I started writing The Plague-Ground last March 18th, five days after my wife, Jean, and I fled north to our cottage.
Within a couple of weeks, most of my work had vaporized. RamsayTalks. RamsayTravels. In-person courses. All gone. For the first time in my life, I had little to do.
After the early panic, I thought: “I’m not just going to sit here.” So I began writing my impressions of life during lockdown – from empty supermarkets and spousal haircuts, to the need for faith, to the certainty that “We’re all going to die!”
In the 52 weeks between the first blog post and Wednesday’s when time seemed to both crawl and fly by, the world has been shrouded in sickness and death, offset with pockets of hope and glory. Most of us have survived with our bodies and families intact.
Today is the first anniversary of when so much of our world left work to stay home. We thought lockdown would last a few weeks, or at worst a couple of months. There were times when I was writing The Plague-Ground every weekday. But over the months, as my clients began to come back and I started offering online writing and presentation courses, I no longer had time to write five blogs a week. So I cut back to three.
Early on, my colleague Alex Brown began to read each posting as a podcast that arrives with every blog.
Twice I thought of quitting. The first was in August when I passed 50 installments. After all, the plague seemed to be ending. The number of new infections in Canada on August 22nd was 257. It would soon be over.
The second time was just before Christmas when clients and grandkids and spotty WiFi all conspired to make writing and sending the blog more of a slog than a joy.
But who was I kidding? I love writing these things.
To take a complex subject, find a new way into it that will shed new light on the way out, to connect people and worlds and ideas that rarely bump into each other, well, what could be more fulfilling or more fun?
One reason is that lots of you thought to write comments on what I said. For the most part, they were reasonable and even complimentary. Very few were insulting or just plain nuts, although I did learn that any blog about “Trump” or “Trudeau” just needed to add the “F”-letter to turn ire into fire. That said, I feel I’ve somehow escaped the social media mob, which is a tribute either to how reasonable my readers are, or how contentedly out-of-date.
In the past month, three of you thought to suggest that I should change the title of The Plague-Ground – because it’s depressing and as the vaccinations arrive, increasingly inaccurate. Point taken. As you can see at the top of this blog, the new name is “RamsayWrites” which has the virtue of simplicity and quickly conveying who does what.
The second change is that RamsayWrites will be offered on a paid subscription basis. But not until a month from now on April 12th. Until then, it’s still free for all.
Starting on April 12th, RamsayWrites and its podcast will land in your inbox like clockwork in the early morning three days a week. Until then, you’ll continue to get the final free issues of The Plague-Ground.
As of April 12th, the cost of the new RamsayWrites experience (both written and spoken) will be $75 a year, or $10 a month. And if you sign up by April 12th for the annual subscription, you’ll get 20% off, which saves you $15. By any calculus, it’s less-than-a-latte a week.
But even if you decide not to subscribe, I will never leave you. You’re still on the list for my weekly free Omnium-Gatherum posts (OGs). These contain 8 to 10 short items that link you to different worlds, like this one. Subscribers will of course receive this post as well.
Exactly a year ago tomorrow, March 13, 2020, the world locked itself down. No one – and I mean not one living soul among the 7.8 billion of us – could have predicted then that we’d all be where we are now.
But while the pandemic has exposed terrible things, it has also revealed wonderful connections and ways of being that didn't exist because we didn’t have the time to think of them.
So if you’d like to keep connecting, please join me. Not just connecting ideas that were strangers to each other, but connecting you to those ideas and people as well.
With many thanks – and please tell your friends.