TWENTY-TWENTY: NOT SUCH A BAD YEAR AFTER ALL
It's tough to compete with 2018. That was the year that I turned 50, bought my dream home, graduated with an editing certificate from Simon Fraser University to embark on my dream career, and had my first novel published.
The next year, 2019, was all about building that business while continuing to pursue my own writing. At the end of 2019, I suffered a devastating loss. My amazing, kind, joyful, loving father passed away. I miss that man every single day and there’s a giant hole in my heart, which my dad, with all his miracle tools, is unable to fix. And so I entered 2020 with a bruised heart as I watched a looming threat brewing on the horizon, which was Covid-19.
At the start of the pandemic, I took to my studio and began working on a 24X36 painting that I had started five years before. It is a fairy painting that features my recreation of Elizabeth Seddal as painted by Daniel Rossetti in his painting Regina Cordium. In my painting, Seddal is depicted as a fairy, wearing an animal mask (deer’s head) as all around her, in the hawthorn bush, are animals wearing fairy masks. This painting is still unfinished, but I’ve managed to get about 75% of the way there.
Early in the year I also took a coloured pencil course taught by a local artist over Zoom and produced a few drawings in that medium, and I took part in an online art show.
My art was interrupted by the
mass influx of editing jobs.
In 2020 I edited fourteen books for clients. Among the subjects of these works were social issues, erotica, regency romance, action/adventure, paranormal, middle grade historical, middle grade environmental, speculative fiction, mystery, healthy cooking, non-fiction residential school memoir, and horror.
This year also saw me check off an item that had been on my bucket list for many years: to read 100 books in a year. I read a mixture of classics, young adult and middle grade, romance, bestsellers, memoir, non-fiction, Indigenous and diverse voices, writing craft, professional development, historical, gothic, indie, horror, and poetry. If you’d like to see what I read, please visit my Goodreads challenge at https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/19219759
In August of 2020 I landed two new jobs. The first is doing contract editing for a publishing house in Victoria, British Columbia, Tellwell Publishing. The other is judging an international writer’s contest (which I can’t name).
Since August, I have judged 414 stories. The judging process includes giving feedback on each story, so it is quite an effort.
On the author front, I’ve continued to sell my A Peculiar Curiosity and the anthologies I’ve been published in in 2018 and 2019. This year a consortium of authors got together and started an independent bookstore in Chemanius, called The Askew Creek Bookstore. It’s been fun being a part of that as well.
In terms of my writing, in 2020 I’ve written three short stories and plotted a fourth in my new collection which will be a companion work to A Peculiar Curiosity, a collection of short stories each telling the backstory or forward story of one of Edward’s curiosities.
I’ve written two other short stories, one that was published in October in the online journal, Love Letters to Poe https://loveletterstopoe.com/midnight-rider/
And another that will be published next year in a Dead Punk (gothic horror) anthology.
And I’ve plotted a third which may become part of a collection of short stories.
Monetarily, I’ve had my best year since the economic crash of 2009. It has been a long time coming! It has been a lot of legwork and a heck of a lot of sweat and focus.
The pandemic sequestering, although lonely at times, has been very good for my focus. But I have missed my family and the easy grace of relaxing with friends on a summer evening, and, of course, having visitors to my Island home… how I have missed this most of all. But I feel confident that by the end of 2021, we will return to something better resembling the life we lived and enjoyed before.
At times, life has other plans for us, and we have to find ways to adjust. I’ve spent this year with words, with imagination, and with helping to guide writers, give to writers, and work on my own writing. It’s been a year well-spent in the depth of imagination because the reality of 2020 was often too scary.
Tonight, I’ll raise my glass, count my blessings, and send out good energy to those who are hurting, who have lost, and who need love and a miracle.
From my home to yours.
Post a Comment