Monday, October 12, 2020

Year End Q & A

How do you feel about 2020?

Without a doubt, this year will go down in history as one we never want to revisit. Certainly, we've read (and lived through) challenges we never imagined we'd endure. News folks, other commentators, and journalists have beaten us nearly to death with negativity from virtually all fronts—and understandably so. 

We are writers of fiction and nonfiction. We are editors, journalists, and so on. Among our talents is the ability to look at any given situation from a variety of perspectives. Let's put the kaleidoscope of 2020 up to our eye and turn the image wheel slowly. 

Bright colors of rebirth we expected in the spring lost their brilliance, their beauty, their appeal. Instead, we faced a pandemic, something most of us have never experienced. Schools closed. Restaurants and a host of other businesses shut their doors. Store shelves emptied faster than they could be restocked, and many necessities could not be found because warehouses ran out of supplies. Friends, neighbors, relatives, loved ones, and strangers got sick. We lost some of them—too many of them. We saw the best of people and the worst of people. It was and still is a frightening and unstable time. 

What else did we lose? Freedom to travel. Family get-togethers. Safe work environments. Visiting friends and relatives. Eating out. Quality time with adult children and grandchildren. Hugs. And much, much more. 

As though this were not enough, we rolled through the punches of a troubled summer into hurricane season. Families and towns impacted by the virus now face destruction at the hands of an angry Mother Nature. Wildfires continue to rage through the western United States, destroying millions of acres, numerous homes, and taking a toll in human and animal lives. Loss of income meant loss of homes to too many families. Some elected leaders around the world minimized the problem or chose to battle each other rather than battle the virus, fires, and other issues that led to these catastrophes. Sadly, the end to all this distress and much more does not appear to be in sight.

Bleak as all this is, has there been a bright side? True, it's a challenge to find anything good in this most forgettable year in modern times. Any stretch of the imagination about a bright side comes with a significant amount of tarnish. Still . . . 

We've had time to reflect on what's truly valuable to us. Hectic lifestyles often keep reflections at bay. Those lifestyles fell by the wayside as businesses closed and social distancing significantly diminished face-to-face meetings of any sort.

Many of us learned how to use Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, and other apps to keep in touch, often with people we've lost contact with over the busy years. Religious institutions resumed services through Zoom to reach homebound parishioners. Cuddles with grandchildren gave way to virtual hugs and conversations over digital communication devices. However, those who didn't have either the devices or the know-how to use the ones they possessed were shut out of this vital stay-in-touch method.

Many more examples could be cited, but the ones above make the point. The silver lining on the black cloud is so thin it can barely be seen. The tarnish on the bright side still resists efforts to remove it. 

As we enter the final quarter of this year, how are you coping?

Are you able to transfer our present reality into grist for your writing mill?

Have you renewed old friendships and drawn closer to family via Zoom, etc.?

What has helped you get through the past dark months?

Do people in your area comply with safety precautions to protect others?

How have people's attitudes affected you?

What has made it most difficult to adjust to our current situations?

Please share your feelings with our BRP community. Sharing unites us. It lends us support. It can change casual acquaintanceship into lasting friendship. Perhaps we can help one another travel this rocky, uninvited path to a better time. 

What do you think?

Editor Linda Lane has returned to her first love—writing—while maintaining her editing work. Her novels fall into the literary category because they are character driven rather than plot driven, but their quick pace reminds the reader of genre fiction. You can contact her through her websites: and


  1. So, how am I doing?

    Well, I've come to realize I must be somewhat antisocial. the world shut down and it really didn't bother me. I just kept plugging along.

    As far as present reality, I've noticed the stuff in the press and and on socal media creeping in. Frankly my characters are asking the same question that Pontius Pilate asked, "What is Truth." Conclusion, if it's in the news or on the internet, it's 99.9% bull cookies.

    People seem to be doing the mask OK, though I hear a lot of grumbling about it. I'm used to it.

    If anything, this has helped me to be more creative.

    1. Thank you for sharing, William R. Ablan. Particularly interesting is your comment that today's reality has enhanced your creativity. Obviously, you're rolling with the punches. Adaptability is a gift -- or a hard-learned lesson. In either case, it's essential if we are to exit this trying time with a strong hope for a better future. I visited your website. Intriguing, informative, nice. I will be revisiting it because I am interested in reading your books.

  2. I find comfort in books. Stories teach us that people can not only survive but thrive in the worst of circumstances. That even though there are villains, there are also heroes waiting in the wings who may not yet know they are heroes.

    1. I, too, like books, especially ones from another era when things get tough on the home front. Being reminded that the human spirit is (or at least can be) indomitable and there exist heroes among us helps a lot during the down days. Thank you for sharing, Diana. :-)

  3. I'm like William, not too bothered by the need to stay home more and wear the mask when I do go out. Avoiding the crazies on the news and on social media helps a lot, as does having lots of books to read and enough supplies to bake something once in a while and make the house smell good. This morning it was banana bread with blueberries and pineapple bread pudding. That lifts the spirits big time. :D

  4. I'm a huge fan of bread pudding. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

    Whenever we sold houses, we baked something wonderful (think chocolate chip cookies or a fragrant apple crisp) that turned the house into a warm and welcoming home. It always had a positive effect on those who came to see it, whether they bought it or not.

  5. While I did manage to finally complete and publish a book I'd been working on for the past five years, 2020 has truly been a devastating year for us. We lost a very dear friend to suicide thanks to this situation - someone we'd known for over 20 years and who was Best Man at our wedding.

    I started the year with plans to become more engaged with people In Real Life instead of virtually - I organised cafe and restaurant catch-ups in December and January; I'd started planning for selling my print books in person at a market stall; I attended three business networking events for women/mothers in business, up until March, and came away with a great idea for a new business venture to supplement my income... again, it hinged on face-to-face engagement. I've spent most of this year trying to make it a virtual "thing" but I've been up against a very necessarily loud-voiced husband working from home and two very considerate but only slightly less rowdy kids whom I've had to coach through remote learning (in two different grade levels) for about five of the past seven months. I need to be able to make videos for my business but it seems totally out of reach right now.

    And, I know it's considered necessary, but every time I glance out my window at people walking their dogs I'm utterly caught off guard (to the point of panic attacks) by the hannibal lector muzzles now worn by people instead of their animals. Sure, if you're within spitting distance of someone it's probably worth wearing a mask - but outside, alone, hundreds of metres from the nearest person...? So I don't leave the house unless it's for a really urgent reason. I don't look at people anymore, just at their dogs. My little corner of the world has shrunk. I'm still doing the same circuits of the same yellow room I thought I was going to be able to escape this year. But I know there are other people far worse off than I am, so I'm lucky I can just sit tight and wait it out.

    1. To simply say COVID-19 has turned lives upside down is a massive understatement. Lives have been destroyed, even ended as its tentacles penetrated nearly every aspect of daily activities. I'm so sorry about the dear friend you lost and your business plans that could not be implemented. Yet, you still completed and published a book during all the upheaval. That is no small accomplishment, Elle. My heart goes out to you.

  6. Adapting is always a better choice that railing against something we have no control over. I've learned to us Zoom for staying in contact with family, as well as for some business matters. I attended one virtual mystery conference a couple of months ago, and will be on a panel for the upcoming Bouchercon 2020 con.

    1. Adaptation is definitely better. Zoom has been a challenge, but I'm improving in my use of it. Attending a virtual mystery conference and being part of a Bouchercon 2020 panel are not small feats, particularly in today's world. Kudos, Maryann. Thank you for sharing. :-)

  7. 2020 will go down as a year everyone will remember, for many reasons. Not only did we wear masks, some masks were ripped off the deepest and truest feelings of many people who had hidden those feelings for possibly their whole lives, and it revealed ugliness we could only have imagined. For me, nothing much changed. I have a small family, and we saw each other as often as before. I spent a lot more on food, did more cooking than usual, but there really wasn't anything I didn't do that I wanted to, other than lunch with friends. I can't wait for the year to be over and hope 2021 brings healing.

    1. A year everyone will remember, yes, and a year the vast majority of us would like to forget. Like you, my lifestyle didn't change much, but I do miss going out now and then. Food prep has risen several notches on my daily-do list, possibly because I like to cook. It would be wonderful if 2021 ushered in positive changes; much as I'd love to see the the tentacles of ugliness that have reached into so many elements of society, I'm a teeny bit skeptical about their going away any time soon.


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