Only a couple weeks left in 2021 and I know in a lot of ways it feels like a full on repeat of 2020 with non-stop pandemic shenanigans. As for me, I had some highlights in 2021 including getting a story published – See “Rec and Dec” post that was a long time coming. Both in terms of my last short story publication in 2014 and the fact that this story was started in 2016 and submitted in March of 2020 to On Spec, but didn’t come out until this fall. Still hella proud of it and if that’s a testament to not giving up on a story, I am not sure what is.
On of my other writing highlights of 2021 was taking Terry Fallis‘ Humour Writing Course that was offered through University of Toronto’s continuing education program for Creative Writing. Normally, the course is only offered in person, but due to the pandemic they were doing a virtual course this past winter which opened it up to many like myself that wouldn’t have been able to attend. The content and the writing exercises were superb even if the platform and mechanism for delivery left something to be desired. As Terry pointed out he missed the opportunity to get people’s immediate reactions in class when talking about humour. The virtual learning platform the university was using wasn’t like Zoom and the instructor couldn’t see the whole class at once, only who ever was talking. It was frustrating. I also found it less than ideal for getting to know your classmates during the course. There were no forums or methods for people to exchange material. Despite all that I would sign up for the course again in a heartbeat.
I used the course to free-write a lot based on prompts and what not and got a couple of pieces out of it that I have worked on expanding since the course ended in March. Hopefully it will be less than 5 years before those stories see the light of day.
I didn’t attend as many online conventions this year as I did in 2020 and those that I did the novelty had sort of worn off. I felt less engaged and less social. I was even signed up for the Worldcon convention Discon III in Washington this past weekend , but attended zero of the panels and only tuned into watch the Hugo ceremony (which suffered a lot of technical issues). Not sure what 2022 will bring on the convention front. I was hoping like many of us were that with the roll out of the vaccine in North America that things might return to some semblance of normal (and they looked like they might briefly in July in August), but Omicron variant has really thrown all that into question. We’ll see what the next few weeks brings.
It’s been 4 years since I attended an in person convention and I really miss hanging with fellow writer friends and listening to people way smarter than me talk about stuff on panels. Some day. Some day. But for now, I’ll continue to work to keep my family and I safe and the words flowing.
Oh, and as for looking forward to 2022, I am still working on reviving my review site Andy’s Anachronisms for all things time travel, alternate history and parallel worlds. Hopefully relaunch it some time in the spring (assuming I can overcome the technical issues of migrating it). In the meantime I leave you with this bonkers trailer for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” featuring Michelle Yeoh across a multiverse that somehow involves googly eyes. Can’t wait to see this in March.