Hours ago, on my own authority, I declared today to be International Robert Goulet Day. There was a train of thought leading to this decision, but it was derailed in the immediate, blinding explosion of the idea’s birth, and proved unrecoverable. We are left with only the evidence of International Robert Goulet Day’s concrete, undeniable existence, gesturing mysteriously toward its hermetic origins.
A number of years ago (and it would be easy enough to figure out that number, but this is not the sort of project where I’m going to do things like that) I set out on a writing project which I called “100 Days of Misery”. It was a response to an Internet fad, “100 days of Gratitude” wherein people were encouraged to write about one thing they were grateful for every day for 100 days. Mostly people lasted between three and eleven days, and me being who I am, I found it incredibly irritating and would not shut up about it. My Long Suffering Bride (official title, patent pending, hands the fuck off, stealers) said “Why don’t you write about it?” which I took as encouragement, though it may well have meant “Why don’t you stop talking to me about it?” I began quite certain I would never go 100 days and warning my readers (a boldly assumed class of hypothetical humans) that I was in no way promising to go the full 100 and certainly wasn’t saying I’d post each and every day and that I would stop whenever I wanted, this was for ME, not THEM. Much to my surprise, I did post every day for 100 days, and it broke me out of the worst and longest writer’s block I had ever suffered since I began writing stuff that every once in a while I got paid for but mostly gave away.
So. This project means to be like that, except not. It IS a writing assignment I have given myself. I DO intend to write daily, but I make no promises. I DO hope it will help me maintain what passes for mental balance with me.
I do not know what it’s going to be. I imagine short daily posts, but not really a diary in any traditional sense, and not about the Coronavirus in particular or the effects it is having on me or the country or the world. Although, sometimes it will inevitably be about that, since I am writing it NOW while this is HAPPENING. A pseudo diary of whatever is going through my head while we are waiting to see to what degree society as we have known it is destroyed. Altered? Impacted? My point is, I, like most others, have a great deal more free time than I had been anticipating, which sounds fun until someone says “Think of all your free time as if it had transformed you into Kool-Aid Man, and the flavor of the red liquid you are sloshingly full of is Extreme Anxiety.” Oh, yeah.
If you have been following my writing these last few years (and it’s hard for me to imagine you haven’t while also worrying at the same time that you don’t exist), you may be expecting a relentlessly hilarious political diatribe, and there will almost certainly be some of that, but maybe not as much as your are expecting. For the last several years I have been writing… comic… political… commentary? It began as political satire, but anyone can see that satire is deader than the desiccated corpse of a super dead guy who used to write satire until it died. Satire relies on exaggeration to make one’s points, it requires the writer to amplify aberrant behavior well past the point the target is engaging in to illustrate the absurdity of… well, you see the problem. Bit by bit, news cycle by news cycle I have been losing the ability to stay ahead of the satiric curve. And it was alarming and upsetting and challenging and then too challenging and then impossible and I stopped writing, except in angry snippets on Facebook and Twitter. It’s not writing, per se, but I get off a good one now and then on the social media, and I really do like it and that’s more than a little pathetic. So political satire is not what this is going to be, except for the times that it is, and I won’t apologize, not because I am bold or proud or committed to experiment, but because I am lazy and apology takes time and effort. My CoviDiary will be an exploration of where my mind wanders during the Coronavirus Pandemic, and I have no idea what all that will be, but I will say this: It will, by definition, and unavoidably be a statement regarding the moment in history we are living through. And that, dear friends, dedicated readers of my imagination, is a justification of such spectacular literary laziness that even the fact that it is basically true cannot redeem it.
So I sign off, kissing my fingers (and so touching my face which I KNOW I am not supposed to do anymore), flying them away from my mouth towards you, fingers spreading, while making a “Muh-WAH!” sound.