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Pandemic Scrambling Year

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The year 2020 scrambled my brains and my life. I couldn’t tell Monday from Wednesday, up from down, or front to back. Like this collage, it seemed everything was jumbled. How about you/? Did you feel a pandemic onslaught interrupting your tried-and-true lifestyle and challenging your habits? Whichever way you turned, was there another obstacle? Mask or no mask; social distance or not; vaccinate or not; or simply stay home and say, “The heck with it.” For us, there was a bright side or two or three to this otherwise pandemic-scrambling year. Creativity flows in my blood, and that bears fruit in my novels, short stories, and screenplays. And, too, it bore fruit, or should I say meat, in my newfound culinary delight—cooking. While cooking took on a new joyful pastime, I also found creative fun in the presentation of meals. The entire process of dinner took on a whole new meaning—the fireplace dancing its orange and yellow flames, music flowing from the Bose, the chandelier dimmed, the ta

These Are the Times that Try Men's Souls

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  “These are the times that try men’s souls,” so said Thomas Paine in The American Crisis,” circa 1776. Now, we jump 244 years to another trying time, 2020, the year of the worldwide pandemic. But rather than “cry wolf,” or do a Chicken Little with “The sky is falling,” I opt to say “Change is not pleasant, but change is positive. Only when we change and grow, we’ll see a world we never know,” from the Wisdom of the Orange Woodpecker . And that is what we shall do – encounter change, grow, and be positive. Something I learned decades ago was to find a new world in books. Read. Then read some more. Whatever your genre of choice, a world awaits you in books. The genre in which I write is founded on my career in the criminal justice field. From the depths of street crime to the white-collar criminals found in the ivory towers, I worked and learned, always moving forward, and never bowing down to what could be perceived as a never-ending series of crooks and crimes. After a career t

A 2020 Style Halloween

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  Yes, it’s that time of year—Halloween! It has been with us in one form or another since the time of the Celts. It was a festive time celebrating the end of summer, fields ready for the harvest, and the time when ghosts could cross the boundary between death and life. For us, though, Halloween 2020 is different…quite different. While the little ones may still have a subdued version of “Trick or Treat,” the adults are guiding their families on a trip without a roadmap—mask or no mask, how often do we have to sanitize our hands, go to the classroom or attend virtually, etc. Welcome to our road to perdition. The original road to perdition was like a Greek tragedy about quirks of fate and how they impacted people’s lives—or not! This year certainly has forced each of us to deal with our own version of a Greek tragedy, but the choices are ours to make. How we deal with a challenge can be an ordeal or an adventure. That is not to say 2020 has been a piece of cake. It hasn’t, but also is