It’s an obvious understatement that life is a bit upside down at the moment, with things constantly changing and a fair degree of confusion. Everyone has questions, but not everyone is getting the right answers, especially if you rely on dubious sources for your information. (Shame on you, Facebook. You know you have trolls. Get rid of them.) What is clear, though, is that, for many of us, it’s a really good idea to hole up in our homes for a while until the dust somewhat settles. Which, of course leads to yet another question.
What the hell do you do for entertainment when you can’t leave the house?
For me, it’s not really an issue. I can be social (and I even enjoy it from time to time), but I’m equally content spending weeks in my Fortress of Solitude with nary a peep from another human being. For other folks, though, it gets a bit more complicated. Two or three days of quiet might be a refreshing change, but eventually, probably rather quickly, the boredom will set in and these folks will slowly lose their minds once they’ve binge-watched all the seasons of “Outlander”.
So, concerned as I am about the mental health of humanity even if I don’t particularly care for certain aspects of said humanity, I wondered what I might do to help out in this situation. After thinking long and hard about the subject (okay, maybe it was a mere five minutes, as I stood there in front of the microwave and waited for the last kernel of popcorn to blossom), I came up with an idea.
Perhaps I should turn Bonnywood into a digital “Shelter in Place”. (Cue up Taylor Dane’s “I’ll Be Your Shelter” on YouTube. That song has nothing to do with any of this other than a shared word, but it has a good beat and you can dance to it.) Could this be a community center for a few weeks or months, at least until we all figure out more interesting and important things to do? Maybe.
After all, if you’re reading this blog, you presumably like blogs and you most likely have a blog of your own. Why not use this time to get to know one another better, share our blogs and interests and passions, and do what we can to fill in our days until those days become brighter and we can get back into the sunshine. (And we will get there. As heavy and overwhelming as this all seems right now, we have been through worse. Much worse.)
What’s my plan?
Well, the structure is fluid at this point (translation: not much planning, mostly hoping) but this is the initial phase: I will be replacing the four “featured” posts at the top of my blog page with new pages that will involve four generalized categories. (Never noticed that I have featured posts at the top of my blog? No worries. Many people don’t, according to my blog stats. Of course, I haven’t changed said featured posts since Eisenhower was in office, so part of the “not noticing” is my bad. If you don’t change the décor, folks stop seeing said décor.)
What’s your part in the plan?
Well, you pick one or several of the category posts and then use the comment section to share something that pertains to the subject. Or close to the subject. Or even on the periphery of the subject. There are no rules here. I only have four slots that I can fill, so I can’t cover all the bases. Use your own judgment to figure out where your base might be. And don’t worry about how close you get to the target. As always, Bonnywood is open to all thoughts and ideas. Unless you don’t play well with others. (Translation: Don’t be an ass.)
What should I share?
Anything. This is not limited to just blog posts. Perhaps a link to an interesting article that you recently read. Maybe a website that collects stories that you find fascinating. Possibly another website that has lots of suggested activities for folks who have to “shelter in place”. (Taylor Dane!) But mostly, and I hope you take advantage of this, it’s an opportunity to share your own work. Dig through your archives, find the pieces that you are proud of (it doesn’t matter how old they are) and share away. Right now, you have a somewhat captive audience. Make the most of it.
Now, some of you might be thinking “well, I’m not really into self-promotion and I am perfectly content with my life as it is”. That’s fine. It doesn’t have to be about you. But surely you have some interesting sites that you like or a few books and movies that you really recommend or a podcast that you greatly enjoy. The goal is to provide entertaining things to do or read or watch, worthy distractions to keep us sane in a world that doesn’t seem so right now. (We might even hold hands and sing folks songs; prepare yourself for that.)
Is this really going to work?
Probably not. But maybe. Studies have shown, repeatedly, that the vast majority of visitors to a blog not only don’t finish reading the post if it’s longer than a few paragraphs, they generally do not click on any links they may encounter. Such is life. But life, right now, is in flux. Maybe things can alter a little bit. Maybe we can slow down and take more time to learn about each other. Maybe we can get away from quick-satisfaction sound bites and get back to what once was. After all, we are writers, mostly. We want our words to be heard.
And that’s the genesis of this whimsical, poorly-planned endeavor. Hear the words of others. Share you own. Support your digital neighbors. Help everyone understand that we are all in this together, especially those folks who were already feeling a bit disconnected from society before this latest mess started. We might have to close our physical doors for a while, but we should keep open the doors to our humanity.
Click here to read the next Fire.
P.S. As I jostle things around and get the building blocks in order, your WordPress Reader might get a bit truculent and repetitive. Just go with the flow, as we all should be doing right now, and I’ll eventually have things tidied up and ready for the guests to arrive…
Note about the photo: I’ve used this one before, but I’m recycling it in this case because the image, to me, looks like a “pretty” version of the Covid-19 virus. Not that the little hellion is something to admire, but it does convey my hope that we can make this situation better…