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Big news!

Two major things occurred this week.

I delivered my printed and bound thesis to the university to complete my Phd. It is a week shy of a year from when I submitted it. Honestly, the longest 12 months ever due to the administration at the university. Anyway, I hope to graduate in April in person but I’m likely to have my degree conferred before then. This now means I can start work on developing my Phd novel, Sihem, for publication, actually to submit to agents first up. I have structural edits to take up. You might ask why do I need to do that. Didn’t I just do a PhD in creative writing? Yes, I did but I was limited to word length and also I explored themes related to my PhD topic and that restricted how much time I devoted to other aspects of world building. That’s my January sorted.

The second big bit of news is Awakening has been published to most e retailers. I’m about to hit print on the print version too. I haven’t updated my links yet. There’s a lot going on as we finish off renovations and painting and pay attention to family visiting in the lead up to Christmas.

I wanted to share with you a bit about the genesis of Awakenings. It started with a kind of a poem as I sat by my mother in the early morning in the later stages of her life. She didn’t die that time but it was close. So I sat there at 2 am watching her on April 19 2014, looking at her pale white skin, her shallow breaths and then wrote down the ideas that came to me. Here is what I wrote:

Bring out the soldiers who lie within their frozen crypts

Do not wake them or disturb them

Their time is done

They gave us this peace, t his life and we are thankful.

Let not their sleeping, tranquil faces beguile you

They are bringers of death, purveyors of harm

It is time to let them go

Let them burn

Their flesh to no more rise

Let us grasp a future where they no longer exist

Where we are free

I don’t claim to be a poet, but these words were the genesis behind Awakening. I used some of these words and the ideas behind them for the novel. Here is the blurb.

Bring out the cold soldiers who lie in frozen sleep.

Do not wake them nor let their tranquil faces beguile.

They are purveyors of death.

They must burn!

What soldiers?  Colony Five has been proudly peaceful since before living memory. 

The cryptic new orders make no sense to Deleen Milo… until she sees the burning bodies in the stasis sarcophagi.  She tries to uncover the truth behind the mysterious soldiers, only to become adrift in a colony suddenly full of secrets and threats.  Who wants the soldiers destroyed and the colony defenceless?

Pursued into hiding, Deleen manages to revive Rik Chesson, a Cold Soldier trying to understand the new world waiting for him after 134 years of cryosleep.  Deleen has never trusted easily, and Rik’s nanotech-infused posthuman form sets her nerves on edge.  But they are the only ones who can rescue the surviving Cold Soldiers and defend the colony against a deadly new threat.  They have to work together, and as they begin to truly know one another Deleen realises that however Rik’s body may have changed, the man inside might just be one she can love…

It has taken a while to get this book published. I started out thinking it would one thing but Nicole Murphy who was my first reader suggested I take a different tack. Every time I was part way through a revision something else would crop up and some of those revisions were big. This year, I had another beta reader, Lily, who did an amazing job and her comments helped me focus on getting it done and out there. I hope you like it.

After years of struggle, it’s out. I’ve uploaded the ebook to retailers and it should filter into the net shortly.

Print book is still a few weeks away but I hope to have it available at Gammacon in Canberra 22nd July through to 24 July. Come grab a copy!

Blurb

Rolf Bauer, alpha of the Canberra werewolf pack, thought his life was getting back to normal after the defeat of the evil sorceress Nira.  But a new curse has appeared, transforming random humans into werewolves in a brutal forced change that none of its victims has survived… until now.

Up-and-coming journalist Abbie McGregor is the only human to survive the Changeling Curse, and her world turns upside-down as Rolf nurtures her through the change and into her new existence as a werewolf.  As part of his pack, Abbie must not only master her inner wolf and control her surging sexual desires, but submit to the leadership of her alpha.  And that is something she swears she will not do, despite the attraction flaring between them.

As they hunt the sorcerer behind the new curse Abbie pushes Rolf to the edge, challenging him to explore his hunger for power and for love.  And Rolf must guide and protect the headstrong Abbie, the only one who knows their enemy’s scent and can track him down… unless he kills them both first!

PS it’s a bit hot this one.

PSS now I can work on Awakenings–SF adventure from me!

Great cover by Cathy’s Covers

Time really speeds up when you’re are busy with life. It’s been a bit of this and that.

On the writing front I went to the ARRA awards in Sydney and it was great to catch up with people and feel like a writer again. I got all inspired and borrowed ideas for ways to promote me and my books at places like Gammacon in Canberra in July and Geek Markets later in the year and the ARRA signing in February in Sydney and Melbourne.

I’ve also been working on getting books out. I have the edit back of The Changeling Curse (that’s under the Dani Kristoff name) and I’ve got comments on Awakenings so that’s next in the chute for edit. I did manage to sneak away for a few days to write. I started the first chapter of Lightning Strike, which is a sequel to The Changeling Curse. Let’s hope that doesn’t take years! And I started a short SF story. However, since being back there’s just too much going on at home.

I’ve finally put in an order for a pull up banner and a banner for the back part of my table. I’m just in the middle of trying to get a table runner set up too. Meanwhile I’m getting these custom book marks made (Thanks Keri) as well. This means that my table and books will be presented at least.

There has been a change of government here in Australia, with a few more independents, which will make things interesting. There’s still heaps of Covid around and a war in the Ukraine.

On the weekend though we went to Sydney and to Luna Park. I tried the new Big Dipper. I went twice but you know I didn’t want to have a stroke so I didn’t go a third time. Also, the girl who looks you in said “Back again?” possibly because I’m old! Lol. We were so luck to have such a great day sandwiched between two rainy days. I also got to try out Sydney’s public transport, buses, trains, light rail and ferries. We stayed on Coogee Beach at the Coogee Sands and I highly recommend it. They had free parking and it was just a step outside to the promenade. Anyway, here are some shots.

As you can see great day
Great view under the bridge from Milsons Point
Through the bus stop windows
Caught the sea gull taking off
From the roof of the Coogee Bay Sands

I’m still writing, still excited by touching my passion.

My problem now is that I have to moderate my time at the key board because sinking into a story for hours gives me RSI in my right arm, but also a sore back because posture suffers from long sitting.

Last night I ached but I was all good today. I’m using a timer now.

Today the farm settled. I might have mentioned we renovated and emptied it out etc. We are celebrating with pizza tonight. It was meant to settle last Thursday so we booked an amazing degustation dinner at an exclusive restaurant. The settlement didn’t go through. We celebrated any way. So today, the actual day, it’s pizza at home, in front of a kung fu movie Matthew wants to watch.

I’m very focussed on getting The Changeling Curse to the editor. I’m taking up comments from the most amazing beta reader Lily and also Nicole. I have about 199 pages to go (67 pages done). The main thing is I am very happy with how it’s going. I probably still have a few pot holes to fix but I’m so happy and excited, I’m loving it. I hope this feeling lasts.

Awakenings, my SF novel is with beta readers right now so I’m hoping that I can get The Changeling Curse out the door to the editor before beta reader comments come back.

Better go. Pizza is here.

I am back here again blogging. Not year long wait this time.

Since I blogged last I’ve been making a concerted effort to reengage with my creative writing.

I booked to go the Australian Romance Readers Awards in Sydney at the end of April. I’m not up for an award or anything (not having published anything in the last couple of years) but I want to reengage with the scene, with other authors, some of whom at great buddies. And it’s a great event, at a great venue and Matthew and I will enjoy ourselves.

The next thing I did was actually get out some manuscripts. I have a middle grade book I’m writing so I reviewed what I had written so far and extended the story a bit. I have a lot of works in various stages of progress. I targeted two novels that have been almost there for a while. The science fiction one, Awakenings, I reviewed and then sent to beta readers. That was a massive milestone for me.

On Saturday, I also shared a table to sell books at the Geek Markets here in Canberra. Again, this was to help me get back into my writing groove. It’s not all just about drafting, revising and editing. There’s actual promotion, selling and getting into the scene. I had an okay day. I sold books, talked about my books and answered questions about my books. I hung with fellow writers, some I haven’t seen in two years.

I wore a mask most of the time and I’d say about 30 per cent of the people I saw walking past had masks. They don’t have to wear them, but there are still a lot of Covid around. I seriously like Canberra geeks. I have now put in to book for Gammacon in Canberra in July. (I hope I managed to snag a table)

Anyhow, something in what I’ve done appears to have worked. Today, I started working on The Changeling Curse, the sequel to The Sorcerer’s Spell, a paranormal romance, very spicy. Something happened. I am sharing the covers with you below. They have been languishing for so long for me to put the words with them.

Today, I fell into writing, editing etc and entered the ‘zen’ zone. I call it the zen zone because everything around me disappears. I lose track of time. I go into the space where my story is unfolding. I feel excitement. It’s like a drug. I just want more and more. This feeling kept going. I did lose track of time. I had an appointment and shamefacedly realised that I’d been absent. I went out and then I came back and started writing again. And the zen zone came back. I am so excited by this. I have passion again. I feel like I did when I first discovered writing. It feels so amazing.

I can’t describe how happy and invigorating this makes me feel. Now instead of setting goals like ‘half hour a day on a manuscript’ I’m setting myself goals ‘take a break before you wreck yourself.’ For so long I was in a creative desert.

I’m really grateful to my writing buddy Lily Mulholland. She beta read The Changeling Curse for me and also made comments and suggested edits. These small things, which probably took her a lot of time, have been amazing. I feel like I can do this. I feel like I’m a writer again.

I could probably look back on the last month or so and see other activities that have helped me reinvigorate my passion. I beta read for two authors. I sat down with Kaaren and talked about her story. We brainstormed ideas for the plot. I said to her… Gee I feel like I’m a writer. I also beta read another story and it somehow turned me back onto excitement of creating stories. These small things were stoking the flames I think. I did not think I’d feel this enthusiasm again. I kept wondering what I was going to do with myself if I didn’t write. My future seemed bleak. Now it doesn’t anymore.

I had to share this with you all. I have my passion back. I want to weep with the joy of it. I hope it doesn’t go away again.

Here are the covers that I have had for years. I hope to get these books out this year.

Shame on me!

It’s been a year since my last post. That’s totally unforgivable, even in these trying times. A lot has happened. None of it writing fiction. I hang my head. However, I am writing again or trying to. Perhaps I’m just too precious but I am affected emotionally and mentally by world events. Like a number of author friends I’m finding it hard to be creative.

A short recap of the last year. My partner lost his job in April (made redundant) but it’s not as bad as it sounds. He inherited a farm and if we could sell that between his superannuation pension and the sale of the farm he could be a full time writer (Me Too!). This meant cleaning out the farm, doing some renovations to make it habitable and selling it. Of course, pandemics don’t help much there and we were locked down for nearly three months when we could have been selling. As well as painting, flooring etc, I started a job to keep us ticking over. I’m still working but now I’m only three days a week and that’s pretty good so far. Working and renovations did take it out of me and I had to put aside the sourdough baking.

We also took a couple of trips to NZ on family business mid year. (when the country was open and just made it back before the borders slammed shut). That did not turn out how we thought it would. Counseling and recovery later, we are getting there. Without going into too much detail, this really changed everything, our house, what we thought our lives would be and we were left going on okay but slightly damaged. Sorry I can’t be more explicit.

Locked down with my daughter and granddaughter in August/September and into October. That was so hard. Both my daughter and I working from home. Child care of a two year old. My partner was amazing. My younger son was here too. Lockdown was damn hard. The news is damn hard. I agree with mask mandates, lockdowns and staying safe and even then I found it very, very hard. I had to have more counseling to cope with it, particularly after lockdown when Omicron started spreading. I was beginning to doubt we would have Christmas. Then, dealing with ‘living with COVID’ was also another change. I felt as if we had been tossed to the wind to fend for ourselves.

It isn’t all bad you know. I managed somehow to submit my PhD thesis in December. Although it didn’t go out to markers until March, due to COVID, missing forms and I don’t know what else. I believe this is something to be happy about but emotionally I’m just drained. We had a great Christmas. We survived lock down and we are all still speaking to each other.

We sold the farm and are just waiting on settlement.

One of my daughters was able to move into a brand new townhouse which was delayed. She loves it. And it’s not too far away.

We bough an electric car (KONA EV) and we love it. At first we couldn’t go anywhere much but we are doing a little bit now.

Meet Ruby Red

My partner had two books come out in hardback and audible. We think the paperbacks will be out soon. He’s starting to get his writing mojo happening again. Those two books took him about five years while looking after two elderly parents, then losing them a year apart. Then you know, smoke, hail, fire, pandemic and things really haven’t let up.

Here they are. The paperback of The Serpent and the Saint comes out April 12.

Link to Amazon (for Kindle version or preorder paperback)https://www.amazon.com/Urdesh-Serpent-Saint-Warhammer-000-ebook/dp/B096BFVK6X/ref=donna00-20
Link to Amazon (for kindle version or preorder paperback) https://www.amazon.com/Urdesh-Magister-Martyr-Warhammer-000-ebook/dp/B09KVF2PLJ/ref=donna00-20

I’ve been quilting. Two examples below.

Crafting has been a godsend. I just totally lose myself. I’m still learning. I haven’t been weaving because we moved my floor loom into the garage as part of the house changes mid year and we haven’t sorted that out yet. My craftroom is being used as a bedroom. I was doing a lot of crochet and other craft until I gave myself RSI. It’s better now but I’m limiting myself to a row of Matthew’s blanket a night.

Front side of French Braid pattern.
Reverse side has a Maori inspired design

The pink quilt was for my sister. Both quilts used Jelly Rolls by Moda. The pink one had to be completely unpicked and re-sewn. It is an easy quilt in theory but YouTube tutorials don’t always give you all the technique

In progress shot

Also, while we didn’t garden this year due to renovation on the farm, I did manage to buy in tomatoes to make passata earlier in the month. A year’s supply and tomato ketchup too.

The results and the mess

There is more obviously to be grateful for. My grandkids and kids are safe. So are my family and friends as far as I know.

What’s changed though for me is my attitude to socialising. I also wonder will we ever be the same again. We went out for my son’s birthday to a restaurant, inside, with other people. First time in a long time and it felt transgressive. We had been socialising two on two on our deck or in cafe’s without outdoor seating until then. There is still so much COVID around. Then again, I’ve been at the pool recently and that’s just asking for it I suppose. However, I have prepaid and the pool have been very good all year stretching my visits out but once the government opens things up, the clock starts ticking again. I have such big lock down belly. I swear we drank two gins and ate three bags of chips a night in lock down. We also ate a lot of takeaways and chocolate. All my hard work in losing kilos. I got down to 65 kilos in July and I’ve put 10 back on. That’s not good for my health or knees. We are trying to get some kind of routine going, walking in the evenings, the pool and eating healthily. (I just ate dahl and a pork bun not sure how good that is).

Writing encompasses a number of tasks and projects and plans. As I manage my own ebooks on market places and do my own marketing, that’s all slid in a heap. Books are still selling here and there but I’ve not done anything much at all to help things along. The only thing I’ve managed is to do my BAS and my taxes. So when I start to think about writing, it’s not just the writing part, it’s the whole, newsletter and promotions as well. I’m totally out of the game and things change in one year…I wasn’t doing much before then either. Two years is a better estimate.

To get books published, I have to write them, revise them, get them edited etc. I have a couple that are getting close. To be honest they have been close for two years. One is a Dani Kristoff title, called The Changeling Curse, an ex rated paranormal fantasy. I received two beta reader comments on this and one lot of comments requires me to think. So that’s in the too hard basket. I have an editor lined up. Have had for a year. Next cab waiting is Awakenings which is a SF kind of romance. It was very much a romance but my beta reader (thanks Nicole) convinced me to ditch the sex scenes and concentrate on the SF side of things. That’s getting close to being sent out again to beta readers.

I started a kids book for NaNoWriMo in 2020. (I don’t think NaNoWriMo registered in 2021 with work and pandemic). I’ve been tinkering with that so I can finish the draft and send it out to beta readers.

These are only a fraction of what I have in the way of projects in progress or on the to be written list. But if I did happen to knuckle down I could achieve quite a bit. Having a backlog makes concentrating hard because you know…choice!

I hope I’m over this slump. I will try to blog again to update on my progress. I can’t say I’ll be the same as before because I don’t think I am or will be. Cheers from me and Matthew from our High Tea at the Hyatt last Monday. (Don’t know why he’s focussing on the glass!)

I keep thinking that I’ve been doing this PHD for years and I haven’t written anything creative in ages. That’s a big fat lie!

In the early years of my PhD I put out a lot of books. I also republished books that I had received the rights back from publishers. I call bull on my thinking there.

Then, you know this is a creative writing PhD that I’m doing and I have written a novel. Isn’t a novel a creative piece of work? Well, yes, I say, it is. It may not be published yet but that does not mean it doesn’t exist.

That doesn’t count, part of my brain says…but what about that short story you wrote last year and that was published in late December? Mmmm???

I wrote a short story! I was productive! Evidence.

Okay I’m not productive all the time….right…and maybe I have high expectations…maybe I look on jealously as friends launch books and post about word counts…

I am too hard on myself. I often thing my kids are harsh critics of me, but I think I err. I am my harshest critic!

I do have manuscripts that are sitting there waiting for the final run through…They stick like a knife between my shoulder blades, sending their angry, neglected thoughts into my skin. I will get to them.

Anyway….about that short story. Crash Baby appears in Unnatural Order, an anthology published by CSFG publishing and edited by Alis Franklin and Lyss Wickramasinghe. The premise of the anthology was to write in a non-human voice or from a non-human perspective. Crash Baby is written from the perspective of a maintenance robot. The story was inspired by my new baby granddaughter and the long hours where I helped care for her in her first year. I also have lots of robot story ideas….I feel a collection coming on one day.

A first for me is that I share the Table of Contents with my partner Matthew Farrer who wrote about monster love. Here is the blurb!

Is an unlikely friendship enough to save a human and a voidbeast?
Can a robot’s heart be broken?
What happens to the demons when all the humans are gone?
Can dishonest hearts find peace?

By all accounts a very good line up so go check it out.

It is not possible to fight change. you have to roll with the punches. One minute you think you are heading this way and the next something alters, a new path arises and whammo, your future looks different.

I can’t really talk specifically about this change because while it affects me it’s not my news. We were going to refiniance and borrow heaps of $$$$ to renovate our house. We were almost there to signing when something changed and now we aren’t going through with it. I’m not upset or annoyed. We will be fine, but it does mean some short term stress to effect a positive change in our lives.

My partner is a writer. He gets paid and he has been writing while I’ve been slacking off doing this Phd gig. Although the Phd thing is getting closer, and closer to completion soon I’ll be wondering what I’m going to do with myself. Anyway, I think by the end of the year there will be lots more writing going on from both of us. That’s all the hint you are going to get. No I have not sold a novel…but I might finish one or two or maybe three.

I did something weird and extraordinary last night though. Instead of vegging in front of Netflix, I came upstairs and started revising a novel I last looked at in November 2019. I am 31 pages in. Yay me. I thought it might shock Matthew to know that while he was in his office diligently working on his revisions, I was in mine next door. It was thrilling and exciting. This is a paranormal romance I’m working on for my Dani Kristoff name and is the sequel to The Sorcerer’s Spell, featuring werewolves and sorcerers set in Canberra (mostly).Anyway, I was excited because I deleted words, trimmed and crafted sentences and otherwise behaved in a writierly fashion. Sigh.

It felt so good.

In other news, we had a craftanoon here on Sunday and I got out the tiered platter for some high tea shenanigans. Yes, there were scones, jam and cream. I finished my first ever embroidery kit after maybe seven years…cough. We had loads of fun. It is the second one I have hosted and it was relaxed and lovely. I have had to slow down on the crochet due to elbow issues. Today though I felt the call of the garden and attacked the forest that is the yard with the weed trimmer and now I’ve crawled up here to my office to do some real work. Cough.

We don’t have rampant covid here so we can almost lead a normal life and do things like socialise carefully. I am very grateful for that. I probably won’t get vaccinated until later in the year when it’s my turn. Australia is only now rolling out the vaccines. I’m so pleased that people I care about in the UK and the USA are getting vaccinated.

I keep thinking I will commit to blogging and then I don’t blog. I have ideas and then poof my mojo goes out the window. All the things I’ve neglected have piled up so that tackling them seems way harder than it actually is. I haven’t sent a newsletter. I haven’t updated my book links. I haven’t written or published anything in ages. I feel like a proverbial slacker. And what is worse that I feel like if I just pretend then no one will notice and I’ll stop feeling guilty. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

I have to turn my mind to the positives though. I have been working on the Phd. I have been doing craft and baking bread and existing in the world. I’ve been exercising and losing weight. The garden was looking good but the weeds are coming back with a vengeance. Sadly. I’ve also tried looking for a job. Why? you ask. Renovations! Yes, we want to make this place pretty. I just want a new kitchen but that entails new floors. But that saga will continue throughout this year.

I lost a writer friend to melanoma in January and that hurt. She was younger than me and so talented and lovely. I was amazed how she could reach out to me and offer support when my dad died, when she was facing horrible uncertainty. We even tried to meet up and have a hug when I was transiting through Brisbane but with her treatment and my flight and logistics we couldn’t do it. Now Aiki Flinthart is gone. But her work will live on. Huge condolences to her family. Buy her books!

My fascination for doomscrolling has been curtailed by some kind of normalcy in the chaos. Pandemic looms large. Vaccines are being rolled out. We won’t get them here in Canberra until later in the year I think. Then we have to see how long the protection from the shots last for. I feel I am less fearful than I was and that’s probably due to Australia’s stance on keeping the country locked down and its citizens safe. I cannot imagine what it is like in the UK or the USA with the disease rampant.

In lieu of hours on social media, reading the latest bad news, I have discovered Duolingo and even signed up for the paid version when they had a special around Christmas. I doubt I’ll get to speak these languages fluently but learning and revising keeps the brain functioning and creates new pathways I think. I have studied Japanese and Spanish at university but alas never spoke it and lost my skills. Now with Duolingo I can practice and revive them. I have also dabbled in Italian and so I’m doing that as well. French is something I’ve wanted to learn but never got far at all so I’m doing that too. Irish because why not. Although the Irish language is hard, I figure with my mostly Irish heritage my ancestors probably spoke it. It is a way to discover my roots. I am trying Chinese and that’s the hardest. There is no slow button! Anyway, I’m finding it hard to keep them all going. I was trying Maori but that’s getting hard with apps either too advanced or stopping too soon.

I mentioned that I have been working on the Phd and my supervisor and I hope I will submit around July. I have some feedback to get before then and address. I have a presentation at the end of the month and then one in May (pre-submission). Then I won’t know what to do with myself. Hopefully once the mental load lessens I will feel more creative on the writing front. I hope the Phd has not driven the creativity from me fully.

Anyway, I must get to those book links so I can send the newsletter and they don’t do themselves.

Here are some pics of my craft projects over the last few months. Note I did not make the animals on the cake!

And then there is

Mid Pandemic Musing

You can read too much news. I confess I’m a news addict but I don’t watch it on the square screen thank god. If you have a progressive outlook on the world and what we can become as humans then the world right now is depressing, sometimes overwhelming. It seems there is a fight over ideas, about what the basic rights of humans are and you get the picture. Throw Covid 19 in and that’s some foul smelling liquid right there.

We lost Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week and as happens when someone famous dies and you get to read a bit about their life. RBG’s life was amazing. There was someone who had the brains, the will and seized every opportunity. I am awed at what she achieved, starting out in a male dominated world.

Along a similar theme, I’m ready The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal and I’m being blown away by how many contemporary notes it is hitting. It reminds me of Hidden Figures a lot, except Hidden Figures was set in the real world. The Calculating Stars is an alternate past in the same era. It picks up a lot of the themes from Hidden Figures, although the protagonist is white Jewish but she mingles in the world of black America in the rocket flying world and women ‘computers’. It goes deep into the established misogyny of the period, as well as the tech, the social mores and fashion and also discusses anxiety and how it is viewed by others. It also discusses climate on this planet. I haven’t finished it yet. I’m listening to it on Audible and the author reads the story herself and I find it enchanting. No wonder it won awards!

Both of these…the passing of RBG and The Calculating Stars remind me of the remaining misogyny alive today and the fight for women to be considered human, to be equal to have a say about our bodies and our reproductive rights is still ongoing. We can’t be complacent and let laws change and go back to the way they were.

There are positives arising from being socially isolated. Not many I agree, but one that gave me pause was the stop with the travel, the spending, the doing. I don’t have a high income but all of a sudden I had some money. First I spent it to help keep companies going. Books, toys etc. But it also made me realise how focused on consuming we are. That’s the basis of our economy. Spend, spend, buy, buy, produce, produce. The pandemic gave that a big shock. I knew this before, of course, but I couldn’t think of an alternative way as it seemed to me that we were so caught up in this capitalist/consumerist merry go around that we couldn’t get off. And now we were shoved off. I think we should hesitate before getting back on. In some ways we won’t have a choice. If like me you travel overseas on discounted fares…well I’m not sure there will be cheap trips for many years. I even wonder if I’ll be able to travel again. My son is flying out with his daughter back to overseas employment. His flights were $5000 each for economy seats. That’s a flight that might have been say $1200 return previously. I’ll try to be optimistic but I’m also being a realist.

Another aspect of being forced to stay home was the focus on the home and on family. Not only was there iso baking but iso gardening. But beware of watching too many Do It Yourself Videos. To some extent a focus on what was important. In Canberra, and in this house, we had a death, a passing of a loved one, bushfire smoke that made me think the apocalypse was here and we were forced to stay inside, then a ravaging hailstorm that wreaked havoc, actual fire threat and then Covid-19. This has happened elsewhere too. Parts of the USA are experiencing the fires, on top of the Covid-19. It is a trial.

It is hard to focus on the future, on dreams. For me though I’m focussing as much as I can on things I can control. My weight, my health, my family and so on. I had a bit of glitch last week as my GP didn’t want to refer me to the specialist about my knees but she did refer me for an xray. Today she referred me to the specialist as my xray showed issues that weren’t there before. I am happy with that but for a few days I thought she had taken control away from me and I reacted to that. I pay for private health cover these days so I have control over when things happen. So I’ll move forward on that at my own pace.

Creative wise I’ve stalled (again). I’m reading and stuff but I was disrupted last week (mostly due to the knee issues) and I haven’t put my feet on the ground yet. I’ve been socialising too, almost to pre pandemic levels. It’s weird. I’m going to visit a friend this afternoon for a cuppa and then in the morning I have pool exercise with another friend. Next week I am visiting Bourke with my son and a couple of my grandkids before he leaves.

What a year it has been. Nearly the end of September. Wow.