Throughout the pandemic, we had to continually adapt to a changing, often confusing situation none of us had ever navigated. For me, the first few days of lockdown in March 2020 felt like extended snow days with our kids. Home bound, all of us endured what we hoped might be a short storm. We didn’t know much, and what we knew was frightening. We were good on supplies, so we just waited to see.
Then the waiting revealed more information. This thing would last a lot longer than folks first anticipated. School-at-home, work-from-home became the norm and we adapted.
- We set up a folding table in the living room which became our kids’ “school,” with Zoom-enabled laptops.
- We parsed out the shopping trips and went at irregular times to avoid any crowds.
- My wife and I set up our attic as our home office.
- We socialized remotely.
But each of those solutions had their own pains, and subsequent adaptations.
- The girls often talked over each other – so we had to move them to their respective bedrooms for school.
- My wife and I heard literally EVERYTHING about each other’s days and dueling teleconferences got frustrating—so I relocated my office to the unfinished, unheated basement.
- My setup was not ergonomic and chronic pain flared—so I tweaked and refined it as well as I could.
The basement was cold as hell during the winter—so I got a blanket, space heater, and ushanka hat.
Despite the discomforts, there were some benefits to the basement. It was quieter, making it easier to think and work. The cat occasionally visited me, so I made her a window perch—which she promptly ignored.
Socially, my D&D group switched to an on-line presence, meeting for 4-5 hours once a week (which, frankly, was more frequent than the 8 hour sessions we’d previously had 8-12 times a year). As the weeks went on, our on-line gaming became as much a support session as anything else. We spent the first part of every game just catching up and sharing stories of ailing parents and familial logistics.
During these games, I snacked anxiously, which wasn’t healthy, so I took up sewing instead to keep my hands busy and avoid the junk food.
A more recent adaptation – I drafted this article while waiting for my daughter at the orthodontics office, rather than swimming through social media.
And I’ll keep adapting, as things will continue to change. As I write this, it occurs to me how funny it is that life imitates art. In A Togahan’s Debt, my characters have their own version of this struggle, adapting to changes and hits they didn’t anticipate (the reason it’s funny is that most of Debt was drafted well before the pandemic).
Despite these unexpected influences, Debt’s heroes reform their plans and execute on them, and in turn their enemies adapt as well. I hesitate to conclude that writing Debt prepared me in any way for dealing with the pandemic, but I hope that, maybe, the novel might inspire you—my dear readers—to adapt and engage the challenges in your own lives.
A Togahan’s Debt will be released on Sunday November 27, 2022 (ebook form only) but is currently available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Order now to be sure you have it on day 1! Also, all Togahan books will remain at $4.99 until January 5, 2023, but then I gotta raise the price to help cover expenses.