Covid — A Sequel No One Asked For

In September of 2022, I discovered I could no longer dodge the Covid bullet. I was not Neo.

I might be Neo now, but I doubt it. I tested negative today, but that’s not the whole story.

A couple of days ago, Chris started coughing. I’ve been coughing a little bit, and so has Melissa. We thought this was just seasonal allergies. Things are blooming all around us. We all get a bit congested in the Spring.

I haven’t really seen much of Chris the last couple of days. He’s been cooped up in his room, not feeling too well. He’s been congested and he’s had a bit of a cough, but his voice has been clear. Melissa and Chris talked about it earlier today, and she told him to take some allergy medicine. I didn’t know they’d had that conversation so when I asked him how he was feeling, he got a little bit exasperated and said he had a cough.

I asked, “Have you taken a Covid test?”

“I haven’t been around anyone,” Chris said. “There’s no way that I have Covid.”

“We have tests. You should still take one and make sure.”

He argued some more, but eventually acquiesced. He slunk into his room, and within 10 minutes, he was even more upset with me because his test came back positive. Apparently, he had been making plans to go out with his friends this weekend, and now his plans were ruined. He was very snippy with me about “being right.”

I didn’t want to be right. I just wanted to make sure he was safe, and that he wasn’t spreading a deadly virus.

I contacted my work. I tested negative, but I was still in the office on Wednesday, right around the time Chris started showing symptoms. Melissa contacted her coworkers that she visited with yesterday. We’ll all be isolating. Again.

It’ll be fine. I think between natural immunity from actually having it, plus the relatively recent vaccination, we’ll be fine. Maybe the virus has been swimming around in my system for a few days, but there’s not enough of it for me to show symptoms or test positive. Maybe the worst is yet to come. We’ll know more soon enough.

We should be completely over this before it’s time to travel to Utah for the Writing Excuses retreat in Bear Lake, Utah. Which means I have a short story to finish this weekend.


Not a Musk Fan, But…

Today, a SpaceX rocket blew up shortly after launch.

I found out about it today on Twitter, which from a certain point of view, is another super heavy platform that exploded unexpectedly.

If I google it, I’ll probably find some news about a Tesla blowing up or something. Maybe something like this.

I’m going to be honest. None of this makes me happy.

I’m not a fan of Elon Musk, but I like electric cars, space exploration, and yes, even social media. I still think social media was a mistake but I have friends there, and I don’t like losing touch with them. I have also said that my next car will be electric, and I believe that for humanity to survive, we must become a multi-planet race. We should fix our home, absolutely, but that is not mutually exclusive from going to Mars and beyond. In fact, we may have to learn some valuable lessons fixing Earth before we can a Mars colony viable.

The SpaceX vehicle exploded, and if you look at Twitter, you can see so many people celebrating this as another Musk failure. It isn’t, for a number of reasons, but it’s easy to get caught up in the Musk drama and use this event as a bad example of how Musk is bad for businesses and progress.

The reality is that there are a lot of engineers involved at SpaceX. Their stated goal was to lift off the platform, and the explosion is going to give them a lot of data so that the next launch attempt, they can set their goals higher.

It feels weird to me to celebrate today as a Musk failure. It also doesn’t seem right to laud it as a Musk triumph. It’s just rocket science, and I don’t believe Musk himself personally had much to do with it.

I hope SpaceX learns a ton from what happened today, and I hope their next attempt goes better.


Ideas Are Cheap

Sometimes when I tell people I’m a writer, they react by telling me what I should write. I had one person go so far as to say they would give me their idea, and after I wrote it, we could split the profit 50/50. He wasn’t joking. I did not take him up on this “generous” offer.

Some people seem to think that the idea is gold, but it isn’t. Ideas are easy. They can come from anywhere, at any time. For me, they bubble to the surface of my brain when I least expect them, usually when I’m at rest.

Like dreams, ideas are nothing until you start to work on them. Work towards a dream and it becomes a goal. Develop on idea and it becomes a story.

I have spoken with some writers that seem to think the idea has greater value than it does. They hoard their ideas like currency, waiting to spend them at right time. Usually these are people that haven’t actually finished a story yet.

I won’t go so far as to say that ideas have no value whatsoever. I collect them just like everyone else. One idea: a repo man from New Orleans that finds a ghost in the back of a car. That idea had enough value to it that I turned it into an actual novel (with a release that’s super close). Another idea: a possession story written in 2nd person. I developed that into a really creep novelette and, though it hasn’t found a home yet, it’s one I’m really proud of. Another idea: a necromancer that specializes in bringing plants back from the dead, living as a beloved and weird old woman at the edge of a village. It’s an interesting idea, and while I’ve done some outlining, I haven’t finished developing it into an actual story.

I’m not afraid of sharing my ideas with other people because I know that’s not where the magic happens. A truly good story comes from the writer. It’s in their implementation and the way they develop the idea.

If you lock ten writers in separate rooms, giving them the same writing prompt and not letting them out until they’ve finished their story, you’ll wind up with ten completely different stories. That’s assuming you actually provide care and sustenance to the writers. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some partial stories and ten corpses. Please don’t lock us up and starve us.

The true value of a story is not the idea, but the voice, experience, and work of the writer. Give a good idea to a bad writer and you’ll still wind up with a weak, uninteresting story. Give a half-baked, second-hand idea to a good writer and you’ll get something fresh, exciting, and unexpected.

All that being said, if I were to give advice it is this: enjoy your ideas and write them down. Keep track of them. Though ideas are cheap, the value they bring to the writer is the measure of how much they excite you. Just don’t let the ideas sit there. Pick them up and do something with them.