The Socially Distant Writer

Is that title redundant? I think so. I assume most writers lean toward the socially distant versus the socially engaged end of the social interaction spectrum. Then again, I don’t hang our with many other writers, so I can only guess. Hmm.


As a writer, words probably fascinate me more than my non-writer friends, and sometimes they irritate me more as well, especially ‘gotten‘. If the WIS news personalities say that one more time on the morning show, I may scream…But I digress.

How “new” words and phrases catch on can be fascinating, too. My son recently graduated from college, which means along the way of his childhood, I was occasionally subjected to a Nickeloden ‘tween series in the mid-2000s called Zoey 101. I only remember one episode, but it has stuck with me all these years.

DrippinIn the episode, titled “Drippin! Episode!” (thanks, Google), Michael is trying to establish his own catchphrase. He comes up with the word drippin’ to mean awesome and proceeds to use it every chance he can. His friends grow weary of hearing it but eventually succumb to using it. However, they never give Michael the credit, presumably to irritate him.

Later this year, around early December, Miriam-Webster will announce their 2020 Word of the Year. While any number of words surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic could apply, including COVID-19, coronavirus, and pandemic, my money is on the two-word combo “social distancing.” To me, this most represents a word or phrase that went from zero-to-sixty in 2.2 seconds during the last three months and we continue to hear ad nauseam. It’s also a phrase I didn’t realize I’ve been trying to do for most of my adult life.

The Studio

I’m very fortunate. When the world went into shutdown mode in March, my job kept on rolling because those of us in the food supply business were declared essential workers. For the most part, I go into work each day. There was a 10-day period back in April, though, where the family spent some time self-quarantining due to possible exposure to COVID-19. We were and still are all OK.

During this time, I was able to work from home as perhaps many of you have done. I started our quarantine working from my favorite spot, the screened-in porch. The pollen was bad, but the weather was perfect and with some antihistamines, I was happy. The weather soon took a slight turn for the worse, becoming too cold to work outside.

I then moved to the dining room table. This lasted a day or two but ended when I realized we needed to further social distance ourselves in the house. Not due to any germ spreading, mind you. I needed to be farther away and decided my workshop garage would be my best distancing option.

My Writing Studio

My Writing Studio

The place was a mess, but I did enough cleanout over a weekend to be able to use the old workbench as my new stand up desk. I had to run a space heater in the mornings, but by afternoons all was well. I was worried my WiFi would have issues, but it proved to be rock solid.

The success of this little experiment has changed my vision for the workshop. The old Jeep garage dream is officially dead for now, and I’m in the process of turning the space into my home writing studio. Besides, I’ve already done more work in the garage as a home office than I did in it as a Jeep restoration shop.

Soon, this socially distant writer will have a new retreat. Just in time, too, because any day now, South Carolina’s summer heat and humidity will show up, and my beloved screened porch won’t be so pleasant until at least October. So far, in addition to more cleaning, I’m about 50% done with the needed insulation, and I’ve added an old window unit air conditioner. A whiteboard wall is also in the works.

Desk In Progress

Desk In Progress

Is this garage makeover procrastination in disguise? Probably, but as some people need a gym to exercise their bodies, I plan on making this my writing workout spot for this summer. If I can knock out book number two by Labor Day, that will be drippin’!

Thanks for reading,


PS. Stay safe and avoid bad TV (too late for many of you, I know). Feel free to stop by the studio and visit this summer. Just kidding, that would be way too social for me.


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