most of the day, I could see him taking up baking.  He probably sends treats into the hospital with Graham.

Given they can't be together physically with the regularity and closeness they're used to, I can imagine some of the Friends finding some sort of online game to play together.  Maybe Logan's leading an RPG or something.

Maybe Adam is giving knitting classes via Zoom.  I could see a lot of the Friends getting into that.  Seems like it could be calming.

I'd like to think they even figured out a way to make Spin-the-Bottle: Dyeland Style happen on Zoom.  I'm sure they miss singing together.

Could be Andrew and JenniAnn learned a new dance.  Maybe the bolero?

So what are they doing for Halloween since I assume their usual party is out?

Given the Halloween bonfire is outdoors, they might stick with that albeit with social distancing and masks.  Like instead of it being a free-for-all, households might be assigned times for picking a pumpkin, decorating cookies, or playing a game or whatever so specific areas don't get congested.  And the Fields of Gold is a large enough spot that everyone could spread out for a viewing of Hocus Pocus or something. 

Andrew is probably even more adamantly anti-Grim Reaper imagery these days.  But, other than that, I think this might be the year where even he goes all out decorating Willowveil.  Given JenniAnn hasn't left Dyeland and the Tunnels for over half a year, I think he'd want to make Willowveil as festive and exciting for her as possible.  So, yeah, he probably got
her a gigantic Halloween lawn spider or something.  Or maybe he just built her a bunch of bat houses.

More Jigsaw Puzzles for the Bored Among Us

So I've been feeling like doing jigsaw puzzles again so I cranked three new ones out if anyone's interested.

preview99pieceJohn Dye- Truck Photo
preview99pieceTBAA Trio preview117pieceA Rock and a Hard Place

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for keeping me from real boredom.  I mean how is it that I've largely been staying home for six months and am somehow not caught up on web site updates? 

JABB Portal
JABB 581

(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  They are not being used to seek profit.)