What I’ve Been Up To

What I’ve Been Up To

My keyboard time has been sporadic the past few years – when the pandemic first started, school for our kids, now six and seven, was abruptly replaced with a Chromebook and a hastily cleared spot at the dining room table.

W had enough practice as a second grader to use Google Drive, join meetings and find assignments (along with Youtube videos), but B was starting kindergarten and needed a little more tech support.

L’s job has been dependable and has supported us really well, so we decided to try things out with me as a full-time school aid and stay-at-home parent. Most of my contract work had dried up at the start of lockdown, which helped make the decision easier.

So since two springs ago, I’ve had a second grader set up at the dining room table, and my kindergartener in the ‘school zone’ on the lower floor of our split-level, where the southern-facing windows let in plenty of light.

B hard at work.

The daily routine called for keeping both of their overlapping schedules on-track, handling regular feedings (there’s also a husky-mix and an ancient cat to accomodate), keeping the current of house laundry in circulation, running errands, and whatever else needed doing.

Considering how many families have been pushed to the breaking point these past few years, it was a very comfortable way to weather the storm, one which I’ll always appreciate. I was able to spend every day with my kids, at a time when they were first learning to read, cook, ride bikes, build forts, make music, grow tomatoes… all kinds of fun stuff. In return, and as I regularly inform B, perhaps they’ll drive me around when I’m old. So far, she thinks this is a grand idea.

While there wasn’t much time for writing during the past two years, there was plenty of opportunity to brainstorm the fantasy setting I’d been dreaming up. Quarantine had likewise complicated things for my gaming group, but had now given us a chance to try some new remote methods of roleplaying like Discord and Roll20.

The gang seemed happy enough to try out my new home brew, and so we began filling in the corners of the map every Friday night via webcam. Those gaming sessions kept my soul alive through a solid chunk of quarantine. They also helped me to see where the excitement was and wasn’t to be found in Rhapsody.

I’ll get into more detail in following posts, but Rhapsody is a magically-constructed city, a cascade of open-air chambers and submerged districts built on the slopes of a sea canyon fifty fathoms below the waves.

Rhapsody serves as one of world’s great crossroads, and its ports and markets see fortunes bought and sold each day. Its avenues are home to not only the aquatic races of Pelagia, but surface races of human and therian origin as well.

Many believe that this alliance was decreed by the gods, and once every eight years, millions from around the globe journey to Rhapsody to celebrate that union in the year-long festival of Carnevàle.

This is the sandbox I’ve been playing in for the past few years. The kids were finally able to go back to their brick-and-mortar school this past fall, I’ve been typing away at a novel set in Rhapsody’s waters ever since.

The writing process is both exciting and scary, and one I hope to illuminate on this blog. Questions and comments on the world and the process are highly encouraged, and most welcome as we go along. I love talking about what makes us love a good story. So basically, start working on your sea shanties, please.

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