So what else have I done to fill the time, if not for this attempt at short stories? Well, for a large chunk of time after publishing god-touched back in May of 2021, I really didn't do much involving writing at all. No motivation, no desire (and trying to force something does not result in anything useful for me), no progress on the creative front. I didn't find myself bored, however. I couldn't tell you for the most part what took up my time and attention, but I managed to fill my days anyway.
We had our front garden redone by the wonderful Bonnie of Greenstone Landscape Solutions. Flagstone pathway and patio, raised bed with lovely mulch and the plants I had them save, new garden lining one side of the driveway instead of weeds. Quite a nice job that I don't seem to have any pictures of, as I enjoyed the space rather than recorded it.
We spent some time at the family cottage, usually just Mike & myself, though we did get a chance to hang out with Mike's brother's family for a week in August. Followed by a great week canoe camping in Algonquin with another couple. It might have rained a least once most of the days, but we had a fantastic time. Mike is the master of the tarp. And you can't get much more outdoorsy and physically distanced than in your own canoe and in your own tent in a gorgeous Provincial Park.
We very occasionally met with friends at outside venues (mostly someone's back yard, and mostly no more than us and another couple), and once or twice even went out to supper on a patio in the summer when restrictions due to COVID lifted. From mid-October until mid-December, Kitchener Band resumed in-person practicing (interesting playing in a band with 28-40 people each week spread throughout a gymnasium--does funky things with cohesion, timing, concentration, and time-delays). We pulled out some Christmas music and some other tunes for summer concerts, and after an 18-month hiatus, learned that amateur musicians can still make decent music after a couple of weeks of remembering how to play together (and honing those lax embrasures). We had high hopes for some kind of Christmas concert, but as the season approached, most venues simply didn't want to risk a gathering of so many people. Understandable. So we worked out a plan to have a sort of open rehearsal, where limited friends and family could come hear us play a pseudo-concert in a large space where we could all physically distance. Unfortunately, on the Friday before our Monday 'concert' (the last Monday before Christmas), the omicron variant of COVID had appeared in full-force, with its highly contagious nature. Taking no chances, especially so close to Christmas, we had to cancel this pseudo-concert as well. So much for playing toward a set goal. There's still some hope for summer, outdoor concerts, if we can contain this variant's spread enough to make gathering in such numbers feasible again.
At some point in the fall, I came across a contest for poetry writing. One such contest wanted a collection of no less than 48 pages, and no more than 96 pages. I took a look at some of my previous poetry, and decided I could do that. I put together a decent-sized collection and sent it off (results forthcoming in late-winter/early-spring). Then I sat down and added to it. A few times. As recently as this sunny and snowy January morning.
All things being equal, I plan to publish an anthology of poetry (tentatively titled Dancing Words) this spring. It has four general themed sections: Nature & Time; Good & Evil/Life & Death; For the Young at Heart; and Family. It currently sits at about 77 pages (about 60 of them containing words, while I've added pictures [many taken and adapted from the family cottage at Big Cedar Lake] to separate the sections). Most of those pages contain more than one poem (everything from open verse to rhyming stanzas, structured and unstructured pieces, even a couple of sonnets, some haikus, and at least one limerick). That's about 80 poems (note: haikus being short, and my having 16-20 of them included, this may not seem as special to you as it does to me). Thus, instead of my intended short-story adventure, I will concentrate on polishing poetry. And writing a new novel. Which I started last week. I have less than 1000 words typed into the computer, and little idea of where the story's going, but I look forward to the characters unfolding their tale as I go.
And I'm happy to report that I have had no health issues/recurring episodes of gut problems since the beginning of September. Fingers crossed that remains the case!