It’s been a long time…
I have a bad case of 2020 fatigue – feeling like I’m in a thick fog.
I don’t know about you, but I just want this year to be over – and while there’s no magical switch, I do think that January 1 is going to feel like a fresh breeze is blowing from another direction. At least I hope so.

dreary misty morning

2020 has been a difficult year for so many

– unsettling for most. The last few months have been rough. When I last left you, I had just finished writing the first draft of my mystery novel. It’s been a l-o-n-g process of rewriting, revising, and editing – diligently turning my messy draft into something readable.

Autumn found my heart elsewhere, though, ending with the loss of my mom in late October. After several months of isolation due to COVID precautions, I am grateful my siblings and I were able to share time with her during her last several weeks. And while her death was not COVID related – man! – I feel as though this pandemic has robbed so many of so much in so many ways!
BUT – there’s light at the end of the tunnel, yes?

 Even 2020 had its bright spots

We welcomed two Olivers into our lives, this year.

baby Oliver

Our grandson, Oliver, was born in July. We are so lucky that our everyday lives allow all of us to quarantine, enabling the occasional get-together.

And – we “inherited” my mom’s sweet cat, also named Oliver. He and Chessie have been cautiously ignoring each other – I hope they might become friends someday. The jury is still out.

Oliver kitty

In 2020 my inner voice led me back to writing

I’ve attended virtual conferences, taken online writing courses, and met a supportive group of writers. After deciding I needed some time away from revising my first wip, I jumped into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November where I sent my beloved characters on a second mystery adventure. It was a frenzied month of scribbling 50,022 words, forming what I’m calling a “skeleton” draft. It was a decidedly weird way to take a “break” but I’m happy I did it. I feel ready, again, to refocus my energies on mystery #1.

Happiness is a big ole pile of books

My to-be-read list continues to grow faster than I can read – but hey, my growing pile(s) makes me smile.
Just read – and currently reading:

reading

Mexican Gothic – well written, suspenseful, and creepy – but it crossed a razor thin line for me – the line between ghost story and fantasy. I’m just not into fantasy. But don’t let that stop you from reading it – it’s gotten great reviews.
Eleanor Oliphant – Loved it! – Such a strong voice, like slipping into the protagonist’s head (not that you’d really want to be there).
The Sun Down Motel – current read, and so far it is deliciously creepy!

Next up – I’m going to lighten the mood with a rom-com or two (or three). Not my usual type of read but I intend to be smiling (maybe even laughing) as I bid adieu to 2020!

decorating the Christmas tree

I hope you are all doing well – I’d love to hear about the good, bad or ugly of your 2020! Is there anything special you’re looking forward to in 2021?
Be well!

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Sarah

    So sorry about the loss of your mom. I wondered about that since you were quiet for a while, and you suddenly had a cat. Glad you were able to spend some time with her before her passing.

    Overall, 2020 hasn’t been a bad year for me, at least from a personal growth aspect. But I am ready for it to be done. Weariness is a good word for it. Not being able to gather for Thanksgiving was hard, holding out hope for Christmas.

    1. Karen

      Thanks, Sarah.
      I agree about the personal growth aspect. It’s kind of ironic that 2020 has been much like a year of vision and clarity for me, but I feel as though I’m headed in the right direction – and I’ve learned so much!

  2. Barb

    I was so sorry to read of your mother’s death, Karen. It was a gift to you and a blessing to her that she could spend time with family in her last weeks. Even those of us who remain well are missing so much in terms of companionship and special times with family and friends. I can’t believe you wrote another novel! I was so glad to finish my first Nanorimo that I can’t imagine doing it again. Good for you! Have you read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion? It’s a winner. Your two Olivers both have beautiful eyes. I’m glad you can still visit with your Grands. I see from your first photo that there isn’t much snow on the ground in VT, though I did hear New England got some rain/snow recently. Our ski areas are open though Bob and I haven’t tried to downhill yet. We’ve taken the touring skis out into the forest a few times. This week temps are rising into the 40’s, and we’re hoping the snow doesn’t all melt. We continue to isolate, even from family, because the positive numbers in our county keep rising. Stay well, Karen – Happy holidays.

    1. Karen

      Thank you Barb. Those last weeks were like a gift considering the times. I’m trying to get past feeling as though the pandemic and people’s careless actions robbed me of precious time. So many have had it worse, though.

      I understand your desire to keep isolated – especially with numbers going the way they are. We’ve been lucky in Vermont (up until now) to keep our case numbers low. Holidays this year will certainly be different.

      I think I read the Rosie Project a few years ago – and really liked it. I think there are a couple sequels which I have not yet read. Thanks for reminding me of this book – I’ll add the next one to my tbr list!

      Happy Holidays!

  3. Helen

    Hugs to you and hoping 2021 will be a little brighter for all of us. I am very sorry for the loss of your mom, especially during an already difficult time. Congrats on the arrival of Oliver! What an adorable photo.
    DO you already have your romcom picked out? If not I liked The Marriage Game- but it will make you want Indian take out for dinner :). Really yummy food descriptions. I also just read The Secret, Book and Scone society by Ellery Adams. Not even sure how it landed in Libby but for this time of year when it is hard to focus it was a light, fast read. Not so much a romcom more of friendships.

    1. Karen

      Thanks Helen – I have a lot of hope for 2021!

      I haven’t read the Marriage Game – need to look it up. It will be tough wanting Indian take out, though, because I can’t think of any within an hour’s drive!! (I may need to look it up – you just reminded me how much I miss it)

      I’m somewhat familiar with Ellery Adams – I think her books are classified as cozy mysteries. Pretty sure the one you read is part of a series!

  4. Beatrice P. Boyd

    It was a very pleasant surprise to check online and find this update, Karen. Thank you for sharing the ups and downs of what has been going on with you and your family. First, my condolences on your mom’s passing, which thankfully was not covid-related, and nice that you and your family were able to spend time with her, so important these days especially. Congratulations on the “new” family members, interesting that they are both named Oliver (a highly underrated name and a good one). All is well here in NH and finally we have a nice snow fall today which is still coming down as I post this comment. We plan to get out for a walk tomorrow, maybe even some snow shoeing in the nearby park. Our lives have been very quiet with no “in person” family contact since last December, which has been hard as the grandkids are growing up quickly (of course we remain the same age). I’ve been reading a lot of e-books and started listening to audiobooks since the local library has been closed, reopened briefly, then closed to users once again. However, books can be reserved and picked up curbside, which is nice. I just picked up The Thursday Murder Club as my next read. I read Eleanor Oliphant . . . and wasn’t a fan, but some favorites included: The Sherlockian, Conviction, Dear Mrs Bird, The Holdout, All the Beautiful Lies, and Eight Perfect Murders. Glad to hear you are still working on your book, even if it has been a tough go at times. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season, Dorothy & Patrick (Beatrice & Grenville @ The Frog and Penguinn blog)

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