You know what they say, when you don’t learn from history…

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Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

My past came back and slapped me in the face tonight.

A guy has been reaching out to talk to me about my experiences as a Shanti volunteer for a book he’s writing. He wants to know about the years I’d devoted to the organization that served people with AIDS.

San Francisco was at war with that virus in its Castro District back in the 80s and 90s, while other parts of the city hardly knew of its existence. Not the existence of the Castro, everyone knew about the home to the gay community, of course.

But if straight people had heard of AIDS, they thought it was a gay problem due to their sexual promiscuity, so it didn’t matter to them.

Tonight, in making arrangements for a zoom call to discuss his project, Brendan (I’ll call him Brendan because that’s his name) enclosed a copy of an article I’d written back in 1988 about my time as a straight volunteer working in the gay community. …

We didn’t prepare for enough waves.

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Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

I finally figured it out. We all hit the wall and at roughly the same time.

But you know that. Talk to any creative, and you’ll hear the same sad tale. Things were going great guns. We were beating this shutdown to a bloody pulp, getting our work done, exercising our bohonkuses off, rocking our quarantines like a boss.

For the first two weeks.

And then, we were like, what the eff? It’s not over yet?

But I need a haircut. I want to go to the gym. Have you seen my toenails? How long do you expect me to go without a pedicure?

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Photo by Samia Liamani on Unsplash

When cases started to rise, we did penance for our selfish thoughts. At least some of them. (Give up pedicures…

Need proof? Read the comments on the very first article I wrote for Medium.

I don’t write porn or erotica, but sometimes I talk about one of our most basic needs.

People get it.

You’re never too old for love or touch.

You’re missing the best part of Medium if you don’t read them.

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Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

I’d been on Medium a while before I figured out Notifications. Because I lug around a massive guilt complex thanks to my Catholic upbringing, I was sure the number next to my photo meant Ev Williams was sending me messages that I was doing everything wrong and probably breaking Medium. Would I please stop?

One day, I rustled up the courage to actually click on the little bell and read a message from a reader. OMFG. Someone actually liked one of my articles. …

Didn’t get COVID-19

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Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Dr. Joseph Varon expects an influx of patients after Thanksgiving: “If we don’t do things right, America is going to see the darkest days in modern American medical history.”

A few days before Thanksgiving, I had an uncomfortable call with my daughter. Her celebration was already pared down. Instead of the usual seventeen to twenty minimum invited to enjoy her husband’s 3-day brined turkey and collection of wines from his celebrated cellar, the gathering would include his two daughters from two different counties in the state and me. …

Did I become a cr*p writer overnight or is Medium messing with the algorithm again?

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Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

I chose this image of a sinking hourglass because that’s what seems to have happened to my average read time. Can you relate?

I don’t claim to be the best writer on the planet or the most successful writer on Medium. But I have a few moves.

I joined Medium to make money and stayed for the fellowship. Surprisingly, my stats did well enough that, by the middle of the pandemic, I was earning a good chunk of income with my articles.

And then, you know, the pandemic.

I’ve kept a pretty serious quarantine. I live alone and remained closeted in my small apartment for four months, writing, exercising, being positive like I was in the finals for the Pandemic Coping Olympics.

Then I found out they weren’t giving out gold medals this year; we just had to suck it up and continue continuing for god knows how long. …

Parsing Joe Biden’s message to heal our national divide.

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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Elections have consequences.

Or do they?

We know they have winners and losers, but in this post-election, pre-inaugural era, the question of consequences weighs heavily in the public discourse, or it at least lights up my Twitter feed.

This morning Jake Tapper of CNN posted a tweet that brought to our attention an organization called The Trump Accountability Project. He claimed the organization aimed to prevent anyone in the administration from getting a job once the Biden team took over.

Quoting from Tapper, “Click on the link — the manifesto says this applies to “those who took a paycheck from the Trump Administration.” …

To return to the NaNoWriMo obsession.

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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

King or Kornacki?

Pennsylvania or Arizona?

Did you sleep last night?

Has it been called yet?

Don’t bother me about dinner, kids. Eat some cereal. I’m following the election.

Please tell me I’m not the only obsessive-compulsive who spit on every responsibility to pin my bohonkus to the couch and watch every nail-biting minute of the election returns.

What’s a commitment to get my novel uploaded to Kindle by COB last Friday? So what if I’ve pledged to take on NaNoWriMo again and inspire my readers with daily accounts of my progress? Call my friends and family to let them know I’m still alive? If it mattered, they could call me. They’re probably too busy scanning Leslie Jones’ Twitter account to see if she’s posted something new and funny about her crush on Steve Kornacki to worry about whether I’ve caught the virus yet. …

Have I failed if I miss my daily writing session?

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Photo by Jennifer Griffin on Unsplash

So, up front, I’m behind on my words.Yesterday, Day 2, I managed to carve out about a thousand words from the ragtag outline I put together and some ideas that came to me while I was at the gym.

The headwinds I’ve been up against are lack of sleep from the Daylights Savings time change and my total obsession with this election. I’m not going to turn this post into a political rant, but life gets in the way of our best intentions. …

Don’t wake up Wednesday and think, oh, fudge. I should have voted but the line was too long.

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Photo by Manny Becerra on Unsplash

Scared by the long lines at the polling stations?

Think your arthritic feet will hurt too much if you wait several hours to vote?

Don’t want to waste a few hours casting a vote when you have so many things on your to-do list? Like rotating your tires and catching up on decluttering your e-mail inbox?

Well, I’m an ordinary person who doesn’t like pain or inconvenience any more than anyone else, say a person just like you.

So just to put voting in perspective, let me list some things I’ve gone through and survived that are harder than waiting in line to vote. …


Helen Cassidy Page

Writer, editor, researcher, aging expert, life coach, sand tray coach. Read one of my 55 titles on Amazon:

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