Synchronized swimming by uwdigitalcollections, flickr

I am excavating beginnings of some old short stories to find points of tension and direction with the thought of developing one or more of them. I have hit on one, so, fingers crossed: An epistolary horror about a dystopian society formed by a capricious dictatorship unconcerned with the hopes and dreams of the little fella.

I have found it hard to start much that is new during the current conditions of the pandemic. I am finding I breathe better creatively when there is more movement happening. On the other hand, I can become too energetic and distracted when there are so many things happening, I don’t actually finish the longer work I start. I just write shorter. If I don’t get sick myself, I hope to use the current situation to concentrate. Slow myself down.

“Staged” is a British series on Hulu in which actors David Tennant and Michael Sheen play actors by the same name. Their play opening is postponed in the West End because of the pandemic. They use video conferencing technology to kvetch, get up to speed with spouses, and of course start getting a bit feral in appearance and behavior.

I’m about halfway through the current season. The inciting raison d’être of the calls is grounded in the desire of the director to get them together to rehearse. He believes their meetings will give them some advantage when things return to normal. But predictably, things start to fall apart.

On the one hand, it is hilarious and there is so much reality in the script I groan inwardly. On the other hand, it feels too real and so I take it in small doses. The very “real” part is the attempt to “take advantage of this golden opportunity.” In our current circumstance, I feel myself treading water even as I tell myself I’m making progress. And I do seem to have very ambitious friends who write a lot, no matter what. But I am not always convinced everyone advertises accurately.

In trying to survive psychologically, we are telling ourselves what we must. Lying to ourselves may be an escape. Other popular favorite escapes are eating and drinking. In “Staged,” Michael Sheen gets caught sticking a lot of liquor bottles in the recycling bin of an 80 year old woman. She comes to the door during a video conference and tells him to reclaim them. Ha!

I have been labeled an “escapist.” And now all these vehicles for escape are sending me down the rabbit hole.

Be well.