Artist In Residence Quarantine Diaries Episode 9: Scrying…

This one might be a little depressing.

That crystal ball we never had is looking more and more like a Magic8 Ball, giving you veiled and often irrelevant answers to increasingly desperate questions.

Everything that you thought you knew about the future imploded around us during the last six months of so. We soldier on, trying to pay the bills that land on our desk,sneaking into grocery stores with masks on our snoots (and having borderline irrational conversations with strangers, like “that’s a cute mask! where di dyou get it?” – truth, someone said that to me…), wincing when we see things like a bouncy castle on someone’s lawn with five nearly-naked unmasked children having fun with it at close quarters and going ow ouch what about social distancing (never mind summer, never mind childnood, never mind just PLAYING WITH SUMMER TOYS)… but, to quote Goerge R R martin, “Winter is coming”. And I’m staring down the barrel of the rest of this year and thinking, is there an end to this that I can see? Is there a destination at the end of this long road we’re all on? Are we supposed to stagger out of this, and go back to… but what was normal, anyway, that we would want to get back to? so many things need to be changed…

That’s the pile over there, the failed American response to the pandemic (“BECAUSE FREEEEEDOOM!!”) and its baggage. On the rapidly rising pile over here, we have the unrest in the streets which isn’t really dying down… we have the respnse by the authorities (who aren’t supposed to use tear gas and “non lethal rounds” but do anyway)… and we have the escalation tha tis pushing us into South American Junta territory of Disappearing People. There are some who are clinging onto to the hope of the elections – but even if EVERYTHING goes according to plan (and El Presidente has already suggested that he might not respect the peaceful transition of power that we’re all used to, should he lose, and look, he has a private army now…) everything that’s gone to hell is going to take time to bring back to sanity, if it can be at all – and quite aside from that, I keep on questioning how on EARTH America can function in a global society if no agreement that the nation makes can be trusted to survive a partisan presidency change with the incoming president reversing everything that the incumbent had done in their tenure? How the hell do you sign an international agreement with a country which is going to renege on it in four or eight years, when the”other” side comes into power? Aren’t there issues that should supersede political partisanship – like freaking GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE (how the hell were we simply pulled out of the Paris Agreement because Trump wanted out? where the hell do we get off “leaving” the World Health Organization, because Trump doesn’t like the way the pandemic is making him look? Is it possible that the ass in chief really DID build that wall that he wanted – because right now Americans aren’t welcome in just about any other country on earth, and the wall was really built to keep us all IN and not anyone OUT…?)

Where do we go from here?

Was the Shnining City on the Hill really no more than a citadel in flames, and we’re locked inside, screaming, while the conflagration devours us?

The crystal ball is dark and silent on the way forward.

If you try the Magic 8 Ball, it’s likely to give you a skull-and-crossbones grin and whisper, “Ask again later”…


About Alma Alexander

Alma Alexander's life so far has prepared her very well for her chosen career. She was born in a country which no longer exists on the maps, has lived and worked in seven countries on four continents (and in cyberspace!), has climbed mountains, dived in coral reefs, flown small planes, swum with dolphins, touched two-thousand-year-old tiles in a gate out of Babylon. She is a novelist, anthologist and short story writer who currently shares her life between the Pacific Northwest of the USA (where she lives with her husband and two cats) and the wonderful fantasy worlds of her own imagination. You can find out more about Alma on her website (, her Facebook page (, on Twitter ( or at her Patreon page (


Artist In Residence Quarantine Diaries Episode 9: Scrying… — 1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the candid view of the day – looks painfully familiar. I’m already planning to sacrifice my Magic 8 Ball on a side altar for Day of the Dead – nestled in a lush heap of marigolds and topped with some Flicker feathers left by a hunting Coopers Hawk.
    Wishing you health and safety and the fortitude to survive the Dumpster Fire.