The Year We Go Back to Normal. Maybe.

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Normal.

Such a deceptively boring word.

Before 2020, I wanted to be anything but normal. Normal was boring. Normal meant being just like everyone else. Normal was for losers.

What a difference a pandemic makes, and what a beautiful word normal turned out to be.

On March 18th, 2020, Mark and I made our last visit to a grocery store, stocking up and snagging some of the last toilet paper on the shelf.

We cancelled all of our in-person events, including QSAC lunches and readings, figuring we’d be shut down for a month or two while the government got things in hand.

And we waited. And waited. And waited.

Eventually it became clear that this was going to last a lot longer than we’d ever imagined.

So we made the leap to Zoom in iur oersonal lives and with QSAC, holding the online readings on Facebook Live and lunches on Zoom.

Life goes on, even if it’s a much smaller version of the lives we used to live.

I would kill to sit for an hour at Starbucks, sipping on a Java Chip Frappucino and talking with friends.

Mark and I have spent 306 days at home, going out only once a week to check the mail and do curbside grocery pick-up. We haven’t touched another human being, and the handful of conversations we’ve had outside of zoom have been on our front porch with masks on and at least 12 feet between us.

We’ve completed twenty-five puzzles, played hundreds of games, and continued to work our asses off to keep our business going. Some things don’t change, even amid an international health crisis.

While Covid has raged, so has denialism, of the disease and the election, culminating in the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, when we were glued to the television in shock.

Now we have reason to hope.

There are three vaccines, and although the rollout has been bumpy, we can finally see a light at the end of the Covid19 tunnel. We have a new administration coming in with plans to tackle the virus on a national basis, to roll back a slew of harmful and vindictive executive orders, and to finally get serious about climate change.

And at the end of it all, we might be able to see you all again in person for a Milk and Cookies reading in the second half of the year.

We’re never going back to where we were in 2019. The world spins and changes, and some things have been broken that can be mended but never made new.

Still, I have hope that it will be enough.

We’ve set up the dates for all of our QSAC author and reader events for 2021 here. Keep your fingers crossed that, sometime later this year, some of them will be in person.

This shall pass, too, and a new kind of normal, hopefully a better one, will come.

Stay safe!

J. Scott Coatswort is a co-founder of QSAC, and a local author of sci-fi, science fantasy, science fiction and magical realism. You can join his email list here and get a free short story collection!

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