At the start of each year, I like to post a retrospective of the previous year. For many, 2021 meant isolation and difficult times. A fact that I’m painfully aware of and feel compassion for those experiencing this. But for me, life turned out to be the opposite. I soared with new opportunities to teach, read my poetry and prose at major conventions, and discovered online writing and critique groups that helped me stay focused and replaced the in-person venues I used to attend.
It was a good year for my husband as well. His firm shifted him to home-based work at the start of the pandemic and toward the end of 2021, that shift was made permanent. It makes my life easier knowing that he is gainfully employed and able to stay safely at home while we ride out the adventure that is Covid 19 together. We are now a household with a dueling office and studio, each at one end of the house, and it seems to work for us. Zoom is vital for our work and being able to connect at will in a private location has been helpful to us both. Our two fur babies are at constant play, a smug yellow tabby and a sweet wirehair dachshund who follows my husband everywhere. They keep us smiling.
The first quarter of 2021, I returned to virtual conventions where I had established myself as a panelist during 2020, and attended a few additional writing conferences. I made the level of “featured guest” at one convention due to setting up a complete poetry performance track at the venue, which is one step below guest of honor. I also taught my scifaiku poetry workshop at several of the conventions and due to this, was hired by a museum to teach the same class for their program in the fall.
During this quarter, I managed to complete a full revision of my Austen Regency book and made progress on tying new characters and story threads to the 3rd and 4th book of the series. I am not quite ready to publish book two, but it is close. I am working on getting covers for the entire series of four books and setting up an imprint for them. This takes capital and time, but I feel that in the end, it will be the correct move for my regency and science fiction books of the future. While I realize there are readers waiting for book two, I’d rather put out something that I’m proud of than rushing to market and “fixing” it later.
My first quarter also saw me become the editor of “Eccentric Orbits”, an anthology of speculative poetry put out by Dimentionfold Publishing. EO2 is the first anthology that I have edited and I feel proud of the project. I had poets submit from all over the world and had a good range of diversity, age, and gender included. I have been invited to return as editor of “Eccentric Orbits” for 2022 and also will be editing an edition of “Eye to the Telescope” for the SFPA next fall.
The second quarter of 2021 I tried to take a short break from speaking and took a poetry writing class instead. I wanted to create more long form poetry instead of the science fiction haiku I’m known for. I ended up writing literary pieces in the class, which I found surprising considering my speculative background, but also invigorating to explore a new side to my creativity. I have a future literary project I wish to pursue, a hybrid poetry and prose book that I plan to illustrate, and this class helped me decide on the format and tone of this future book.
The third quarter of the year, I was invited to be on the admin team of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. They created a new job title for me as their inaugural Con Coordinator. As it was put to me, I’ve been out there for the past two years creating panels for speculative poets at conventions all over the United States, I might as well be official! I started in September and I’m looking forward to a busy year in 2022 coordinating events for myself and my fellow SFPA poets.
The final quarter of the year, life took off like a rocket. The conventions switched from being totally virtual, to being hybrid. I flew to Denver to attend an in-person MileHiCon. My illustrated poetry appeared in their artshow, I had an author table, and appeared in a large number of panels as a speaker and reader. It felt very good to be back among people once more. We were all careful to wear masks and I ended up eating in my room for the most part, but even so, I was glad to be back to semi-normal at a convention. This quarter, I attended a week long writing conference in Las Vegas, taught an in-person poetry workshop in San Diego, and attended WorldCon virtually in December. The convention was hybrid with the physical part of the convention in Washington, DC. It felt strange to have a major convention the week before Christmas, but we all made it work.
And now, here we are at the New Year! I am grateful to have a solid roof over my head and the health to continue to create the poetry and stories that I love to write. I’m diving more into watercolor, gouache, and color pencils and hope to have new colorful mixed media offerings at the upcoming 2022 art shows.
Happy New Year! I hope you all can look forward to positives in the upcoming year and that the world as a whole can continue to move to a more normal life.