This past week, Jennifer and I were supposed to be in Baltimore for school visits, a bookstore appearance, and presentations at a conference for literacy specialists before returning home to Austin via the San Antonio Book Festival. I’m sad to miss out on all of that.

Plumbers dug this hole in my yard on Friday.

Here at home, a mental switch of sorts flipped for me, and I finally came to grips with just how drastically the novel coronavirus and the resulting shutdown of schools and conferences are going to shape my future as an author and presenter, and as a businessperson, and as a productive member of society.

So, a lot of my attention this past week — increasingly so, as the week progressed — has gone toward dealing with that. Figuring out which steps to take, and in which order, and starting to move on the most urgent ones.

It’s not exactly fun, but better to confront it and do something about it than continue with my head in the sand. Kind of like the plumbing issue we faced this week. Not dealing with it would have been just as unpleasant as dealing with it, and I’m glad we were able to opt for the latter.

Along the way this week, I worked on writing something new — something equal parts silly and challenging — and I got far enough along on it that I imagine I’ll be a little resentful of anything that diverts my attention from it. Which means I’ll likely be a little resentful of a lot of things.

On the other hand, one of those things is a 736-page book that I’d been looking forward to reading this summer but have happily gotten started on now. It might be research for another nonfiction book I want to write, or it might turn out not to be that at all; we’ll see. And as I’m a pokey reader, I may still be reading this one by the time the summer gets here, so my summer reading plans may not be entirely thrown off.

This week I recorded a few videos, some of which will be publicly available — such as this one of me reading All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing. I’m not sure how long I’ll leave that reading up on YouTube, hence the still photo rather than an embedded video above.

First in line!

Grocery shopping continued to be non-harrowing at my neighborhood H-E-B, though my late-Friday-afternoon trip (after the plumbers left) took place after all the chicken and eggs were sold out (which went first?), so I returned bright and early Saturday morning and read that 736-page book on my phone while waiting for the store to open.

I’ve gotten a lot of satisfaction these past several days from music that a couple of old friends of mine have shared with me. In each case, we’ve been friends long enough to have swapped plenty of CDs over the years, and if I’d known them earlier, I bet a few cassettes would have passed between us. Now, it’s Spotify playlists, but the sense of connection is the same.

I’ll close, as always (three weeks of these = “always,” right?) with the latest on the growth of my Survivor Tree seedling: