How You Can Help During the Coronavirus Pandemic 

As the days march on and the only thing that feels certain is devastating uncertainty, my colleagues and I consider it both our mission and privilege to help keep readers’ spirits up and do whatever we can to see them through to the other side of this. There always seems to be pressure on us to make something of “free time” and the paradox of our current moment is that we have a lot of it and can’t really do anything with it but wait.

Source: How You Can Help During the Coronavirus Pandemic | Literary Hub

An important source for writers, publishers, and readers, Literary Hub has increased its output of essays, poetry, historical precedents, philosophy, and lists of books we might read while staying at home. Many of these offerings are grouped together under “These Times” in Lit Hub’s daily newsletter of literary links.

Now they’ve taken a new step by creating a list of practical suggestions for helping out during the pandemic. These include donating blood, assistance to the elderly and other homebound individuals, making/distributing healthcare supplies, and helping sterilize shared spaces. They include places where one can donate money and promise to update their list of suggestions as new ideas arise.

For those people who want to do more than wait and hope for the best, this list is a great addition to the local and regional lists you may be seeing in the newspapers, TV news, and social media.

–Malcolm

 

Charges of Abuse Against Scouting

Last April, exposed court testimony showed the organization believed more than 7,800 of its former leaders were involved in sexually abusing more than 12,000 children over the course of 72 years. – CNN

Scouting was an important part of my childhood. As I read that the BSA purportedly fostered (not sure how) an environment conducive to pedophiles, my shock and revulsion are probably similar to that of Catholics as the scope of abuse by priests became apparent.

My two brothers and I are Eagle Scouts and also received the God and Country Award. One of my brothers was a member of the Order of the Arrow. My mother was a den mother (Cub Scouts) and my father was a pack leader (Cub Scouts) and post leader (Explorer Scouts). Both of them were active as volunteers above the troop level–the council and state level–and received awards for their dedication.

Like the Catholic church, the abuses committed by Scouting’s leaders tend to undermine all that was (and still is) good and healthy about the organization’s programs, purpose, and intent. Scouting as gone from the epitome of excellence, morals, and civic responsibility to the dangerous swamp you don’t want your child to enter.

If I were a Catholic, I would be angry at the church for ignoring the potential signs of the problem for years before taking definitive action. As a child of scouting, I am angry at the BSA for (apparently) ignoring or failing to see the potential signs of a systemic organization weakness rather than finding out why and how it was happening and getting rid of it.

As a Scout, I saw no evidence of abuse or even an atmosphere that made abuse likely.  The cynical amongst us will say, “Sure, a man takes a group of boys out into the woods for a weekend camping trip, what do you think it likely to happen?”

To that, I say “bullshit” because I don’t think the default mindset of every adult male is to abuse a young boy.  But a lot of men did and a lot of you boys suffered, and will never rid themselves of their torment. The crime, atrocious enough in and of itself, is that it looms large because it defames the majority of Scout leaders who would never think of such a thing and casts aspersion upon all the good that has been done through the organization and its programs for years.

Yes, I am angry. Yes, I want the organization to address and “fix” the problem. Yes, I want a new and revitalized BSA to teach young men and women about the sanctity of the land and the importance of high moral standards.

–Malcolm

 

StayHomeWriMo Rallies Writers 

Writers around the globe are gathering—virtually—to raise their spirits and keep creating through an initiative called StayHomeWriMo. Sponsored by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the organizers of the annual November write-a-thon in which authors pen a novel draft in a month, StayHomeWriMo invites writers to find comfort in their creativity and stay inside while the battle with COVID-19 continues.

Source: StayHomeWriMo Rallies Writers | Poets & Writers

What a great idea. One component of a writer’s well being is to write.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell’s short story collection, Widely Scattered Ghosts, is free on Smashwords during the company’s “give back” sale.

What if each furloughed employee had been given a roll of toilet paper?

Other than panic buying and hoarding, families are probably buying more toilet paper than usual because they’re confined to their homes. It stands to reason that 8-5 workers used toilet paper at the office during the day that they must now buy at the grocery store. Same goes for the kids who normally would have used school-supplied toilet paper for most of the day.

Now, all that toilet paper is sitting in storerooms at offices and cleaning services where nobody can access it. But what if each furloughed employee had been given a roll or two on the way out the door?

Okay, those rolls wouldn’t last long, but when you add them all up, they lead to a lot of toilet paper purchases at stores that normally wouldn’t have happened. One thing leads to another. Once the toilet paper gets sparse on store shelves, people naturally buy more of it even if they aren’t trying to hoard a six-month supply.

Maybe as a show of good faith, offices and schools should allow workers and students to stop by for a free roll or two to ease the strain on all of us.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell’s short story collection, Widely Scattered Ghosts, is free on Smashwords during the company’s “give back” sale.

Now folks can write but they aren’t (hmm)

But are you writing? I noted several remarks online where people are saying they are too worried and frantic to sit and write. They’re anchored to 24-hour news, waiting for the latest body count and what’s happening next.

So. . . let me get this straight. . . when things are busy and normal, you don’t have time to write. Then things are abnormal and locking you at home, you can’t make yourself write.  – Hope Clark

Wikipedia Graphic

It’s really an understatement to say that COVD-19 has disrupted a lot of things. We’re all curious about potential lockdowns and potential vaccines. But sitting in front of a 24-hour news channel watching for updates not only seems like a waste of time, but is the kind of behavior that probably creates more hysteria than what the nation is already coping with.

Frankly, I’m a little tired of people asking why we didn’t have 100000000 testing kits (much less a cure) in stock for a disease nobody knew anything about prior to December. I guess people are watching too many medical dramas on TV and are used to health issues that are solved within an hour.

I agree with Hope Clark, assuming that lockdowns aren’t making us broke or sticking us in long lines to buy toilet paper, we can use our self-quarantines and social distancing to get some other stuff done: tidy up the garden, clean out the garage, finish that novel.

–Malcolm

Many of Thomas-Jacob Publishing’s Kindle editions are on sale throughout March for 99₵. The sale includes two of my novels, “Conjure Woman’s Cat” and “Special Investigative Reporter.”

 

The virus may impact my travel plans – yours, too?

Pandemic.

Wikipedia photo

How will that impact each of us? It’s hard to gripe about it when people are dying and others’ lives are being disrupted.

Italy is closed. Travel from Europe to the U.S. is restricted. Many of us wonder how long it will be before travel around the U. S. will be impossible.

Due to my cancer problems last year, I didn’t see my daughter and granddaughters in Maryland. We’d planned to visit them in April and take a few cool side trips while we were there. So far, none of our flights has been cancelled.

But, we wonder. We miss the granddaughters. We dislike going long periods of time without seeing them because their lives move so fast it’s easy for us to get out of the loop and never get back in. They grow up so fast that a year away from them is hard to recover.

So, we worry. My brother and his wife had plans to see Australia. Those fell through when the place burnt down. Now they have plans for a river trip in Europe, but as borders close, that might not happen.

It’s not that we’re worried about getting COVD-19, though that could happen. We’re more concerned about mandatory quantities and travel restrictions.

Do you face similar problems or is it more a matter of whether the toilet paper runs out?

Malcolm

International Women’s Day Theme – #EachforEqual

International Women’s Day 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual
An equal world is an enabled world.
Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.
Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world.
Let’s all be #EachforEqual.

I like the theme for the upcoming International Women’s Day on March 8.  I hope it will show men–as well as women who haven’t yet signed on to the idea of their equal worth–that we are not only fighting for equality and safety for women, but for a world that’s made better for everyone.

When Elizabeth Warren’s Presidential campaign ended, political commentators were asking, “How did the Democrats begin with such a diverse field of candidates and end up with two old white men as the frontrunners?”

I think we know the answer, but we pretend we don’t.

The status quo favors men while devaluing the majority gender: Women make up almost 51% of the U.S. population, yet they are underrepresented in the House and Senate and most industries.

This situation is 1950s mentality when we “celebrated” the so-called little woman who was good for sex, having children, cooking the meals, and cleaning up the house. Many of today’s clueless reporters–as we saw in the 2016 election with Hillary’s pantsuit coverage–were more concerned about what women wore than what women said.

Thirty years ago, I got into a heated debate with a female co-worker who was probably the smartest employee on the technical writing/testing staff about the fact she did what her husband told her to do because he was head of the household.

When I told her that “head of the household” BS was an out-of-date concept, she said her Christian religion also said the husband is head of the household. When she quoted Bible verses to prove it, I said that her examples all came from the Old Testament in the days when there was not yet a Christian religion. Nonetheless, I didn’t “win” the argument. (Last I heard, they were still happily married. I would have felt bad if I caused a divorce.)

I think of this discussion because I many (most?) men and women still believe that the man is not only in charge of the household, but the office, the Congress, and the country. They believe that 51% of our nation’s wisdom should be confined to the kitchen and laundry room.

As a white man, permit me to say that patriarchy is stupid. Look where it’s gotten us.

Malcolm