Where were we…?

Oh yeah, right here. Right where you are now. Right where we are now…in front of our screens. Many of us can’t imagine what the last year plus would have been like without them. A time that brought new words into the lexicon. Some not so welcomed, like Comorbidity, Strains, Herd Immunity, and other here-to-fore inside baseball terms – if you played on the immunologist’s ball team. I can’t wait for the frequency of usage for those words to lessen to the point of very seldom.  

But since words are my business, here’s one; Zoom. An interesting redefined usage of a verb. It used to mean to accelerate to a faster rate of speed or to express a sudden fast change in movement. Instead, it became the verb for not going anywhere. But it did allow us to do work and meet up with distant friends (you know, the ones also in lockdown, who live across the way). As a director (another of my passions that I am lucky enough to have as a profession), Zoom has a whole different meaning. To move in closer…Ha! But I guess zooming did keep us closer.  

One way I got closer to people, who grew to mean very much to me, turned into one of the very few good moments from our time in self-quarantined solitude. Since my other passion is music, I am a drummer, have been since I was 8. Somewhere around 9, my moms skimped and saved to get me an actual drum set. (But really, I suspect, to save her pots, pans, and wooden spoons.) Now, I perform from time to time with two great musicians/entertainers, simply known as Mark and Ted. We play all kinds of music, but one of our ‘sweet spots’ is what is known as “The Great American Songbook,” standards and jazz from the uniquely American idiom of music. That genre is very appealing to folks of a certain age. Over the years, they have become a cadre of loyal fans. Almost every Friday night, at an Italian restaurant in New Jersey, we play for nearly full houses, 2-3 deep at the bar sometimes. 

And then came Corona. Tumbleweeds. Crickets. Stay home. Stay safe. Social distance. Our dear fans and friends, most of whom are all in the high-risk group, as one might expect of folks who would love oldies and pop music, were forced to sit at home every night. Gone were those sweet Friday nights when we used to all get together…

So, I gets this idea, see! Why not Zoom a live set to all our loyal following. A live stream. Right from my apartment. Right from my apartment of us performing a set just like we were in the club. Mark, Ted, and I, socially distanced 6 feet apart, plus a large HEPA filter to allow them to sing without masks. Add some digital wizardry and we ‘counted it in’ to a downbeat at 7:15 p.m. on Friday night, May 29th, 20-COVID-20. We performed for our dear friends and music fans, remotely.

The result was that 245 people “zoomed in” that night and texted during the performance. Saying, “Hi,” and thanking us for a few hours of “the way it used to be.” To my surprise, folks from as far away as Malaysia, the U.K., New Mexico, Florida, and even the Bronx (Yaaay!) streamed in. It was a labor of love, met with love and which generated much love. What a great moment in a horrible time.

The sound is a tad bit distorted, but if you like that kind of music…

As for many people whose businesses closed during Covid, creating an online business became the only way to survive. I was lucky enough to hang up a digital shingle announcing that I was available to coach writers through their manuscripts. (I happen to know a little about that.) To my amazement, my little book coaching business went very, very well. I couldn’t be happier with the response I am getting from first-time and published authors who have found my analysis and suggestions well worth my fee. (Thank you to each and every one of you for confirming that I am on the right path). In many ways, I am paying forward the kindnesses, considerate and insightful criticisms, and constructive points of which I was the beneficiary. I received good energy from generous people that led me to seven novels and three #1 bestsellers.

And, of course, when something is successful, good friends and investors step forward. We are now considering a way to avail more folks of some of the handy-dandy tips on “realizing your novel” that I impart to help writers transform into authors. Stay tuned…

Finally, not many of us got through the time of corona unscathed; I, like many of you, lost loved ones, dear friends, and acquaintances. Nothing will replace our loss, but I guess the best we can hope for is for something good to have come out of all this. I believe that some small measure of good must have come out of all our mutual sacrifices. I hope you feel the same…

Tom

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