What a roller coaster ride this year has been (and continues to be!).
Even though I was landing in one of only five US airports still allowing international arrivals, life still felt more normal than not as I headed to New York in February for the SCBWI MidWinter Conference. I enjoyed a wonderful weekend of workshops focused on the craft and business of writing for young readers. Then I and another friend who was also in town for the conference stayed with our friend for a few more days. It turned into a mini writing retreat, with each of us finding time to be productive each day before we headed out to explore the city (and shop for yarn!).
But within weeks of my return home, the world was struggling to cope with the Corona Virus and its disruption of normal life. When you add to that the struggles for equality and social justice, and the economic repercussions of the ongoing pandemic, I would say life in 2020 has felt a lot like riding a roller coaster in the dark. You never know when the twists and turns and drops are coming, so you can't prepare yourself. In a word, unpredictable.
In the first part of the year I was able to work once again with the South Korean Publisher, Kyowon, this time writing scripts to adapt some classic fairy tales for video. I always enjoy writing for educational publishers. When I find a way to fulfill the educational criteria, while also creating an engaging and entertaining story, it always feels like I've solved a puzzle. It's work I'm proud of, and happy to have done. Yet there is a strange cognitive dissonance to celebrating success in a year which has held such incredible stress and conflict.
"May you live in interesting times."
More than once this year, this saying has crossed my mind. Like many, I had thought it entered common usage as a retelling of a curse, however the origins are actually more interesting than that.
According to Wikipedia:
"Research by philologist Garson O'Toole shows a probable origin in the mind of Austen Chamberlain's father Joseph Chamberlain [a British statesman] dating around the late-19th and early 20th centuries. Specifically, O'Toole cites the following statement Joseph made during a speech in 1898:
I think that you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times. (Hear, hear.) I never remember myself a time in which our history was so full, in which day by day brought us new objects of interest, and, let me say also, new objects for anxiety. (Hear, hear.)"
Hear, hear, indeed.