Respite Time and…The Walking DeadThe Walking Dead

I’m in that blissful space between books – free to wander idly in the garden or read for hours with a minimum of guilt… marvelling at the strangeness of it all.

Mostly I’m maintaining this surreal existence… although a few writerly things have managed to creep into the tranquil landscape of my idle mind. Things like future manuscripts and zombies…

The first invasion into my respite popped up in last week’s email: “Welcome Walking Dead students! Your course has officially begun.”

What?? Oh, that course. Yes, I do recall signing up for an online zombie course offered through the University of California from October 14 to December 20. It seemed innocuous at the time – a course reviewing zombie film clips with input from university professors, staff and students. No official homework or assignments. No pressure. Is it October already?

Last week we tackled Module 1: Mazlow’s hierarchical levels of needs. Shades of Psychology 101! Indeed there were snippets from The Walking Dead, and yes, the professors were charming and ever so knowledgeable. But it seems there are expectations that students view the required lectures and if we’re eager, we can follow links to a mountain of related materials. Oh, and there’s a test at the end of each module.

This week we zombie students are doing Module 2: Health and Disease. “In this module we will be exploring the foundational principles of public health as well as the basis of infectious diseases.” Oh, my…

As if that’s not enough to ruffle my leisure, the characters from The Bells of Prosper Station are talking to me again. Of course, I can’t allow their chatter to slip away into the darkness of distraction… so I’ve started a little computer folder called Haunted by Prosper Station. What can be the harm?

Then there’s Kevin’s book. He wants to do a complete revision of The Road Trip which we jointly wrote. This time, says Kevin, it’s to be built around another trip to Nova Scotia – but it’s to be his alone, no interference from a co-author mother. When I pointed out some of the complications of putting a book together, he conceded that I can be his editor.

The respite period seems to be shrinking a bit. Perhaps after “The Walking Dead,” I should consider a course on the “Psychology of Respite Avoidance.”