The Duration

(NOTE: I posted this first on my professional blog, which you can find at I’m reposting it here because I know there are some of you that might want to see it but don’t follow both sites.)

On March 2nd I spent the morning listening to the greatest hits of 1918. Coronavirus concerns had just started to get serious in Seattle, and many people were drawing comparisons to the 1918 flu (often referred to as The Spanish Flu despite its American origin). I thought listening to the songs might give me some perspective about how much things had changed since humanity’s last great pandemic. More than anything, listening to it gave me the reassuring thought, “Hey, at least we’re not also fighting World War I.”

As a society, we don’t experience war quite like we used to. Modern wars that are fought overseas have less impact on the daily lives of many Americans. We’ve separated ourselves into a class of people effected by war, and a class that is not. But a disease is different. It is not limited by wealth, class, or race. This is a fight from which no one, quite literally, is immune.

They used to use the phrase “the duration” a lot during the world wars. Because the war really did effect your everyday life, you could apply it to any change that was intended to last the duration of the war. It’s helpful, because it allows you to declare an indefinite change to life without making it a permanent one. Right now, businesses and governments are tending to hedge their bets by making all proclamations last for only 2-4 weeks at a time, with a promise to update or extend if necessary. But I think at this point it’s clear to people that any measures we take are in place until this is over. They are here for the duration.

My gym is closed for the duration. My volunteer work won’t happen for the duration. I can’t see any live theater for the duration. Holiday parties are cancelled for the duration. I probably won’t be able to visit my parents in person for the duration.

It’s a sad thought, all these things I won’t have for an unknowable period of time. But it’s also helpful to remember that they won’t last forever. Back when I was studying to be an actor, the best piece of advice I got was to always have something fun planned for after an audition. That way, this one worrying, stressful event didn’t feel like the last thing I’d ever do. Oftentimes it was as simple as promising myself I would get an Orange Julius on the way home.

This morning I started making a list of everything I’m going to do AFTER the duration. Clients I will followup with, friends I will get coffee with, places I will visit. I don’t know when this list will come to fruition, but it’s nice having it. It’s nice remembering that this won’t be forever. Like any war, there will be damage along the way that cannot be undone. But there is an end, even if it isn’t in sight.

I’m fortunate that many aspects of my work can be done over video chat, since so much of what I do is talking people through their problems, and how they talk about their clutter is as telling for me as seeing it. Still, in a time when everyone is suddenly trapped at home with their stuff, I wish I could be there with them to sort through it in person. Unlike in 1918, we’re lucky to live in a time in which being isolated at home doesn’t mean being cut off. I’m still here for all of you via phone and video, whether that’s as a client or just as a friend. And I intend to keep writing, so if you have anything in particular you’ve been struggling with let me know, and perhaps I can turn it into a blog post to help others as well.

We’re here for each other for the duration. And on the other side of the war.

BookTubeAThon 2017 – Reading Challenges and my TBR

BookTube is a community of people on Youtube who post videos about books and reading, and every summer this community has a seven day read-a-thon (this year from July 24th to July 30th). This year’s challenges are:

  1. Read a book with a person on the cover.
  2. Read a hyped book.
  3. Finish a book in one day.
  4. Read about a character that is very different from you.
  5. Finish a book completely outdoors.
  6. Read a book you bought because of the cover.
  7. Read seven books.

There are video and Instagram challenges that happen during the week, which I’ve done in the past with mixed success. I think this year I’ll keep an eye on them but only bother with the challenges that really excite me.

It wouldn’t be a Katrina Project if there weren’t a spreadsheet, so here you go:

Tracking Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet shows the breakdown of what I’m reading and my plan for how I’ll pace myself. If you want to do the same you can download a copy of the spreadsheet and make it your own.

Here’s what I’ll be reading:

1/ Read a book with a person on the cover.
A Brief History of Time
2/ Read a hyped book.
Gone Girl
3/ Finish a book in one day.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (person)
4/ Read about a character that is very different from you.
Everything I Never Told You
5/ Finish a book completely outdoors.
Art & Fear
6/ Read a book you bought because of the cover.
The Stone Heart
7/ Read seven books.

This is my third year doing the challenge, and hopefully my third success! Seven books sounds like a lot, but remember a book is how you define it. Every year I have at LEAST one book that’s very short, such as a play, graphic novel, or children’s book. If you’re participating this year let me know in the comments, especially if you have an Instagram or Youtube channel I can follow.

Good luck and happy reading!



Fun Facts of Lent, Day Thirty-Three: Favorite Hymns

These are in no particular order, and this list is not exhaustive. I may even come back and add more later. Some of the video links are better than others; the state of non-flowery hymn recordings on youtube is not what it ought to be. In putting together this list I’ve found that my preferred interpretation of any hymn is one sung by a group of 12-20 signers who are good but not overly impressive, in a room with decent acoustics and not much echo. This makes sense, as it’s how I’m used to hearing most of them.

Regardless, I love these and so many others. Feel free to play them all at my funeral.

Sweet, Sweet Spirit
Favorite line:
Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly dove,
Stay right here with us, filling us with your love.

The Summons (pro tip: almost everybody plays this song too slow for my taste. If you use the settings gear in the youtube player to bump the playback speed on this video to 1.25, it’s just about perfect)
Favorite line:
Lord, your summons echoes true
when you but call my name

The Irish Blessing
Favorite line:
May the rain fall soft upon your fields

Amazing Grace
Favorite line:
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shinning as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun

Nothing Separates Us (I couldn’t find this song online at all, and I only know it from youth conferences growing up. This means there’s a decent chance it was written by someone I know and I never realized it.)
Favorite line:
When I’m afraid, when I’m alone
When life is cold and darkness falls
I need to know that someone is there
And nothing separates us from the love of God

I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
Favorite line:
They were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.

O Come, O Come Emanuel
Favorite line:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel.

O Holy Night
Favorite line:
Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!

Now the Green Blade Rises
Favorite line:
When our hearts are saddened, grieving, or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again like wheat that springs up green

Here I Am Lord
Favorite Line:
Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light (again, bump up the playback to 1.5 speed for preferred tempo)
Favorite line:
I want to walk as a child of the light
I want to follow Jesus

God Has Spoken to His People
I don’t really have a favorite line, I just love this tune. I also love this video of little kids playing percussion instruments with such incredible focus.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Favorite line: (really the whole last verse, but especially)
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

Temporarily Under Destruction

I thought I should give a brief check-in for regular readers to let you know that I’m one week into NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I’ll be honest, it’s not going well. I’m having a much harder time than I have in previous years, probably because I didn’t think enough about my story before I sat down to start writing. Perhaps my first two NaNos just made me cocky.

Whatever the reason, it’s possible that you won’t hear from me again before the end of the month, since just getting in my daily word count has been a real slog. The idea of editing and publishing unrelated posts hasn’t even crossed my mind.

So until December, here’s a bunch of kittens accidentally turning on a vacuum.


It’s Not Just the Background

Congratulations! If you are a regular follower of this blog and you’re seeing this message, then your work is done.

I’ve moved from to, and in theory my followers and subscribers have been moved as well. I’ll be continuing to blog about travel occasionally and life considerably from this new site, so stay tuned.

In appreciation for you reading this administrative post, here’s a gif of me over the last three weeks, trying to set up a self-hosted website for the first time:

Gif Created on Make A Gif

Posting Delay Due to Mars Fire Power

I spent all weekend at the wonderful Emerald City ComicCon, dressing up, watching my friends do great things, and working a booth. So I don’t have a post today, but just for funsies here’s a link to the Photographic Novel I did for six years. This was our last convention selling the books in person, and maybe the last thing I do for Night Zero. Of course, I’ve said that many times before…

Night Zero

No Post Today

A series of events outside my control and preference ended with me working working 12 hours yesterday, with an early start this morning. In lieu of a post, here’s a picture of a sinister-looking dog stuck in a motorhome:

Sinister Dog