Deep breath. I am going to say something a little wild.
2020 was a year in which I felt my art was divinely supported by the universe.
This sounds impossible. 2020 was the year I lost all semblance of child care. My oldest child, now 7, started a mother’s day out program when he was 18 months old. Since then, I’ve had help with the care of one or both of my children in just about every form, from very part-time nanny to full-time preschool. It was both a necessity and a luxury, and in March, like so many other things, it was gone.
And yet, when I look back at the year as a whole, I see that while my children were with me all. the. time., the universe still gently nudged me along.
The right classes presented themselves at the right times. I was given scholarships (did I mention we paid three months of private preschool tuition while my child was with me 24/7?). I dreamt about an ice blue velvet couch. I (metaphorically) figured out what to do with the taxidermic cobra I found in a closet at my grandparents’ house when I was 7. I found time to write morning pages (sometimes). I pitched (and sold!) my first essay, which will be published soon.
I was encouraged. I felt, for the first time, that someone else could really see what I was trying to do. I remembered and forgot. I found community. I found the voice to tell my story, and wow, I love hanging out with that version of myself, even when she’s breaking my heart.
When I think of what I want in 2021, at least creatively, it’s more of this, pretty please.
This year has been so hard, for so many, and for so many different reasons. I hope, no matter what hand you’ve been dealt this year, that your creative spark is burning a little bit brighter than it was back in January.
And since it’s a time for gratitude and reflection, let me add how deeply grateful for YOU. Thank you for allowing me into the sacred space of your in-box, and for actually opening my newsletters and reading my words. I’ve had so many moments of true connection this year thanks to this newsletter and it is truly the reason I write.
Love and light,
What I Learned in 2020: Classes and Workshops
This year was ripe with learning and pushing past my comfort zone. I wholeheartedly recommend these instructors and their offerings:
You are a Poet: A Crash Course with Susan Niz (in person at Austin Bat Cave)
Researching for Long Narratives with Emma Copley Eisenberg (in person at Austin Bat Cave)
Ecstatic States: Sex, Death, and Memoir with Lidia Yuknavitch (online with Corporeal Writing)
Nail Your Memoir Structure by Thinking Like a Novelist with Allison K. Williams (online at Jane Friedman)
How to Write About Your Sex Life with Steph Auteri (online with Creative Nonfiction)
Best Books Read in 2020
Is it too early to start the Best Of lists? I hope not. The best books I read this year, in no particular order:
It was a weird year for reading for me and not much made the “best of” list. I spent March-June circling through my favorite romance novels as I attempted to self-soothe from the anxiety and uncertainty of Covid. I also started a lot of books this year that I ultimately didn’t finish, but will surely come back to. (I also, once again, did a terrible job of tracking my reading and couldn’t tell you how many books I read this year, or what their titles were. Something to strive for in 2021, I guess! Feel free to hit reply and let me know how you keep track.)
“I have to wrestle with it, refine it, bend it into shape. I can set goals, make timelines, but ultimately these edits will take as long as they’re going to take. All I can do is listen to the words.” Jami Attenberg’s thoughts on editing a memoir
Just for fun. (Does my husband read this?)
This tarot deck from Kittenchops (plus basically all of her stickers)
Needlepoint kits- hard to choose a fave but I love ‘reading in bed’ and ‘hen in the house’
What’s Coming Up in 2021
I plan to publish my visual memoir about postpartum anxiety in the first half of 2021.
Switching things up with this newsletter and telling deeper stories.
Continuing to plug away at my coming-of-age memoir.
Showing up more consistently on Instagram.
Again, THANK YOU. I wish I could buy all ya’ll an iced coffee. See you in 2021.
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