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  • Merlisa

Pandemic Playbook: Creating New Ways to Amuse Myself

Updated: Oct 17, 2020

Self isolating has its benefits. You have a built-in excuse for not inviting certain people to your house. However, even for an alone-time seeker like me, eventually boredom sets in and it's time to create new ways to amuse myself.

I live in Florida, where abundant sunshine, open spaces and warm weather are no match for an ignorant governor who graduated first in his class at the Trump University school of mismanagement. Still, even though Gov. Ron "DeVirus," arrived late to the lockdown, I began self-isolating in early March.

The first month felt like a vacation. Working from home meant ordering new books and getting reacquainted with old ones. After the summer, when Gov. DeVirus, decided to open up the state, I had to become vigilant in locking down. More people had the virus and DeVirus gave them the greenlight to demask and gather. This meant I had find some new activities.

First, I created workshops through via Audible books. Most workshops and seminars involve listening to experts share tips. So I downloaded experts on memoir, podcasting and creative non-fiction. I'd get my notepad, take notes and spend hours in writing or marketing seminars.

Then, I hosted a series of film festivals. Missing live theater and movies, I decided to hold film festivals based on themes or actors. I began with RomComs based on Amazon recommendations. I used Rotten Tomatoes as jury. Even still, some of the lower-ranked fresh films turned out to be enjoyable.

In September I held a Ralph Fiennes Film Festival. One of my favorite actors, Fiennes has such range. I figured I'd skip the familiar, The English Patient and Schindler's List, movies that garnered him Oscar nominations, and seek out films I had not seen.

First up, a gem called A Bigger Splash. In this movie Fiennes plays a charismatic jerk. A loveable jerk. The highlight of the film is a dance scene. Surprise! Dude can bust a move. Next, I thought I'd check out The Baby of Macon. Released in 1993, this was Fiennes pre Quiz Show.

Yikes. Bad choice. Bizarre. In one scene, Fiennes gets naked. I'm talking butt naked, full frontal nudity. Just when he's about to knock boots with Julia Ormond a bull gores him to death. Blood spraying everywhere, and I reach for the remote. Ugh. Had to shut down the Fiennes festival.

Fiennes redeemed himself with a brief appearance at my Coen Brothers Film Fest. That scene in Hail, Caesar!, the "Would that it were so simple," is so far, the highlight of the ongoing Coen Brothers Film Fest. Unlike the Fiennes Festival, the Coen Brothers Film Fest will enjoy at short run because I've seen more than 85 percent of all their movies. Perhaps I'll extend the festival to enjoy favorites: Raising Arizona and Burn After Reading, again.

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