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THE HILARIOUS COVID-19 PANDEMIC Grad School on ZOOM. Not too wretched.


The City University of New York accepted me starting in the Spring of 2021. While I wanted to return in person, the ability to take classes virtually helped with the escape to Florida.

Officially re-entered academia in November of 2020. Just as I was coming down with Covid, the email came through. Yours truly would be a candidate for an MFA at CUNY. Started my Masters at Villanova in 1980. Odd that none of the credits would transfer.

    As much as I loathed ZOOM, within a few sessions I warmed to the use, and found the professors at the school facile teaching with it.

    Two classes, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Victorian Novel.

    Felt great to be back. Yes, the students are, for the most part, a collection of Woke Millennials trying not to laugh and making Orange Man Bad comments. Ignoring their youthful indulgence felt like the best course of action.

    The most enjoyable benefit was the structure. In addition to working on the rewrite of the soon-to-be-published “TIME Blinked,” my debut novel, and taking Astro out about a zillion times a day, the twice-weekly sessions forced me back into the work habits missing since retiring from the film industry in 2018.

    I no longer could afford to stare at a computer screen all day and make wan efforts at book writing. Nor could I ignore the domestic duties I had as the significant other still had employment responsibilities for her job.

    Homework reappeared after a forty year break. Required reading. Required writing.

    Best assignment of the entire semester had to be the Canterbury Tale I submitted IN MIDDLE ENGLISH at the end of the term. The professor granted permission for the proposal.

    Writing in a foreign language, and yes, Middle English is English in name only, taught me to be resourceful, clever, and vigilant. Wrote about fifteen lines a day for a month.

    By the time I hit send on the email, I crafted the 450 line “The Tale of the Theef,” that’s Thief in Middle English.

    The professor called it an “Excellent parody of a Canterbury Tale.”

    It was the finest comment I’d received since Professor Les Muchmore (Not making that up) gave me a decent grade in my dramatic literature class at Villanova citing my “Not inconsiderable gift of gab.”

    Whatever it takes.

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