This post could have been titled “Looking Ahead,” as that’s what I’m doing now. But looking forward captures that plus my anticipation of coming days with fewer restrictions and upcoming gatherings. Family, friends, colleagues, and others have been virtual relationships for the past year for most of us.
Hunkered in with relatively few others in our sphere of physical space has negatively affected many. I’m one of the lucky ones for whom this has not been a major issue, although I admit that not living alone–as I’d suspected I might be after Pat died–has very likely lessened the impact of COVID restrictions. I’ve had another person to talk to, face-to-face, throughout it all. My sister Kathleen and I are used to working on our own, though, so we each have our separate space to work, think, and recreate. Yet we also do things together, and that maintains the lifeline of human bonding.
So what am I looking forward to in the sphere of face-to-face encounters?
First, there’s the new friends I’ve made since arriving in Phoenix almost a year ago. Most are from the Sisters in Crime (SinC) Desert Sleuths Chapter, and one of my short stories will appear in their next anthology (“The Backpack,” coming 9/10/21 in SoWest: Love Kills). A few are from a course I took through the Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University; six of us have remained together post-course and meet twice monthly on Zoom to critique each other’s work and discuss/learn more about our craft. And maybe I’ll get to meet my Texas critique partner; that match was made through the SinC Guppy Chapter, from which I’ve gained an incredible amount of training and information over the past 7 years or so.
Then there are the conferences. I am going to New Orleans in late August for Bouchercon–the largest of the US mystery writers conferences. First time in NOLA for me, so there’s lots to plan for. How much can I fit in and still gain from the conference? I hope to come home tired from finding out just how late I can stay out.
November brings New England Crime Bake, a joint conference from the New England chapters of Sisters in Crime and the Mystery Writers of America (MWA). I’ve been to the last 6, or maybe it’s 7, and am eager to reconnect with my chapter buddies there. They helped start my author journey and are dear to my heart.
While I’m in New England, I expect to visit family and friends. How long I’ll stay depends on several as-yet unknowns. Lots of planning ahead!
What are you looking forward to as we emerge from this cocoon of isolation? Share in the comments section.