This has been a crazy year, but I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
Last night, my kids and I had a quiet dinner together. Usually, we have a nice Christmas dinner of quiche and salad and dessert and wine with family and friends, but this year it was just us. The kids picked what they wanted to eat, and we had takeout Chinese. While I'm not a superstitious sort, I do always enjoy the fortune cookies at the end of the meal. We have a tradition that whenever we get fortune cookies, we each read our fortunes out loud, and my kids save the ones they like on the fridge.
I don't usually save a fortune, but I got one last night that I felt was worth saving. It said, "As one grows to understand life less and less, one learns to live it more and more."
I feel that this is true. I don't have any great understanding of life after this past year of the 3 P's: pandemic, politics, and protest. Whatever side of the divide you fall on, America has more problems than answers right now, and it's hard to imagine what's on the horizon.
However, because of the pandemic, I've had to scale back my work. I'm homeschooling my kids. And a year that might have passed in a blur of work and events and lessons and always rushing, rushing, rushing, has slowed down. It's become a time that I will look back upon as the year that I learned how to live day by day and learned what it truly means to appreciate the strange journey of life.
May you have a healthy and safe end to the year, and a bright and peaceful New Year.
I am proud to announce that I am one of the editors for a new literary magazine called Scribes*MICRO*Fiction. Our magazine is looking for fiction, creative nonfiction, and poems all between 90-110 words. We'll be publishing once a month, and be open to submissions year-round.
For a full list of guidelines and how to send in your writing, please visit our magazine's website HERE.
So... it's been a while. July, in fact, since I was last on this thing, LOL. The year has been simultaneously terribly slow without the usual assortment of author events and summer camps and back to school things that we usually do during the year. My two youngest kids are homeschooling with "Mrs. Mom" as their teacher, and my oldest is doing distance learning. So our household has stayed busy, even though it's an unusual kind of busyness. Like everyone, we're looking forward to a more normal future when the vaccine can be distributed, although I'm sure some things have permanently changed.
For example, has anyone noticed their kids haven't been sick at all? Since we mostly stay home, and wear masks every time we go out, we've had exactly 1 cold so far this season (and I have no idea where THAT came from). Yes, we got our flu shots, but on top of that, we just haven't had the same exposure. I'm wondering if wearing masks will continue to trend, even after the vaccine helps tamp down the numbers of coronavirus. Last winter, we were sick pretty much for 5 solid months. So life has been more pleasant without the constant illnesses.
Hope everyone has stayed healthy & safe in the meantime, and will continue to do so through the winter. Love and virtual hugs to everyone!
It's Fourth of July, and each of my daughters are celebrating what they're proud of as Americans.
My oldest daughter is proud to be an American who supports #BlackLivesMatter and marches in protest against violence and for positive and lasting change.
My middle daughter is proud to be an American who writes optimistic poems and stories to inspire others her age when they're sad because of the pandemic.
My youngest daughter is proud to be an American who wears a mask whenever she goes out.
Happy Fourth of July to all Americans! May you keep healthy and safe.
If you're looking for an online poetry event this weekend, I'm taking part of a virtual fiction/poetry reading tomorrow, Saturday June 27th. The event runs from noon until 6pm, with 20+ local Connecticut poets, including current and former poet laureates from Norwalk, in addition to other new and award-winning writers.
The event is organized by the wonderful local poet Jerry Johnson. For more information, including how to livestream the event via Zoom, check out his post HERE.
I hope to "see" you there!
I like math. I'm not a doctor or a scientist, but one thing that seems to be readily available via news sites is a lot of data - number of tests taken, number of positive cases, number of deaths, etc. The New York Times published an article on 3/26/2020: "Where the U.S. Stands Now on Coronavirus Testing" that has all the data available in the U.S. on these numbers.
So I did a little math based on the NY Times article. Again, I'm not an expert in the field, but this gives me something to do to make sense of the information coming in and what it might mean to our country.
As of when the article was published, there had been about 558,000 tests administered across the U.S., with about 75,800 testing positive. That's 13.6% positive rate for all the tests administered. Of these at the time (the number has since grown), there were 1,588 deaths, which works out to be about 2.1% who die after testing positive. If you take a straight extrapolation from those percentages and apply it to the entire U.S. population (about 327 million), you get a number of about 44.5 million people who will test positive for coronavirus and 934,500 projected deaths.
But this projection doesn't take into account any variables, positive or negative - such as slowing rates by practicing social distancing (or increasing rates for places NOT practicing social distancing), and whether there will be "side" deaths (people who aren't positive for coronavirus, but who die from a cause they can't get treated for while hospitals are overwhelmed, such as cancer, organ transplants, etc., which most hospitals have since cancelled. While these deaths won't be DIRECTLY due to coronavirus, I think they should still be laid at coronavirus's door, since life-saving operations have been postponed/canceled recently due to lack of space).
That's a scary number. Hopefully it's a number that can be changed for the better with social distancing practices. Hopefully we've gotten to state lockdowns in time to prevent more spread. Hopefully the experimental drug treatments being tried in hospitals right now will prevent future patient deaths.
But whatever happens, this is an experience that has changed - and will change - all of us. Not just in this country, but around the world. This is a pivotal event of our lives, just like WWII was for my grandparents' generation. There will be common questions asked down the road: "Where were you locked down during the pandemic? Did you get the coronavirus? Who did you know who died?"
Anyways, musings that probably everyone is having right now. Hope you are all staying healthy during these days, and I'll be seeing you again after lockdown. Stay safe.
Just to let everyone know, all the writerly events I was involved with in March this month have been canceled. Here's the official announcement from the Fairfield Scribes' page:
So I'd like to wish everyone a happy and healthy March, and hope to see you at some rescheduled writing events in April and May!
I am so thrilled to announce that my debut novel The Rose Queen is now a 2019 finalist for The Wishing Shelf Book Award. It's a fantastic contest from the UK, where the finalists and winners are chosen by the book's audience. So my YA book was read by teens, who picked it to be one of the finalists!
Although I'll never know the "judges" who picked my book, I want to thank all of them - I'm so glad you enjoyed it! While the sequel has been delayed from 2019 publication, it's in the works. And it's even more exciting than book 1! To give you a hint... expect war and terrible battles, true love and family ties, betrayal and redemption, ultimate sacrifices and death-defying magic.
On Sunday, March 15, WestportWRITES at The Westport Library will welcome the Fairfield Scribes to celebrate Ray Bradbury's 100th birthday! Writers are encouraged to draw inspiration from the legendary author of The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451 to write their own short story. After a brief writing session, attendees will get one-on-one time with the editors to help hone their stories and brainstorm ideas.
All writers attending the workshop will receive an invitation to submit their stories to the Westport Library's new anthology, to be published on September 1st. Authors published in the anthology will have an opportunity to read excerpts at the annual Saugatuck StoryFest at the end of September.
Several writers from the Fairfield Scribes (Edward Ahern, Elizabeth Chatsworth, P.C. Keeler and me!) will open the workshop with a conversation about Ray Bradbury's great contributions to literature. Then we'll take a break to do some writing and will reconvene for small group sessions with the editors.
The seminar will be held on Sunday, March 15 from 1pm-4pm at Brooks Place Room in the library, located at 20 Jesup Road in Westport. You can find out more information about the panel HERE.
Hope to see you there!
Who the heck is Alison McBain?
I am a freelance writer and poet with over two hundred short pieces published in magazines and anthologies. If the Walking Dead isn't on, I draw pictures and do origami meditation in Alberta, where I live with my family. If the Walking Dead is on... shhhh! The Walking Dead is on! For more info, please check out my "About Me" page.
© Alison McBain. All rights reserved