An Early March 2021 Status Check on Scalzi

Me, sort of making a shrug at the camera.
John Scalzi

As I’m deep in the throes of novel writing at the moment, I’ve been pretty scarce here and on other social media, so I thought I’d give you a quick update on me, you know, just in case you were worried or anything. So:

I’m fine! After a long long period in which novel writing was indistinguishable from pulling teeth, I am pretty much zooming along happily now, and (knocks on wood) expect to be done with the current novel by the end of the month. Hooray!

Also hooray: Aside from (or actually, in no small part due to) the novel writing going along congenially, I am generally in a pretty decent state of mind these days. Things that help with this: New president, vaccine distribution and application going well, spring revving up. Being immersed in novel writing and all the worldbuilding it requires also means I have less time to keep up with the outside world, and honestly less interest in doing so. Bluntly, the world I’m creating in my head for this book is so much cooler than this one. I suspect this also contributes to my generally happier demeanor.

(That said, when I do check in with the world, it’s somewhere more congenial to me now than it was even a couple of months ago. Not perfect, and of course people on social media are still very mad at and with each other. This does motivate me not to spend all that much time there at the moment. I’m feeling good about feeling better, and don’t really want to be brought down, especially as it might have an impact on my writing speed right now.)

Anything I’m less than happy about? Well, I’m sad that I’m not currently in Florida, waiting to set sail on the 2021 edition of the JoCo Cruise, which would have left port tomorrow, were it not for this whole pandemic thing. I miss the friends I get to see there, and just generally being away from the whole world for a week whilst on the seas. On one hand, as I’m waaaaaay behind on my novel, it would not have been great to basically take a week off from it to be in the Caribbean. But on the other hand I have a more than vague suspicion that had there not been a pandemic, I would not have been this late on the novel. We will never know. I just know that there’s no cruise this year, and I’m bummed at that.

Other than that, I’m feeling a little impatient. Impatient to finish this novel (in a good way — I’m enjoying writing it but I want to be done so that, among other things, you all can read it too), but mostly impatient to get a vaccine shot, and for everyone else to get theirs too, so we can again do things like, you know, see people and go places. All that’s coming, and that’s great! But it’s not here yet, and that’s unnnnnnnngh whhhhyyyyyyyy. Again, this is much better than some possible alternatives we might have had, if certain things in the recent past had gone differently. But when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, you want to get to the end of the tunnel, you know?

Anyway. I’m going to be sticking to mostly working on the novel until it’s done, so that means for three or four more weeks, I’ll be mostly not here, and mostly posting cat/sunset/family pics when I am. Fortunately Athena has done a pretty great job in stepping up with posts, and it’s been fun watching how those are making their way out in the world. We make a pretty good team and I’m glad she’s here, and will be happy to have her stay as long as she wants to keep at it.

So that’s the current state of Scalzi. How are you?

— JS

38 Comments on “An Early March 2021 Status Check on Scalzi”

  1. Glad you’re in a good mind space and also able to semi-ignore the wider real world. I’m getting more writing done and it feels good after that long drought. Less happy about the general state of things and lots of near term personal crap. But it’s good to know people are finding better head spaces, it makes me hopeful for my own.

  2. My retail job has reduced my hours to nearly nothing, so I’ve decided to launch a freelance writing business, after years of dithering.

  3. Not to be selfish about it (but okay I’m being selfish about it) I’m glad I don’t have yet one more year to be envious of you getting to go on a JoCo Cruise. Note that I get horribly seasick, even on the smoothest of oceans in a huge ship with good stabilization, so if I were to go then I’d regret it. But what does logic have to do with anything?

    And, oh hey, I’m glad your writing is going well. That’s selfish of me, too, because I wanna read a new Scalzi book right now!

  4. Keep the books coming. I got my second Pfizer shot on Wednesday, so the future looks less gray here in Houston despite the incessant stupidities of state government. Burning a whole year while my 70th is sneaking up in May doesn’t sit well, but it beats the alternative. I’d like to say I spent the time improving myself or accomplishing great things, but feel like getting through is sufficient achievement.

    Athena has earned her following. Everyone stay well, get vaccinated as soon as you can.

  5. I’m devoting my time to reading, and since I’m awaiting your next book, I’m very pleased to hear the writing is going well.

    My own tiny wolf is thirteen now, and has chronic kidney disease. I’m becoming an expert at administering subq fluids, and pilling her. For myself, I carefully limit exposure to news, keeping the doses small and not too frequent.

    Did I mention im waiting for your next book? I did? Good.

  6. The only thing I’m bummed about right now is that at 64 I’m one year to young to get vaccinated at this point. It’s been a long time since I wished I was older.

  7. I got my first hair cut in 1 1/2 years (now having been vaccinated). Feel so much more like myself.

  8. I am delighted that you are in so much better a frame of mind these days! Really glad you’re enjoying the writing process so much, too – there is much to be said for enjoying the manner in which you make a living.

    I am well, thank you very much for asking. Been a busy work-week and I am glad the weekend is here at last to get away from the spreadsheets. Hope your weekend is a grand one – give the fur-kids a chin-scritch for me, ok?

  9. Glad to hear you’re making progress. I’m on track to finish all of your books by the time you finish the new one. Athena has been a wonderful addition. Her posts have been making wonderful progress in me staying young-minded, although I have to do a fair amount of online digging to keep up with her – I’ve found I’ve missed a lot of the world of youth as I have ossified.

  10. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well and making progress with the novel. You were mighty frustrated when you were suffering from COVID brain.

    I’m doing okay. Making progress on some household stuff; work going reasonably well; also bored and restless and wishing we were all vaccinated.

  11. Eh, I’m ok. Going to the office 5 days a week. AA meetings via zoom daily. Looking forward to getting vaccinated someday so that I can get a haircut, go out to my favorite pizza place, and take my aunt out to dinner somewhere nice.

  12. SO happy for you!!!

    I got my first vaccine shot today and got all choked up about it. Seems like a true turning point.

    I am gathering that this may be a whole new novel? Not the sequel to one of your other verses? If you haven’t announced that and don’t intend to — forgive me.

    Worldbuilding is indeed fun. Best of luck with the writing.

  13. Getting my 1st Vaccine shot tomorrow, hope all goes well with it.
    Greatly enjoy your political posts- Canadian here and it’s nice to see that not everyone in the states are a complete nutbar.
    Hoping the world goes back to “normal” soon and a Canadian book tour happens, would love for my daughter Zoe (who’s name may or may not be a direct influence from one of your books) can get a signed copy Zoe’s Tale.

  14. I imagine that for you coming up with a blog entry isn’t very difficult–you’ve been doing it for a while, have established a persona, and over the years have established a flow in what you say and how you say it.

    I also imagine that for Athena she’s much like the new newspaper columnist who has to come up with an idea for a column five days a week, and by the fourth day is tearing their hair out trying to come up with one, something that they think they can interest people in reading, that they can write about, and can express coherent thoughts on–and not only for the fourth day, back in their mind is the little voice screaming “And what about tomorrow!?!?”.

  15. Very glad to hear that things, including clearing brain fog and novel progress, are going so much better, and I hope you’ll be able to get vaccinated soon. And I second the comments that the blog is in very good hands with Athena.

    FWIW, although northern California has been doing pretty well Covidwise (and has sometimes been annoyingly smug about it), our two hargest HMOs have both been way behind the curve. One just had to cancel 95,000 promised appointments due to nonavailability of vaccine; the other just a couple of days ago got around to notifying me, as a 65+, that I could finally apply for an appointment–who knows how far in the future? In the meantime, as a 70+ (but <75) I was able, on two days' notice, to get the first shot the day after Valentine's at, of all places, a supermarket, with a firm commitment for the second at the same place on the Ides of March (28 day Moderna). As in many other states, California's own state public health department website(s) are opaque and, essentially, useless. I was advised where to apply for my appointment by an unofficial, but entirely legitimate, website run by volunteers who track vaccine availability on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything similar for Ohio at the moment.

    Meanwhile, as I can think of no other forum in which to ask: does anyone else, having seen the "golden calf" statue of our former President at CPAC, wonder whether it's actually a statue of Bart Simpson dressed up for Halloween as Trump…or vice versa?

  16. Well, I’m freelance editing through Reedsy – mostly short fantasy books so far. OTOH, I can work from home, which is a blessing!

    I put myself on the list to get a shot, but I’m a year too young for now.

  17. I’m getting my first vaccine dose today. Very relieved to have made it to the front of the queue without catching Covid, and excited to have a timeframe for when I can step outside without fear and anxiety.

    3 weeks for moderate protection, 3 months until the second dose of the vaccine.

    Here in the UK the powers-that-be decided to ignore the research & studies into the optimum dosing schedule in favour of their own political strategy.

    I just hope it doesn’t backfire – millions of partially vaccinated people with a low but non-zero risk of catching Covid for 3 months – might just provide the selective evolutionary pressure that could result in vaccine resistant strains.

    On the selfish-me-me-me front – it means I’m at the front of the queue now.

    Cognitive dissonance? Check.

  18. It’s awesome to hear you’re doing well! Keep up with the writing, I know there’s a treat in us readers’ future!

    I’m personally doing very well, spending a lazy Saturday leaned back in a rocking chair, feet up on a sofa table. Looking over my laptop and toes, there’s a window; behind the window is the view from our first-floor apartment and to the sea. There’s a blizzard, so the coastline of the island some third of a mile away gets obscured and then appears again and then disappears again, and the world ends in whiteness after the beach path. Wind howls.

    On another level – the EU vaccination program is slower than we had hoped, and with all the new variants spreading around, our government has again imposed some stricter restrictions. So strict, in fact, that the EU Commission is possibly going to sue us along with Sweden, the Netherlands, and a couple other member states for unnecessarily limiting the free movement of people. But we’ll see. Also, I’m still happier to be inside the EU than out – I can’t imagine our small Nordic country having had any success in procuring the vaccines if Germany, France and other big ones would’ve been in the queue before us. (And yet – we had our own emergency vaccine production capabilities up until 2003 when the then government decided that those things should only ever be purchased from commercial operators and shut the national vaccine production down. Oh well.)

  19. Sounds good. By the recent posts (and lack of same), I figured you were busy writing – always a good thing, right? As with Biden, no news for a while is good news. I woke up yesterday and wondered what was he doing these days as I haven’t seen or heard much from him lately, but then thought…that’s fine! So much better than getting up for the overnight Twitter blasts. For four years I told my wife, if Twitter disappeared, so would Trump, and he mostly has! Which is great, right?

    We both got our second Pfizer vaccines, most of our friends have had at least one shot, as has my brother (both shots) and one of my sisters, so things are moving in a positive direction. Also, our snow is gone away with February, Spring is coming, and baseball will be back soon.

    Stay safe, everyone!

  20. The mud season is off to an early start here in the U.P. so I’m enjoying splashing in puddles while walking in our driveway. Vaccine rollout seems to be going smoothly in our rural county. I’m old enough that I’ve had both Pfizer shots so am beginning to feel slightly less stressed on trips to the supermarket. Life goes on.

  21. I’ve also really scaled back on being on social media for personal engagement. I almost never post on my person FB page, for example, and only then to a small group of friends I’d normally be seeing regularly anyway in real life. It’s helped my mental health!

    I’m glad you’ve got your writing mojo back on track, but I do take comfort in knowing that even a super-pro struggled with this over the past year. I certainly did!

  22. Well, I got my first dose of vaccine Wednesday and my wife got her first dose this morning. This improves our mood.

    We’re in the privileged position of having good online access and the time and experience to make use of it – the state’s default registration system has still produced no response beyond the generic “you’ll hear from us when we know something.” Not a wonderful system, but it’s improving.

    One can tell from your Twitter stream you’ve been quite productive (both in terms of what it says, and in terms of what it doesn’t say). Welcome to 2021, which appears to have arrived, after all. Very happy for you.

  23. It is reassuring to have an air of quiet competence floating at the top of the ladder. If some certain republicans didn’t have so much stink in their noses, maybe things would be settling better.

    I am in Florida and our governor is making an ass of himself by not being able to coherently put together a vaccine program. He keeps distracting himself with new voter suppression laws, riot laws, and a second run at governor and then a presidential surrey.

    Meanwhile the vaccine for donation scandals keep popping up.

    Other than that, my brain is starting to work again, even though I have no clue when a vaccine dose will have my name on it.

  24. I get my first Pfizer shot Monday and my wife gets her second later in the week. She has a year and a half on me so became eligible earlier but here in your neighboring state of Indiana (Motto: “The Stupid State”) they’ve dropped the eligibility age from 70 to 50 in the past month. I think there are a lot of rural Hoosiers who are refusing to be vaccinated which has opened up slots for younger and younger, and more responsible and intelligent residents. Thanks, morons!

    Last year was my seventh year of retirement so I’m not sure how much different my life would have been without the pandemic, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have read 112 books as I did. After discovering three great assassin series, The Gray Man, Victor the Assassin and John Rain, I spent a couple of months reading all three (not quite 30 books) back-to-back. All that splendid violence makes the real world seem tame in comparison, even with insurrectionists invading our nation’s Capitol.

  25. Glad the Scalzis are dong well~!~

    We’re doing OK here, holed up in our manse in a tiny hillside cove in the woods. Wife and I got our first shot, Moderna, at the county Primary Care Clinic in the county seat… it is the only health care facility in the county so far as I know.

    When we drove into town, it was dark and shut down at 12:30 — the power was off in most of the county because of the recent ice storm, but the clinic active with two big diesel generators roaring away, one for each building. The shot clinic was one room, two folks checking people in, two folks filling syringes, and two shot stations.

    We’re still a week away from our second shot next Friday.

    P S: many of my comments appear to disappear… ?

  26. My comments all disappear now, perhaps I am cancelled … won’t be commenting any more, thusly.

  27. I’m feeling optimistic in Oregon, as our vaccine rollout continues to go fairly rapidly.

    The change in federal leadership has had noteworthy effects: our previously scanty vaccine supply into the state has increased markedly. It leads me to wonder if the original distribution schedule was, shall we say, SKEWED. However it was devised, it’s now sending us more vaccine than it was and that’s good for Oregonians, including my dad and stepmom who have had both doses now.

  28. Got both Pfizer shots (@Peter, I’m in Santa Clara county, and got it through the county drive-up vax clinic rather than through my healthcare provider.) Also a bit of cognitive dissonance, partly because my wife’s just under 65 so she hasn’t had hers yet, but also, I think it makes far more sense to vaccinate the grocery workers than us old still-healthy work-from-home folks, but the county was giving them to over-65s, and just opened a bit new clinic (and has since opened a bunch more) so appointments were easy to get. So now I can go get a dentist appointment, which I’m more in need of than a haircut nobody’s going to see anyway. First shot hit me pretty hard, fever and exhaustion and moderate arm pain; second one I slept a lot but didn’t feel bad.

    Better news for me is that my mom’s gotten her first shot, so I’ll be able to visit during the summer, and two of my siblings have also gotten theirs (a teacher and a health-care worker.)

  29. Apart from the novel writing, much the same as you, really.

    Glad that insane political news now happens once a week instead of twice a day. Glad vaccination is starting to make a dent in the COVID pandemic, and chances are good for a return to a semblance of normalcy somewhere this summer.

    But still on-edge a bit: Maybe another COVID mutation will show up and we’ll be set back another few months. Maybe the elections in mu country (The Netherlands) will turn out worse than expected and leave us with alt-right fuckwits in charge. Maybe tomorrow will bring news of political insanity on the level of the Capitol storming from the US…

    All are looking unlikely. Everything seems to be going as well as can be expected. But with a mindset that started in 2016, and grew in the years following, especially 2020, you sorta can’t help feeling like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop…

    I’m feeling better than I would’ve thought possible six months ago. But, at the same time, worse than I’d have thought possible six years ago.

  30. Wife & I both finished with Pfizer three weeks ago; so, yea! At least so far.

    Up to our knees in pine pollen now (in South Carolina). He says as he grabs a fistful of Alegra…

    Sneeze, wheeze, itch, but no death so far.


  31. Hangin’ in. Got my first shot Wednesday (also at a county drive-up) and spent the next day feeling not fabulous but ok now.

    Also, @Arthur Hawkes: the best parties seem to wind up in the kitchen, in my experience. Could be ’cause that’s where the booze is…

  32. Got my first vaccine shot (Moderna) on Wednesday, with the only side effect being a sore arm the next day, not unlike a tetanus shot. Still waiting for my wife and daughter to become eligible. Other than that, we’re “holding our own”. (Though every time I use that particular phrase, I remember that those words constituted the last received radio message from the Edmund Fitzgerald. But no, I’m not paranoid, nope….)

  33. Congrats to all the vaccine-recipients. I get mine next week, at last, got the appointment in January and felt that unlike some friends I would just wait for things to settle than continually try for earlier appointments.
    I try to be brave about days when there are no new Whatever posts, having built up quite a dependency on them, for amusement and thought-provoking stuff. Maybe there should be meetings for that?
    I’m making good progress on my huge commentary on Genesis, thinking about publishing it online in blog form, my usual way past when it was hot fashion.
    It’s lovely to be retired and read all I want, and no pressure to do other things. The animals are shedding though, so probably vacuuming is in my immediate future.

  34. Inspired by other comments, I just tried to look into the vaccination scheme for my province. A flash of hope, followed by feeling uninspired. Because the web site is not crystal clear.

    I wish people didn’t re-invent the wheel. I have read that the first-day site crash, for signing up for Obama care, was both predictable and preventable.

    In my province, history repeated.

    Dude, if you’re in government, and not sure whether a mass sign up will crash the system, then phone up a computer science professor and ask.

    My province failed to do that, and things crashed, although I heard an expert professor—reporters call him from all over North America— on the radio explaining how to easily and cheaply avoid the crash, after it was too late.

    Folks, they say we live in a communication age. Maybe so, but “the human factor” remains. The best way to communicate on a web site about vaccines is to test on small group first, even if doing so hurts your ego. In computers, that is called user testing; in technical writing, that’s called doing a reader protocol. I say this to be constructive instead of merely feeling dispirited.

  35. I’m trying to come up with an AD&D scenario that interests my wife – we’ve been married so long that very little I can think of surprises her, and she needs something to distract her from her upcoming surgery.

    There is nothing more terrifying to a DM than a blank sheet of graph paper.

  36. Doing well also. Happy to hear things are well for you. Excited about how the vaccine rollout is going and even more excited to think about hanging out with friends in person!

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