Friday, January 01, 2021

What I Did during the Lockdown

I don’t need to tell you about 2020 in general. We lived through it. Except for those of us who didn’t. And there were far too many who didn’t. Personally, I started the year excited about some writing projects I had going. I also started my 34th year teaching, just as I’d started 33 years before. It had become routine—until March 10, a Tuesday, which was my last normal day. We had face to face classes on Wednesday the 11th but already knew we were going fully online as a University on Monday. I’d never taught an online course; most of our students had never taken one. Panic ensued on every front, including mine. I had about three days to master Zoom and get a ton of notes up on Brightspace, our web-based backup for our classes. I don’t know how I accomplished it. I didn’t sleep much.

Without a doubt, this was the hardest teaching year of my life, including my very first year when I had to teach three brand new classes I’d never taught before. And I was also a lot older to boot. One of the worst parts of it all was missing out on the personal interactions with students, both in class and in my advising capacity. I didn’t realize how important those interactions were to me. Somehow, I made it through, and I know I’m very lucky to have a job that 1) continued, 2) paid me a decent wage, and 3) allowed me considerable flexibility in how I did my work.

As for the lockdown, not being able to go to restaurants, or to movies, or to festivals, or out to visit folks, well, for the most part it was a piece of cake. Those of you who thrive on social activities may not want to hear that, but I’m intensely introverted and it just didn’t bother me. Sure, I missed going out to eat on occasion, and I didn’t like wearing a mask to do groceries or to get take-out, but—for me—these were minor frustrations. I missed, much more, not being able to hang out with friends, to hit the bar for a beer, or have a meal out with my son and his family. Overall, though, the lockdown was not much of a problem for me and gave me more time to fiddle around with my books, which is always a great pleasure.

As for writing, 2020 would have to rank as very good for me, at least in my top three years ever. I had two novels published, both under pseudonyms for Wolfpack Publishing. And I wrote three complete novels, as well as various short stories. I completed over 230,000 words of fiction for publication, which bettered my previous best production by about 50,000 words. One of the three novels I wrote has already been published, “Vengeance of the Black Rose,” and the other two are scheduled for publication in 2021. I won’t talk more about those until they’re hatched.

As of the start of 2021, I’m beginning a new novel today, which is under contract. And other contracts are looming so if I can keep up the writing it should be another good year. I hope most sincerely that we can get past the Covid Pandemic and return to a more normal world. I want to be back in the classroom without a mask on, able to get up close to speak to students, able to see clearly their facial expressions, and their smiles. I want to get back to hanging out more with my son and seeing my grandson more. I’m looking forward to an easier time shopping for groceries and visiting doctors and eating out, and going to bookstores. And I’m hoping that all of you will have a better year, too, and will see recovery from the tribulations of 2020. 


Jeff said...

2020 has been weird for those of us who live and work in the public sphere. And it'll continue well into 2021, but I hope we'll have a better grip on things. I still don't believe I decided to make a move, but I'm enjoying being back in the mountains.

Happy 2021 to you, Charles.

Unknown said...

Jeff, you seem made for the mountains, man. Hope you have a great year.

RK Sterling said...

So glad to hear you had a good writing year!

Unknown said...

RK, thanks. I enjoyed it.

David Cranmer said...

And to all you educators, Charles, God bless you! My daughter's teachers are saints and I tell them whenever I can. And congrats on the new novel.