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  • Writer's pictureTonja

Let's Just Pretend 2020 Never Happened

My last (and also my first blog post on this site) was more than a year ago. Just before the start of 2020. The year that shall not be discussed. But let's talk about it now and get it done - only about the writing, though. No point talking about the covid and the political issues and all of that. I would like to say it is behind us, but it isn't.

At the end of 2019, I edited an issue of The Hong Kong Review. A lovely journal. It was printed and ready to be shipped as Hong Kong was going into lock down in January 2020. Timing is everything. The issues were locked down waiting to be mailed for months.

The rest of the year, I queried my novel. A literary novel, grounded in history, about the disasters of good intentions. It's "The Yellow Wallpaper" in a 1930s Appalachian coal town. I imagine this girl's expression on my main character's face. Poor baby. She is definitely having a bad day.

With a remote-learning child at home for all of 2020 (and still now in 2021), I revised short stories and wrote quite a lot of new ones and began working on a new novel. I also completed a major revision of that first novel, a word-cutting adventure (more on that another day).

It feels like I was stagnant for a year and just sat here waiting it out, but I developed a strategy of focusing on the one thing in front of my face. One checkbox a day. One small thing accomplished.

My plan for the remainder of 2021 is to write one post here a month. Maybe two. I plan to share some of the research I'm doing for the new novel, a perhaps darker one set in the 1890s in a boardinghouse on the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

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