Letters I Haven't Written Yet

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Things that are helping me calm the F**k down – Part 2

So the other day I posted a bunch of videos that are helping me keep calm and positive. They’re awesome, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I rewatched that Greg Davies story on Graham Norton again today, just because it’s insane and hilarious. Today, I thought it would be fun to share some more fun things online that are not at all about COVID but that are calming, reassuring, fun and insane. Some of them can even provide the semblance of cultural enrichment (I personally, am not delusional, but you still may be – and hey! Good for you! A healthy does of delusion in one’s daily life can only be a positive thing at this point).

Please note that none of this shit is an ad, I have zero vested interest in these different things. No one asked me to do this, I just found some cool stuff that I thought would be great to share.

1- The Great Goat Coup. Did you know that there are goats that have taken over a village in Wales? It’s true. As the humans have to step out of the way and stay indoors, the animals are once again free to roam and discover their former homes. There’s an amazing Twitter thread about it by Andrew Stuart. There’s a cartoon about it in the Guardian, the New York Times did a write up on it. It’s important to know that in these difficult times, the goats are here to care for us when we can no longer care for ourselves.

2 – Dolly Parton reading children’s stories on YouTube. I did not know this, probably because I don’t have kids, but Dolly Parton has a non-profit called the Imagination Library that mails books for free to kids up to the age of 5 in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and the Republic of Ireland. As part of that program, to help comfort and reassure children and families during these difficult times, she’s going to start reading children’s stories on YouTube, every week for ten weeks. Click here to go to her YouTube page for more information or to watch Story Time.

3 – Online Literary Event. Lots of book fairs and literary festivals usually happen in the spring. I’m part of the Geneva Writers Group, and we’ve had to postpone our own conference, which usually happens in May. But festivals and conferences all over have been shut down, and for writers and reading enthusiasts alike, it leaves a hole. Writer CJ Cook, in partnership with PaperNations have created an Online Literary Festival, aptly called the The Stay At Home! Literary Festival. It is a “free and completely online festival with workshops, readings, panels and Q&A sessions by writers of all genres that people from all over the world can enjoy from their sofa (and which will doubtless be presented from the writers’ sofas”. There are over 130 events and the program includes over 200 authors, and is from March 27th to April 11th. So we’ve missed the first few days, but there’s still lots to see. Subjects range from poetry to novel writing and nonfiction, career advice, wellbeing and mindfulness, mental health and publishing.

4 – Facebook Group for help and support. What we’ve noticed through all of this is that people are looking for a connection with others. I’d even say that people want to be even more connected with others than they usually are, because all of this is so new, unprecedented, and just downright scary. I personally find that this constant need for connection is driving me a bit nuts, as I find that I speak to more people now that I did before. But that’s just me… There’s a Facebook Group called Lockdown – Health and Wellbeing, that includes daily sessions with psychologists, dance & movement instructors, meditation teachers, writing coaches, healers and more, providing tools to keep you grounded and peaceful, and hopefully even joyful, all with the goal of helping people say balanced during these challenging times. It’s free and has already been on for a week, but it doesn’t end until April 8th, so if you are interested, go on their Facebook page and have a look. The Group is run by Abundant Chicks, a coaching service that helps women identify blockages that may exist so that they can improve their lives and accomplish their goals.

5 Add a little culture. Some people are trying to be productive in this time. Goop has even said she’s going to take the time to learn a new language. In general, I don’t want to take lockdown advice from someone who has her own cook, nanny and house staff, let alone one who tells you to stuff a jade egg in your vagina and shills pseudoscience so she can further enrich her stupid ass. So yes, let’s ignore Goopy McGooperson. However, there is one activity that looks super cool, and will definitely give you Goop level cultural influence, at least in your own mind. Actor, writer and film maker Robert Myles has started an initiative called The Show Must Go On, a weekly reading of Shakespeare’s plays, in the order they were believed to be written. So far, the Taming of the Shrew, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Henry VI are all up, and others are soon to follow. This is one I definitely plan to do – I’m a writer who hasn’t read all of Shakespeare so I am clearly a failure at my chosen profession. This will remedy this. Thank you Robert Myles for helping me regain some dignity. (The Guardian has a write up about it here)

6 – Writing for fun. You don’t have to be a writer to write. Sometimes, it just helps to get things out, to clear your head. If your journal is like mine, it’s turning into the chronicle of the apocalypse, so it’s probably a good plan to start writing something else. Plus, writing silly and fun stories is definitely a way to keep the kids occupied if you’ve given up on the math worksheets (no shade, I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to homeschool). Literary Laura has a series of writing prompts that can help writers push through writers block, or any one of just just write something fun and silly to clear our minds. Prompts involve cats, psycho porcelain dolls, lost skeletons and ancient doorways, to name a few.

7 – Weird news and more silly YouTube videos. I don’t know about you, but in all of this madness I’ve become both obsessed with the news but also exhausted by it. A train wreck that I can’t stop watching, except for the fact that I’m actually on the damn train. It can be too much, being overwhelmed by COVID news all the time. But fear not – there is still some insane news out there, and feel good stories as well. There’s the dude who decided to run a marathon in his backyard, all the animals from shelters being adopted or fostered or people posting their crazy pet photos. If you would still rather just watch more silliness on YouTube, we’ve got the penguins exploring their aquarium and making friends, or Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham delivering snark at every turn.

8 – Story time Part 2. Samuel L Jackson telling people to Stay the F**k home. Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear purple suits and an eyepatch. Director Fury is the man we need to narrate this clusterf**k of a year.

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Comments (2)

  • Given our shared love of Greg Davies, I’d also recommend Taskmaster as a source of hilarity. Greg judges five comedians/presenters as they complete absurd tasks.

    The Taskmaster YouTube challenge has full episodes online, starting with series 1

    Right now there’s a ‘Hometasking’ series on with viewers taking on tasks and Greg selecting winners, although there’s not quite enough Greg (or his assistant Alex) in those for my liking 🙂

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