• Jason Haskins

Finding calm in the middle of a storm

Updated: Apr 14


Pause.


Breathe.


Two words that carry weight on any normal day. The last six weeks plus have taught us that much as we pause on a sense of normalcy.


It is day 27 of my COVID-19 stay-at-home journey. Others across the world have been at it much longer, others less so. There was this initial idea I had -- that many had -- that this time at home would lead to increased productivity. This would be a time to write more or, for others, to finish the projects they've been putting off for ages.


Instead, my free time has been spent on other endeavors, like working on puzzles:



Nights can even hold even more lack of direction, when the mind wanders and cleaning has been done and the inspiration to write has evaporated into thin air. Then, when there is a lack of sports to turn to, you develop your own action:



Not that there is anything wrong with the above, either.


The urge to create was a natural one to have. My mind went to a place of looking for opportunity where there is obstruction. The more I settled in, however, a more distinct notion took hold. The answer wasn't to burn the midnight oil even more during this difficult pandemic. The time was needed to step back, to examine what and who is important in my world. At a safe, social distance of course.


It was a time to reconnect with lost friendships, to read, to soul search and to reflect on grief and losses, joy and love, that have occurred in recent years.


This was my own journey. Each of us has our own story to tell.


For others, an even more harrowing task has taken place, whether it be working and teaching their kids, now at home with school districts saying "we're locking the doors, but we'll keep the learning going online".


To many, it was the sudden loss of a job and wondering how long this will last and where their next meal might come from.


And for even more, they'd watch as family members got sick and passed away, unable to even get close enough to pass along a final good-bye, a final prayer.


On a macro level, the world will be changed, in many ways for the better. There is a hopeful outlook, one where it is hoped people will truly look out for their fellow human being again. Skies have cleared in Los Angeles as in the area surrounding the Himalayas. A reset was a long time coming and hopefully, when a new normal settles in, it is one with kindness, respect, and love.


This idea keeps me going as I sit here in my apartment. The walls might be closing in more each day, but my hours are filled with writing, reading, watching shows, doing puzzles, or simply staring at the ceiling. That's what keeps me going. And hope.


Writing Updates


Life hasn't been all puzzles over the last month. There has still been plenty of writing, with the main focus on completing a rewrite of my latest full-length play, Half Past Midnight. Finished this up earlier today and look forward to sending it out for feedback from readers (and beyond).


There's been an occasional sports article, writing about past teams and legends. Did some writing on March Madness and also took a look at the top domestic box office films from the last 40 years (with a tournament included).


Other projects have been worked on, including a bit on The Dragon Slayer. Book two in the "Magic of Crieo" series has gone slower than expected, but that's largely because I've been working on building out the fantasy world of these stories. Timelines are more focused, race history is being explored, and so on. Hopefully this will reflect in the writing and the stories I tell down the line.


The Rest


I have also taken this time to catch up on television shows, movies I'd put off watching, and reading. I recently finished reading 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, which I highly recommend.


The most recent movie I finally got around to watching was Jojo Rabbit. This is an excellent film, with wonderful, nuanced performances and a fantastic script by Taika Waititi (based on the novel by Christine Leunens). And I will leave you today with the quote that ends the film.

"Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Be bold. Be kind. Wash your hands.



L-i-v-i-n that stay-at-home life







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