Adventures in Time and Space

I’m trying not to climb the walls, mostly because I don’t have any energy and my eyes are hurting all the time. Last night sleep was broken so that hasn’t helped the lethargy today either.

For the most part I’ve been reading and trying to write and draw, but my heart hasn’t been in it. Instead I’ve been drawing together a wide selection of fellow geeks and oddballs so we can support each other online. A discord server is up and running, and we’re planning an online game of Cards Against Humanity for this evening. Even if that doesn’t go to plan, we now have a lively chat group all reaching out and supporting each other.

Good deed for the day, I feel. I’m currently deciding how apocalyptic I want to start dressing. It’s a bit damp and wet out there for full Mad Max-style leather and studs, but I’m thinking something a bit steampunk and dramatic.

This should do for checking the mailbox

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Self Isolating

Well this morning started with a slight breathlessness and tickle in the chest and a bit of a dry cough – and the news that both Lady M and myr s aren’t feeling great either, so we’ve gone into isolation.

Lady M can work from home, and while my job is mostly public facing I can at least access email remotely to keep in touch. I had a long conversation with my boss and a co-manager to arrange immediate issues and then stayed in and posted a note to our local FB group for the estate. It’s lovely to be able to report that the messages of support have been heartening.

The hope, obviously, is that these are just colds, or if we do have covid that it’s mild enough that we can just get through and back to to normality – whatever that is. The local shops have imposed rationing in the face of widespread panic-buying so I guess we’ll see how we go.

Between my diabetes and Lady M’s asthma we’ve been mentally prepared to lock down but there is still a sense of things being out of joint. In the other household, myr s is concerned about their father and brother – both of whom have health issues – as well as the cub. Fortunately Lady J is in robust health, but has concerns for her mother who lives locally.

I’ve just woken from sleeping a while this afternoon. Lady M is asleep on the sofa as I write. We’re both trying to vary our days and activities so we limit how much walk climbing we do. I plan to adopt some of my freelancer days routines to break the day up in the process.

Fortunately I largely live as a hermit anyway so the mental shift isn’t too great. I’m mostly just struggling with a sense of guilt that I’m not out there working and helping people, even though I know that this is the sensible thing to do that minimises hurting anyone else.

Oh well. I now have no excuse for not writing something every day at least.

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Passing Time

I’ll preface this by saying I don’t currently feel unwell. That said I can’t help but be nervous just from all the reports of illness, and the notices from people on my social feeds that they are either infected or self-isolating at the moment. Coupled with the panic buying in the local shops, which is the worst I’ve ever seen, and I’m having to actively manage my time and reactions to keep a steady keel.

Lady M and I have spent this evening anxiously on different sofas thanks to her chest feeling “a bit rattly” when she got home. With no temperature or actual cough, not to mention the feeling disappearing once anti-histamines were taken, we’ve tentatively put it down to anxiety and hay fever. But we’re still sleeping in separate rooms to be on the safe side tonight.

Chatting online with myr s, they’re not coping with the worry well either. We’re all of us anxious for our families and loved ones. We’re all total geeks so the thought of enforced time at home with our books and games isn’t particularly daunting – it really is just the potential knock-on to others that has us all on edge.

For my part I’m just hoping that I’ve merely got the plague from a particularly persistent cougher who took over the public PC area this afternoon. Bit of plague can be treated, it’ll be fine.

Anyway, haven’t got time to brood, I’ve books to read and drawings to complete

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Short Story: The Voice

One of the secrets that both literature and films would have us believe is that magic is a matter of knowing and speaking ancient languages. An extra corollary of this is that any such magical curses or writings will mysteriously be able to be translated perfectly into a modern day idiom and set of rhymes even though all language drifts and warps in tone and usage by way of slang and cultural references.

The secret is that such ancient forms of language are a key for the reader’s brain to process and operate in a correct fashion so as to manifest the expected results. By forcing the brain to process concepts in a given way, shortcuts can be taken in exercising will. Most people reading from grimoires and crumbling texts are therefore effectively using a fixed “off the shelf” means of creating an effect.

This is where the concept of the classics enters – your fireballs and magical missiles, spells of invisibility and illusionary faces, and the summoning and banishment of ghosts, ghoulies, and other things that go bump in the night.

With familiarity comes assumption and, dare I say it, laziness. Everyone ‘knows’ you use dead languages like Latin to make things happen. They rarely stop to wonder why Ancient Rome wasn’t consumed in fire or by demonic forces during the course of day to day conversation in the average marketplace.

Here’s where the second part of the puzzle clicks into place. Rome didn’t implode because there was no intent behind the words to create magic effects. Well, largely because they thought you had to read from the secret texts of the Egyptians, Sumerians or Scythians. Are you spotting a trend yet?

So that’s what brings me back to the look of surprise on the mugger’s face when he found himself instantly obeying my command to “Drop it!” His knife was already falling from suddenly splayed and arthritic fingers before the pain registered. Magic gave the push to the voice of command.

He may have even dropped it in surprise without the curse’s bite. That’s one of the fun things about applying some common-sense assertiveness training and attitude. The hours spent practicing the mental gymnastics so that I could invoke the curse just add the sting and make it easier.

It’s one of the reasons that people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m a wizard, and I will never tire of being underestimated. Magic, as I keep telling people, is the art of lying – and I’m very good at it.

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Lazy Sunday

We’re having a quiet day chez myr s. The dogs are in close attendance as a Sunday roast is prepared; and the cats have retreated under the sofas to pursue their private vendettas out of our sight.

The tegu has appeared briefly to sniff the air and gone back to sleep. The tortoise has paused in his efforts to headbut his enclosure down. The cub is… Well he’s engrossed in YouTube videos that mostly seem to be full of people overreacting with screams at the camera.

So that’s the extent of our excitement today, with music contesting with a sport channel for providing background noise. We had a late night fuelled by YouTube so our body clocks are urging a slow day ahead of the couple of hour’ work that myr s is scheduled for later.

I plan to finish and post a short fiction piece later while they work: I’m determined to keep fighting to get back to writing regularly.

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Roll on the Weekend

I’m working in a quieter library this week, so while there are fewer people around it does still make for a reasonably steady rate of use, even with people starting to twitch about potential illness. I’ve had two people this week mention they’re stocking up on books to read if they have to isolate themselves, and our numbers for events are down. So far though the very British shrug is being deployed.

That said, I am looking forward to having the weekend off, especially as I’m going to go see myr s for a couple of days. Getting away and letting the sea air clear the lungs a bit is definitely in order – and it’s also the second anniversary of my collaring them so there are some small presents to exchange which is always fun.

At least I’m generally aware of what my body’s usual range of complaints is so I’m not panicking when my fluctuating sugar levels give me sweats, or my sinuses complain when I shift stock and boxes around, disturbing dust in the process. Here’s to as calm a weekend as possible.

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My, My, My Corona

Well, hello pandemic – we’ve been expecting you. Of course, being British and therefore fundamentally fatalistic I’m looking forward to getting it and not even noticing, or complaining that I get it while I’m booked off on leave already.

The most immediate impact in our household has been that Red Dragon 6, a Hannibal convention due to take place in a couple of weekends’ time, has just been postponed. The costumes will therefore stay in storage and we’ll find something to do, even if it’s just the three of us curled up on the sofa, possibly with the cub in attendance too.

I’m still not quite sure why everyone is panic-buying toilet rolls or why people are even buying antibacterial bottles and sprays and ignoring the soap.

In the meantime let’s all keep calm and carry on. If nothing else it has been very confusing for a Hungarian colleague of mine who thinks we’re not taking things seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The thing is: I work with the public – people of all ages and backgrounds – so I’ll almost certainly come into contact with it if I haven’t already. I’m also diabetic and am being treated for my blood pressure, so I’ll just keep being hygienic, touching my own face as little as possible, and limiting the possibility of my passing anything on to anyone else if I cough or sneeze – the same as I do with coughs, colds, the flu, or any other seasonal illness that does the rounds.

And my depression also chips in here, that if I get it and die, eh…

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