Covid-19 Quarantine. Week Seven. Still Alive – Marie Cooper

Actor’s Covid-19 Quarantine – Week Seven – Still Alive

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On my blog, I start each new Coronapocolypse week with ‘Still Alive’.  I’m glad I still am, because it would be really embarressing otherwise. No one knows my login details so I would remain ‘Still Alive’ until my webhosting ran out and the plug was pulled on my virtual world of waffle.

Quarantine Day 43
Monday 04 May 2020

Couldn’t get motivated to write today. Whoever said reading helps make you a better writer didn’t point out that it can also be a total pain in the butt.
It took me several days to shift the urge to have a timetraveller appear in the middle of my play (set in 1916), after starting to read ‘The Psychology of Time Travel’. Because no one would expect that. It would be amazing!

Then, it was the stupidist idea in the whole world of stupid. Even exceeding the stupid in the video of someone cutting a hole in their Coronavirus mask so they could breathe better. Okay, maybe not that stupid. JJ Abrams could probably pull it off. But I can’t… then I couldn’t remember where I was, before I got distracted by this stupid idea.

Then I moped that stupid ideas sometimes end up being the best ones. But the idea had been dismissed and refused to play with me any more. So I wrote lots of dialogue that I hated, then procrastinated because I hated what I had written, and drank too much coffee.

In other news, apparently we (‘We’, the country’, not the ‘Royal We’) now have a Contact Tracing app. Woo! So, the idea is to track anyone that a Coronavirus infected person has been in contact with. Meanwhile the asymptomatic, non-tested horses have already bolted and put their hoof prints all over everything.

Quarantine Day 44
Tuesday 05 May 2020

The UK scored some Coronapocolypse achievements today. We now have the highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe and have achieved it in a shorter time, overtaking and beating even Italy… Bet they thought they were in the lead, but we showed them.

Loving the plethora of writing groups, salons and workshops that have sprung up on Zoom and Facebook, helping writers keep focused… or distracted, whichever way you look at it.

They are certainly helping me get s*** done.  Today I re-drew an outline of my existing scenes including proposed (but not dead certain) cuts, and who is in each. Also re-read my Literary Consultancy feedback and kicked myself for not doing so at the beginning of Coronapocolypse. I definitely needed the boost in confidence after feeling a bit kicked down and bruised.

Probed a little more into the personality of the guy who is, the foil for my antagonist. He was feeling a little shallow to me. More chipboard than sounding board. Probably because I haven’t spoken to the poor guy in so long, he’s become virtually transparent.

Now wondering if adding a new female character was necessary, or wise. She totally kicked the hornets’ nest and changed the direction that everything was going in, causing a total plot meltdown, the shockwave of which has gone forwards and backwards throughout the whole play.   The edit is going to be so much fun… not!

Cheesus! This writing malarkey is harder than you think, once your foot starts to slide down multiple rabbit holes. I think I’m at the hard part now, of stitching all the pieces together and filling in gaps. Less baby steps now and more like toddling and bumping into stuff. A bit more lockdown please. At this rate, I might even surprise myself and finish this thing.

Quarantine Day 45
Wednesday 06 May 2020

The ice-cream man tootled passed my house at lunchtime. Did he not get the Coronapocolypse memo? Or is there evidence that suggests ice-cream prevents the spread of viral contagion? If so, I demand a public enquiry into why I was the last to know.

We have been sent forms to complete for a course I’m doing. On it we have to list our individual goals and we had to make them S.M.A.R.T. What if my goals aren’t S.M.A.R.T? What if I just want to remain relatively sane throughout lockdown. That’s smart but not S.M.A.R.T

What’s the point of automatically ensuring goals are achievable anyway? Where’s the fun in that? If they are most absolutely, definitely achievable, then it’s not much of a challenge, surely. Or am I missing the point? Maybe it’s not meant to be a challenge. Then, what’s the point of having them as a goal? If it’s too easy. I might as well just sit around and breath.

I am going to aim to breath (‘Specific’) between 17,280 to 23,040 times (is that specific enough?) or 12 – 16 breaths a minute (‘Measurable’) It’s the average human breath per day apparently, so hopefully it is ‘Achievable’… as long as I don’t die, which is unlikely (so fairly ‘Realistic’). I hope to do this every day, by the time I go to sleep (‘Time locked’). On exercise days, I might even push the boat out and do a few more (a bit more ‘Realistic’ness thrown in for good measure).

See! This is why I’m loving lockdown. The wonderfulness of my personality increases with my increased distance from bureaucracy and conformity.

I thoroughly enjoyed todays class though. I wrote three, three-minute freewrites, just based on pictures of hats. Totally surprised myself at how un-rubbish what I wrote was… for a change.

Quarantine Day 46
Thursday 07 May 2020

Had a mnuhffingrrbargle start to… day… whatever it is… because I had to put up with sorting out Hermes delivery, Customer Services, product exchange, chatbots, noisy neighbours and local council bureaucracy, all within less than 24 hours. I wanted to write today. I was too stressed out to write today. I could happily wish an entire year of lockdown on the country just for inflicting that on my brain.

Knew it was going to take ages to sort out, so I put off having to do any adulting whatsoever by stomping off out to wander the wastelands of Anglia Scare to get grumpy with people for being everywhere.
Played Pacman around Roy’s.

Whichever path I chose around the maze, there was a ghost blocking me off, preventing me from following the pellets or escaping back the other way. One ghost just hovered ominously, waiting for me whilst I browsed the wine, causing me to panic and run away before he moved closer.

Couldn’t even enter some areas, because they were cordoned off with yellow tape by the game devs who were laying out fresh power pellets. I came out with no bonus points or, more importantly, wine which didn’t help elevate my spirits (tenuous pun intended). I bought Oreos though. Nearly paleo. Only 3 letters away.

A bit of vitamin D and blood to the brain was just what I needed though. And a lovely email from one of the writing tutors from the beforetimes letting me know she was well. And Facebook messages from acting peeps. Got all my grown-up stuff done… eventually.

Also helped that, on my desk when I got home, I spotted the little people I scrawled out during the Hot Source Sketch notes meetup last night… which made me laugh. In fact, I laughed quite a lot during the Zoom. The speaker taught us how to draw “sketch notes” instead of just writing out textual notes.

If I remember nothing else, I did learn how to draw much better little people instead of ‘stickmen’. Still not great, but better than I’ve been drawing throughout my previous decades of existence. I can now draw little star men instead. I probably wouldn’t have gone to the meetup if it had been the usual in real life, in person, networking, thing, so another plus for Coronopocolypse.

Quarantine Day 47
Friday 08 May 2020

I’ve been flopping about in the dark, shady house in jeans and jumpers for weeks, looking like a furry sack of over-wintered turnips, but I noticed that the ‘outsiders’ seemed as if they might be warm, from the looks of their apparel. Assuming they weren’t just afflicted with the fever, that is.

I needed to go pretend to buy essentials so I could get wine, so I peeled off some layers and emerged from my hobbit hole, squinting. Though still in jeans, I felt a little decadent and a tad naughty, stealthing out for my precious, but not wholly necessary, quest items.

It’s not as if I were sneaking out to the hinterlands for a huge, secret barbecue feast with the multitudes. But I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if I were approached and questioned for wandering the wastelands, as far as Sparticus, should I look suspect in my almost-normal clothes.

I wondered whether it would be more appropriate to be liberal with the truth… to suggest that cow juice was the only sustenance I was questing for, should this be deemed more essential than grape juice. Or, perhaps feign innocence and lack of knowledge – which would not strictly be untrue as I’ve not been keeping up with mainstream news, papers or radio.

For all I know, the headlines could read that we’ve been taken over by aliens, or shifted into a parallel universe, where our politicians have become benevolent, honest and competent. Okay, that last bit is a bit far-fetched, but like I said, I haven’t been watching the news or reading the papers, so anything could have happened.

Or thirdly, I could just break into a run. That seems to work in the movies if an interrogator doesn’t have a projectile weapon or has been consuming too many rings of sugary dough. But that would be risk losing my quest items, if I had, by this point, achieved my goal and was carrying glass bottles.

Anyway, I returned from my succesful quest… presumably bug-free, time will tell… to play a couple of unsuccessful games of Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza before Offspring’s Offspring bedtime..I am much less good at this game than I thought I would be. It is both painful and brain melting. Not in a strategic or intellectual way. More like in a multiplayer Stroop Test kind of way. And it’s really difficult to play whilst also concentrating on not swearing in front of tiny people.

It was especially painful at the point at which sonface and I had a head-on, finger-collision accident. Which is more painful than it sounds. And slightly scary. Don’t want to break anything or invite infection during a Coronapocolpyse. If you want an escalation to Zombie Apocolypse, that’s how it happens. Even mini-descendent began shouting “My flipping goodness” every time she, yet again, flinched or lost for only doing only half a narwhale.

Quarantine Day 48
Saturday 09 May 2020

Today I observed that I am still using the same bar of Italian soap I was using pre-lockdown. I don’t think it is even half the size it started off as, as yet. I think it must be made using the same technology as the everlasting gobstopper.
The patent must be some kind of secret recipe passed down by Italian grandmothers for generations. One of those things that seems expensive, but not when the alternative option is to use ten thousand bottles of crap soap in the same timeframe.

I think if everyone had been given a bar of decent quality soap when Coronapocolyspe kicked off, the liquid soap market and the spontaneously dissolving bars of moisturising floof, would have crashed out of existence by now.

Gave myself a little motivational ego-boost boost by adding a couple of writing testimonials onto my website today. An effort to remind myself that some people have read my waffle and thought it had potential, in an effort to convince myself that it would be a crime if I died without finishing what I started. And if I don’t die, it will be a bonus achievement, because I might get to see it performed on stage.

The little boost worked, and motivation is turned up to 11 at the moment, so I’m making the most of it until lockdown ends and we return to the ***tty reality of ‘normality’. I added a sprinkling of peer pressure by arranging to be up super-early in the morning for an 8am Writing Salon.

I was in bed at 8.30pm tonight, in an effort to fool my mind and body into thinking it’s later than it actually is. As long as the noisy bellends next door don’t bang, shout, cackle and rutt until 1.30am again,  it’s possible I might even be able to sleep and be up and awake in time. I informed squishy of my plan to be awake unusually early, so she will be joining me, for writing and bacon… Alarms set… Writing plan, planned… Everything crossed…

Quarantine Day 49
Sunday 10 May 2020

Today I was mostly being a lert…

Got up bright and early with the Squish to eat bacon and write. Unfortunately, in my excitement I had forgotten to pre-register for the Zooming code for the writing salon. I was not going to waste the miracle of me actually getting up at 6.50am so we wrote anyhoo.

We both spotted an anonymous birdie land on the washing line, later identified by Google, as a goldfinch. It had better manners than the disgusting blackbird who ate, ‘God only knows what’ off of the kitchen, outlet-pipe drain cover. Who knew that the ick that gets squished down the plughole is blackbird MaccyD? Am tempted to refer to all aftertimes junk food as drain-goo.

Saint-like keyboard warriors took time off from walking on water and bringing the dead back to life to take offence at me today. The fact that I have such a cheery disposition and I am not carrying the whole world’s burdens on my shoulders like a stout, mini, Atlas-Morlock, sitting in my pants for seven weeks, crying into a bag of uncooked pasta, they concluded that I must be wealthy.

Instead of admitting that although relatively one of the poorest in this country, I do acknowledge that I am in fact incredibly fortunate and privileged in the scheme of things, and they could not comprehend how much I appreciate that and the resilience I have gained from it. I have a roof, food, good health, family and I am a happy bunny in my own skin.
I could have said all that… but instead I did a lol face, which offended them more. Isolation must be biting after all. I broke my ‘don’t talk to the virtual people on the internet’ rule. I am talking to you people, but you are my real peoples. And I like you. Well, the majority of you. See! This is what happens when I don’t get enough sleep. Sarky! 

Not sure if today is the end of quarantine, the beginning of the end, the levelling, the peak, the trough, the easing off, or the following the yellow brick road. I didn’t watch the UK government daily update. Even though it was meant to be some kind of “announcement”. I had a feeling it was going to be utter bollox.  I was going to wait for everyone else to translate and summarise the ****storm. From what I can gather so far, the general consensus seems to be “What the flying monkeys was that all about?”

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