How’s the whole working-from-home thing going for you? If you’re struggling with it, my advice would be not to sweat it just yet. I’ve been working from home for the better part of 25 years, and yet I have really struggled this past week. I can’t stop scrolling the news and looking at Twitter, and the background drone (with occasional squealing guitar solos) of anxiety makes it really hard to focus on work. I can only imagine how this is exacerbated for those of you who are trying to set up a home-work system and routine for the first time. Don’t beat yourself up. Give it a few days, you will get into it.
Our world is changing. I’m reluctant to tag the word “forever” onto that, because “forever” is a word you don’t get to use about the present. There seem to be a lot of people around at the moment determined to write history essays explaining the long term impact of something that happened last Tuesday. This is big, but we don’t know how big and we don’t know what the lasting impact will be. Everyone just hang on tight and we’ll see where this goes.
Here’s some things I’ve done over the past few days to mitigate the fear and to find some positives in all this:-
I donated to the Big Issue because their sellers really shouldn’t be on the streets and yet they still need to get some kind of income to survive. You can give them some money or subscribe digitally HERE
I donated to Sali Hughes’ drive to help people who can’t afford it to get basic hygiene and anti-bacterial products.
I joined the Goldsboro Books Book Of The Month club. They’re going to be sending me a brand new first edition hardback every month and that just feels like a nice treat to look forward to.
I ordered a shit-ton of gourmet popcorn from Popcorn Shed, to make watching movies and TV in the evening a little more of an event.
I also yesterday got my hands on a Fluid Stance board, which is an indulgence but OH MY GOD it is already changing my life. I’m standing on it right now as I read this and it has made me actually WANT to be at my desk for a change. I have faith that it will also provide some much needed exercise for muscles that would otherwise atrophy over the next few months.
I also ordered the new iPad Pro, because if a global plague isn’t the perfect excuse to spaff money on something you don’t really need, what is?
Over on the INFODUMP blog, I published my current reading list. To save you the click, here it is:
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Joe Country - Mick Herron
The Catch - Mick Herron
The Power Of The Dog - Don Winslow
A Place Of Greater Safety - Hilary Mantel
The entire Grant Morrison Batman run
Ninth House - Leigh Bardugo
Agency - William Gibson
Berlin Game - Len Deighton
Sherlock Holmes and The Shadwell Shadows - James Lovegrove
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O - Neal Stephenson
The Anubis Gates - Tim Powers
I’m also planning on putting up a list of music that might help ease anxiety and help with focus. After that, there’ll be a list of movies and TV shows and maybe some tabletop game recommendations too.
The INFODUMP slack channel seems to be coming back to life (email firstname.lastname@example.org for an invite) and yesterday on there Michael Marshall Smith pointed us to the MessyNessy website, which is an AMAZING place to lose some time out of the real world.
As mentioned last time, Zoom is really helping me to connect to the world and some of us have already instituted “Zoom Coffee” which, as the name suggests, is the stay-at-home version of having coffee with a friend. True to form, I still manage to be a few minutes late to these, but I think that adds a little verisimilitude to the proceedings.
Stay safe. Wash your hands. Get some air (but not in crowds), and try to find the upsides to social isolation - there are always upsides. We’re all in this together and we’ll come out the other side of it together.
If you need me, I’m on Twitter as @julianactual and on Instagram as @juliansimpson and I’m mostly keeping the Slack Channel open on my desktop.