Last year I wrote a blog to end off a very difficult year. My father passed away in August and I left a good job to deal with it. It took me a long time to get back to a place where I felt happy and fulfilled, plus I had a new book coming out to look forward to. But as you know, 2020 happened and with it came an avalanche of disasters: a global pandemic, lockdown, cancelled book launches and tours, all culminating in the death of my mother, a year after my father.
It was a nightmare year. And yet somehow, I survived. You’re probably thinking that the year isn’t over yet, and it’s true that Cape Town is seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions. We’ve learned to live cautiously – avoiding crowded places, ordering in our groceries, wearing a mask when we do venture outside, and always, always washing our hands. And of course, staying home as much as possible.
I’m not going to lie, being home has helped me tremendously. Life doesn’t feel like it’s racing ahead at lightning speed. It’s quiet and peaceful, and long days in front of the computer are interspersed with comforting coffee breaks in the garden. I have more time to read and write, without compromising a second of my work day. And without the daily joyless commute, I can get enough sleep and think and reflect. And clean the house.
This bubble of solitude did come at a price. I couldn’t go out and market my new book as I normally would have, and almost all launches and festivals were cancelled out of safety. Yet despite this, there were some sales, which I’m very grateful for. I’m also grateful for the time to grieve for my mother, which like the dreaded second wave, hasn’t hit properly yet.
Some good things that happened this year:
- Sea Star Summer made the Exclusive Books Homebru list
- The Outcast Hours anthology was nominated for a World Fantasy Award
- I made some new friends on Instagram
- The Harley Quinn movie came out
- I saw the cover of a secret project I’m sworn not to talk about
- I have another book coming out next year and a few short stories for kids
- The old family cat Hannibal came to live with us
- We started growing our own food
- I learned how to bake bread! See below.
It seemed like only a few weeks ago that I was laying out my resolutions and hopes for the coming year. I think it’s better to not do that yet, and let whatever is meant to happen do it’s thing. As I said, the year isn’t over it.
The future may look a little foggy right now, but there are some rays of light visible. I’m writing again, and loving it. And the garden is looking beautiful. But most importantly, I’ve learned to find joy where I can, and enjoy the moment. Pretty much like Hannibal does.
What’s keeping the smile on your face in these uncertain times?