The first few days of this new year have felt, in many ways, like another year entirely. We were all so glad to be rid of 2020, and then 2021 hit. An attempted coup on our democracy, the pandemic raging and getting even worse, delayed vaccinations. With all the chaos and uncertainty around us, are you able to make plans for this year?
I’ll admit, 2020 kicked my butt as far as writing goes. I’d put about 30,000 words down on my new novel, The Summer of Princess Diana. I’d traveled to Switzerland in early March, and, with the help of my friend Barbara, had found the house where I’d spent a summer playing nanny (au pair) to a toddler. I took a couple of photos of the house and the memories came flooding back. And then, just three days into my trip, the president announced, erroneously, that he was closing the borders with Europe. My husband phoned me at my hotel at 2:30 in the morning (Swiss time, but yes, I was awake and had watched the speech on CNN in my hotel room) and pleaded with me to get the next flight home.
So I did. Because as much as I love Switzerland, I love my husband more. I checked out, took a train to Zurich, and handed over an additional $1,200 to secure the one remaining seat on an Aer Lingus flight from Zurich to Dublin to Boston. I was acutely aware of my surroundings, but I still had to stand in crowded lines and sit very close to people I didn’t know. I’m amazed I didn’t get sick.
So, for the rest of 2020, I stayed home a lot. You’d think I could have written three books, right? The situation affected everyone differently, and for me, I wasn’t able to write.
So here we are in January, anxiously awaiting the removal of the worst president in American history (yes, he is the worst – there isn’t any debate. He incited an insurrection because he couldn’t accept his loss), and awaiting the installation of a new administration that will be faced with daunting challenges. We wait for vaccines for everyone, so we might get back to some sense of normalcy. We hope for our economy to rebound, for people to get back to work, for kids to go back to school and try to make up for a diminished year of learning. We want to dine out, to go to the movies, to travel! Yes, we want to travel. And hug.
I’m planning, because I’m trying to be hopeful. I have been involved in editing manuscripts for others. It’s satisfying work, and the money is good, but I’m still not writing. And I want to write, so I have to carve out some time each day. I’m plotting out my 2021 theme for this year’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/) – those posts are written ahead of time, and I’ve participated since 2012, so this will be my 10th year. I’m chairing the Association of Rhode Island Authors’ annual anthology again this year, and that means being busy in the coming months. Editing, chairing, blogging, reading, and writing. And walking! I can’t sit in this chair all day.
I hope you’ve made plans for this new year. Don’t call them resolutions if you don’t want to. But look ahead, continue to have hope (I know, I cling to it sometimes, but hold on tight), and stay with me. I promise to have a new book for you this year.
Be well. Stay safe.
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. – Thich Nhat Hanh