Wednesday, March 4, 2020

IWSG, March 2020

Is this the year March Madness refers to something other than college basketball? How obsessed are you with corona virus updates? You don't have to be a writer to have insecurities these days, but regardless of where your anxieties lay, let's give thanks to our intrepid IWSG host, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his awesome group of co-hosts: Jacqui Murray, Lisa Buie-Collard, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!

March's Optional Question: Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

Vampire Cat
Image: Dan Dvorscak

Say cheese, y'all!

Yes. For some of my stories, I like to stick myself in the background for fun (under a different name, of course). My current manuscript takes place at a college. I used to be a mathematics professor, and at the start of each semester, I would ask my students to take out a clean sheet of paper and write their name on it in big bold letters. Then I'd take the students' pictures holding their "name sign" and use those to learn everyones' name. My main character, a student, gets to participate in this tradition in an early chapter of the novel.

Now that I have a smart phone, I should bring back this tradition when I meet anyone new. (That wouldn't be weird, right?) I'm terrible at remembering names.


Most bizarre stuffed toys ever? Is one for the corona virus in the works?

So, how are you adapting to the pandemic, if we can call it that yet? Here are some of my questions:

1. Did the authorities wait too long to give this bug its name? Is anyone using "Covid-19" conversationally?  (I'm not.)

US states I've been to
Image: Miles Gehm

Red States: virus-affected or projected political wins?

2. Am I the only one getting political maps for the upcoming election and corona virus spread maps confused? (Probably.)

3. Have you given in to any panic buying? (Yes. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Zone Bars. My whole family is addicted to these things.)

4. How does the idea of isolation/quarantine for two weeks or more hit you? (Advantage: no getting up early for school. Disadvantage: No break from kids if they're home from school.)

Hope everyone stays healthy.


  1. It's all so disheartening, both the election and the virus. LOL But I hope we can all keep a sense of humor about it. We haven't gone crazy yet, by the time we should it'll probably be too late. LOL

  2. Taking pictures of people holding up their names is a brilliant idea!
    Did you hear the beer Corona has taken a hit in sales? People, it's not the virus - it's a beer. And it's made in Mexico, not China!

  3. Smart of you to take pictures of them with their names. I have a hard time remembering people's names.

    I did buy a little. Some soap, disinfecting stuff, a few cans, but I didn't go overboard. I already have stuff at home and wanted to make sure I had a little more on hand.

  4. That is smart to take the photo.

    Since Hawaii is in red and Alaska in white, I'm betting that's a virus map.

  5. I did something similar to your 'school' photos also. I took there photos with a digital camera and upload the pictures into a seating chart file I made and put student name under the picture. Had one for each period and if I moved students around later, I could move their picture accordingly. Apparently the subs loved having the chart also. I usually had names with face by the end of week 2 (meeting every other day). My favorite were the "Smith Brothers" who weren't brothers and one was white and one was black, but that's who they became from that class on. lol Anything to make teaching easier.

  6. That's a good idea to take pictures of your students or really any group of people that you're trying to remember.

  7. Well, I live in Massachusetts, and we are definitely not a red state, lol, so I'm guessing it's a virus map.
    I haven't done any panic buying. I do need a regular stock up trip so I hope all the stores aren't out of toilet paper!

  8. I'm in the take precautions, but don't panic camp when it comes to infectious diseases. I can't do much more than exercise common sense when it comes to something as large as this. But I do the same during flu season.

  9. What a lovely tradition with your student pictures. Shows that you care.
    The virus toys - not sure if they are cute or repulsive. Or both. Does anyone actually buy them?

  10. I am horrible with names too. I feel so bad for it. I'll remember the face, but the name will often elude me.

    I am not in a panic. I am too old for it. So far, I have survived the end of the world a few times over...let's see I've survived the Cold War, the coming ice age, the mega-population boom/food shortage, countless viruses (AIDS was pretty damn scary, let me tell you...and the beginning of herpes...or was it that I was at the height of my youth? It did get me to keep my pants on, for the most part, so there was that). Bottom line- bad things come and go and the world keeps spinning. Imagine being our grandparents and surviving WWI and II, those guys had to think the world was certainly coming to an end.

  11. Too funny Tamara!

    I got a really bad flu virus or something a couple weeks ago. Hit me hard, but did not put me in bed. Or kill me. My sister worried it was the Corona V; I had not heard of it. See how much I follow world news? Who is running for President?

    I can always remember a face, in a specific context, but I need 50 First Dates to put both together almost consistently.

    My husband wishes I was stock-piling food! I'm on the road 5 days a week and he doesn't grocery shop. Two weeks home cooking and cleaning for my Hubby? Nah, I'll pass :)

  12. really enjoyed this light-hearted approach to the pan-demonium virus panic!
    love the stuffed animals and links to the political map!
    i’m also a math teacher, so that might be why i enjoyed this so much! great name learning technique-i’m stealing it and twisting it! haha

    also wanted to say thanks for stopping by my Beast World campaign at Alex’s

    Tara Tyler Talks

  13. I'm currently on Day 8 of self-quarantine and wondering why I'm enjoying these days of quiet so much. Guess being older than average has some benefits. Just feeling very fortunate I've been able to travel because such adventuresome trips to see what's there might be pretty curtailed for the foreseeable future. Each of us will find a way to cope with these new challenges -- loved the maps, the squishy cuddle toys. Will you make one for the corona virus? Cherish each day -- as Zorba the Greek once said, "Am I not a man? And is a man not stupid? I'm a man, so I married. Wife, children, house, everything. The full catastrophe."

  14. Yourself in the background! What a cool idea. I had never thought of that before. It's really neat!


I will do everything in my power to visit commenter's blogs unless I've been abducted by aliens or my children get sick. (If my children get abducted by aliens, I will be very busy, of course, catching up on my sleep.)