The New Normal is an Oxymoron

John Clark will not bombard you with another barrage of Covid gloom. Yeah, it’s here, it’s real, and I’m slowly wrapping my head around the probability that it’s gonna be with us forever (or some crazy number like that). Screw it. I’m taking all the suggested precautions, but at age 72, I don’t have time to rent much space in my head to pandemics. I’ve got too many odd, bizarre and creative thoughts running through it to be sad or bored. If you look carefully, there ARE some silver linings. Take projects we needed done to whip this place into shape. We were bedeviled with water problems. The back yard was a mudhole and the sump pump was billing us for overtime. The first two companies I contacted never responded, But Carrier Landscaping in Lewiston did, Dustin drove up on a Thursday, did an assessment and on Monday, we had an estimate. Andy who did the work, came up last Thursday and by Friday afternoon, we had two new French Drains in place. The sump pump is resting and the mud is gone. Over the weekend, Beth and I created a small garden space, agreed on what will go where and burned the remainder of the junk wood so things look even nicer. A pear tree, a flowering plum, six raspberries, and a grape vine have been planted. As I write this Caleb and his assistant are installing our new back deck and just discovered they have to remove the sliding door to address hidden rot under it in order to attach the new deck, but the bottom line is that another project is on its way to resolution.

My writing has already taken advantage of some of the possibilities inherent in the Pandemic. One of my Level Best entries takes place after the economic effect of the pandemic alters rural Maine. Another short story with a horror flavor taking place in rural Maine has been accepted for a Pandemic themed anthology. I tend to imagine along a line dividing horror and dark humor, a very fertile environment right now. In the pipeline are stories of varying lengths about a bored teen who falls asleep during a performance at Lakewood, only to wake up in the same seat after a performance in the 1930s, a teen with moderate OCD who discovers a skeleton while bush hogging an overgrown field, and another teen running from an abusive home, only to get hit by a car in a blinding snowstorm, ending up stuck between two dimensions.

Below are a few photos taken over the years. Each of them has the potential to spark a story idea. Which one does it for you and what is about to happen?



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2 Responses to The New Normal is an Oxymoron

  1. kaitlynkathy says:

    John, I love the way your mind works! And I want to read all of those stories.

    • Julianne Spreng says:

      My thoughts exactly! Those photos are choice. Each one excites ideas and none of them end well.

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