Friday 11 December 2020

2020 Review

Well, this year didn't turn out quite as expected.  It began with a little-known virus which spread rapidly across the world, causing huge disruptions to all our lives. I have already written blogs earlier this year about some of the positive changes that occurred for me.

Zoom has opened up opportunities for those of us who live largely indoors - it's been fantastic to be able to sing again.  Having not been able to go to real life sessions for a few years, I've gone from no singing to lots of singing.  I've learned some wonderful new songs, connected with some fantastic singers and songwriters and a warm-hearted online singing community.  Even when we return to the 'new normal' I hope some online singing opportunities continue, otherwise I shall feel bereft!

Early in the year, I also discovered some devastating information about third and fourth cousins of ours, hundreds of whom were killed in the Holocaust. So, since the spring, another family member and I have spent a lot of time finding about these relatives and their lives, to honour them.  We've still got a lot more to do.  But on the plus side we've connected with new cousins across the world - relatives whose great grandfathers decided to move away from Amsterdam as ours did. I may write future blogs on some of those people I'd like to honour, a lot of the information is in the public domain courtesy of Joods Monument.

Now for the review of the writing goals I set myself at the beginning of this year - seems a lifetime ago now!

   Goal 1:  I really hope to finish the follow up to Down The Tubes this year.

Update: it's almost finished! It's just been out with my beta readers and should be ready for release in the new year. 

Goal 2:  It would be nice to get on with another Little Guide seeing as it's nearly a decade since I had Little Guide To Unhip published. I have been doing another one but maybe will do them as a blog for now. And talking of blogs, I do hope to do more blog posts than last year!

Update: I'm going to do these as a series of blogs, I decided. The first one may even be out very soon!

 Goal 3: I also think it would be great to bring out a collection of poems from Don’t Go Breaking Our Arts, our creative group for people with disabilities. I have thought this for years but I'm not very organised and so would to collaborate with other members and and also decide where to send any royalties - I wouldn’t expect many as these are soon offset by promotion costs etc

Update: This is also happening!  We have been archiving some of the poems from Facebook throughout the year, collecting them into a Word document  Then I pitched to Disability Arts Online I'm so grateful for the help of Colin Hambrook for enabling this and putting me in touch with a writer with a wealth of experience who was - coincidentally - planning another publication along the lines of what our group was planning.  Watch this space.

 Goal 4: I hope to get another book out in paperback - this would be one of the older ones now that have gone out of print, since all the ones previously unpublished are in paperback now.

Update:  I have another book out in paperback!

Goal 5:  Begin the autobiography that's been brewing for a few years now and also to crack on with some more short stories/do something with my poems

Update: Apart from organising a few notes, not much progress here alas, except for the poems

And other goals...

Health goals: I wanted to rule out autoimmune illnesses like Sjrogrens Syndrome and Lupus. I 'd had a positive result for ANA antibodies which can be a sign of an autoimmune illness such as the above or rheumatoid arthritis. Because of Covid19, however, progress has been painfully slow. I did have telephone appointment with a dermatologist in the spring or summer. This was mainly about the hyperhidrosis which is one of my most debilitating symptoms.  There was nothing further to try on the medicine front which I've not tried already. 

More recently I had a video appointment with a rheumatologist who did ask a lot of questions and didn't think I had Lupus from what I told her. But she did suggest more blood tests in the new year (whenever I can have this done safely at the surgery!)

House goals: I wanted better seating in the sitting room, comfort becoming increasingly important the more I need to stay at home!  Plus more storage for bedroom eg better drawers.

We do have a new settee which was ordered in January and because it was bespoke wasn't due until April but then lockdown meant it doesn't come until May or June!  The same thing happened with blinds and shelving.

Still no further on the little pod or something for the garden. Other things became more pressing. 

  Family goals: I hoped to support family members as best I could, as some of their needs are great or greater than mine. I hope I succeeded.

I thought that the above - especially the writing goals - was all way too ambitious but I'm thrilled to have achieved many of the goals or am partly in the process of achieving them. I also mentioned that anything unachieved could be carried over to the next year!

I do hope you've managed to achieve what you wanted in 2020, in spite of Covid19 restrictions, or maybe because of them. Maybe you've been appreciating nature more, baking more bread or finally decorating the house. Maybe you've finally finished that book or even started writing or some other creative pursuit. Do tell!

In the meantime, happy festivities and here's wishing you all a happy and brighter 2021 😊