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The Storming Bohemian Punks The Muse: Covid Edition #29 – “Make The Damn Bed”

Written on 08-06-20

I have now been writing these COVID-19 Edition Punks The Muse columns for 14 weeks. They are helping me to survive this time in our collective lives, and I hope they do a little something for you too. The fact is, I’m doing alright mostly. By which I mean I am not paralyzed by fear all the time, I am not hurting myself with bad habits, and I manage to get through every day with at least some degree of comfort. But it isn’t easy. Although I’m managing to eat my cheese, the style is “Swiss,.” Although every day is abundantly nourishing, the days are also full of holes into which I can suddenly fall and it’s damn scary. It really is.

Today was one of those days that I fell through a hole. When my alarm went off in the early morning, I couldn’t drag myself out of bed and slept another three hours. Once awake, I realized I was supposed to publish a column but I hadn’t written anything, and writers’ block set in with the weight of wet cement. I knew it was going to be a rough few hours.

I eventually pushed myself to leave the house (a rare occurrence these days) and went for a two-mile walk through the wetlands by the Napa River, in search of an idea for a column.

This is what I came up with: I thought to write about what I’m doing, on a daily basis, to get through this shitstorm. I’m mostly doing okay, so I must be doing something right. Perhaps you’ll be interested. And part of the point of this exercise is to realize that the things I’m NOT doing (and feel so badly about) don’t’ really matter all that much. It is the things I do that count. Such as:

o I get up, get dressed, and make my bed. Every day, no matter what, even if I sleep late. So far, I haven’t missed a day
o I do my laundry and clean the house every week.
o I prepare regular meals, and good ones, too.o I sit down at my desk and do some sort of assignment, every day.
o I exercise and shower almost every day. I purchased a step machine to make it easier.
o I meditate for at least fifteen minutes, almost every day.
o I have a spiritual practice of chanting prayers that I do every day, even though I am an ambivalent “believer” (to say the least).

Those are the basics and they are sufficient. It is actually kind of amazing to me how rich a life these simple tasks make possible. I call this to your attention because I know that there a lot of people out there who are not doing so well. People like me who may struggle with bouts of depression and PTSD. My message to you is, in my experience, a little stability goes a long way. I am discovering that just being alive isn’t such a bad thing to be, after all. It is nice to let go of ambition for a while.

But, of course, I don’t really let go of ambition and there’s the rub. There are many things I feel like ought to be doing, but struggle with, and that is a source of irritation, such as:

o Why aren’t I writing a book?
o Why aren’t I writing and submitting poems?
o Why aren’t I creating more paintings?
o Why haven’t I set up an online teaching practice for $$$?
o Why aren’t I reading multiple novels?
o Why aren’t I going for long hikes and bike rides?

The list of the things I’m not doing is endless.

But you know what I’ve figured out?


That’s so important, let me repeat it:



Hope that helps.

And if you want to, go ahead and write the book too, paint the painting, teach the class, publish the poem, whatever you like ….

But keep it all in perspective, and make the damn bed.

And here’s some pretty pictures from my walk today: