Since the pandemic got rolling, creativity of any kind has been a challenge for most. And this writer has been no exception.
While we've all been isolating and altering how we live in different ways, based on how the pandemic is playing out in our respective areas, there has been little peace and quiet within the relative peace and quiet. I found myself limiting my consumption of news reports for a while, not because of a lack of compassion for others, but because of it. In some parts of the world, COVID19 has literally been allowed to run rampant, infecting and killing the most vulnerable in society. As someone who writes about ordinary people, this has been a hard pill to swallow.
So I cocooned, focussed on the home front and those I love, immersing myself in things that could make a difference where I am.
The world issued a collective sigh as the American election wound down. Those of us living to the north especially so. While their new administration is still several months away from being sworn in and things are far from fully settled, I didn't realize how much the politics of a foreign nation impacted how I felt about the world and my place in it, until now.
Here in Canada, we have struggles of our own. The second wave of COVID19 has hit some areas hard and provinces are scrambling to curb the spread as the midwinter holiday season looms on the horizon. I live in the Atlantic bubble and we have been blessed with lower rates of infection than most places. That being said, we also have a large transient work force that regularly travels between here and hot spots, so we can't afford to let down our guard.
Still, as the leaves turned and the cold settled in, I've felt the warmth of hope seeping into my bones again. We've made it this far in 2020 and I've managed to carve out some happiness with my family on our little island, despite everything. I've never been as grateful for the comfort of mundane, domesticity as I have this year.
The morning coffee ritual with my partner and our three critters has done more to sustain me than I can describe. Walking with the dog in our favorite familiar places, drinking in the long sight lines and salt water views afforded along those routes, and watching the seasons change is a blessing each and every time. Puttering around the house with DIY projects has let me "nest" with my partner, and reminded me that I can still create beauty using paint and a little elbow grease.
The stress of 2020, has not helped my writing, at all. For months, I wrote nothing. I was completely dry. I'd sit in front of the computer, waiting for the stories to flow. The silence in my head was deafening. Most of the year was spent tidying older manuscripts as I waited for something to give. I'd had dry spots in the past, but this time, I was more anxious about it. My partner counselled patience. Not my strong point, ever. She insisted that once I was ready, the stories would return, as they always did.
Happily, she was right. (There, I put it in writing, LOL.) But when I thought about it, the creative difficulties this year make perfect sense.
Bringing a story to life for me is a labor of love. The characters are real to me, as real as anyone can be. I feel their struggles, their fears and their joys. I laugh with them, cry with them and stand shoulder to shoulder with them as they face their fears. This year has been hard on everyone. We've all been more fearful, anxious. The changes to our routines, to our family and work situations have been profound. In short, we've had a lot less to give to the creative process. I believe this is why mine shut down for a while. I had to give myself time to create my "new" normal, to walk a while in those shoes, before I was steady enough to wade into the tangled lives of new characters once again.
As this year winds down for me, I'm happy to report that I seem to have turned that corner and am writing new stories again. It was no surprise that my return was in the company of old friends, so to speak.
I'm pleased to share with you Book Seven in the Forgotten Worlds series, Igen.
The hopes, dreams, and ambitions of one generation are not easily passed on to succeeding generations. In the enclosed world of Igen they failed, the people weakened and faltered, staggering to the brink of extinction. Their only hope lay in the arrival of their greatest fear, the Outsiders, but did they come to save or destroy?
The past year has taught me that hope and resilience are intrinsically linked. Igen is a story about letting go of the past to embrace a better future. Not bad advice as we head towards 2021.