Staying alive on the 2020 rollercoaster ride has meant taking shelter—and finding connections where we can. This year’s traditional year-end list of resources for writers and readers features a few favorite literary and environmental lifelines from the past twelve months.
- That Thing with Feathers, blog posts about Western life during the pandemic, by Torrey House Press (they published my 2019 title The Oasis This Time: Living and Dying in the West.) Start with an April post from the beginning of the pandemic, “Coming or Going.” Then read on about life today during COVID by my friend Kathryn Wilder (whose much-anticipated Desert Chrome comes out in 2021).
- Second-gen river/cuture writer Rose McMackin‘s terrific diasterologie blog and essays. Read her latest piece in Atticus Review. (Would I follow Rose’s work if she weren’t my daughter? That would be a resounding yes.)
- Bookshop, the online bookstore that supports your local bookseller (and has terrific last-minute holiday gift ecards available). Browse my bookshelf of Water Reads here.
- Starting a virtual family book club after COVID lockdown. Once rolling late in the year, our new club read and discussed six brilliant titles by year’s end.
- Online writing classes with the fabulous memoirist and instructor Marion Roach Smith. No matter what genre of book you’re writing in 2021, her top 20 tips for writing memoir apply.
- Online classes with publishing guru Jane Friedman. (And the latest edition of her informative newsletter Electric Speed recommends inspiring 2021 planners for structuring your writing life.)
- Stories blog at the David Suzuki Foundation website. Narratives with the power to create a brighter climate future for our communities.
- Walking. Sometimes very slowly; sometimes at a clip. As often as possible in nature, as reported in WATER LENS blog posts Forward and Data.
- Aeon magazine, a smart culture-and-environment journal out of Melbourne. Always great reading. (Get started with my “Midnight at the Oasis” and “The Healing Power of Nature” and just keep digging.)
- Bill McKibben’s “Annals of a Warming Planet” in The New Yorker. His latest: The Climate Debt the U.S. Owes the World.
- Never reading Presidential tweets in favor of posts and classes by dharma teacher Oren Jay Sofer.
What has kept you reading, writing, staying alive? Please comment to let me know how you’re doing in body and spirit.
Looking forward to seeing you in 2021!
Find my 2020 Nautilus Book Award Winner and 2019 Oregon Book Award and Foreword INDIE Finalist The Oasis This Time: Living and Dying with Water in the West (Torrey House Press, 2019), at your local bookseller, Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.
Winter Solstice. Renewal begins. The promise of new life, new growing, new work that feeds the soul. Long and truly my favorite day of many. Best wishes of the season to all.
Kenny, today’s the day! Nice to hear from you. Best wishes of the fertile solstice season to you and Annie and all your family. With a big river hug. See you in 2021!
Becca! I tried to write when I first read your post yesterday but couldn’t figure out how. Just me being…me. Thank you for the shout out for Desert Chrome, and for your great list of reading material (go Rose!) and oases in which to focus on craft and self. I wish for a better year for us all, including YOU. Happy Solstice!
Kat, thank you. Can’t tell you how I get it about these replies! And comments. Better year coming though! Happy return to the light!
Wonderful to hear of you and about you and your exciting writing. Here in California, where there is too much of the Covid-19 going around and too much controversy about keeping distant from one another as well as the problem of mask; all these have been keeping me and my hubby indoors (for the love of me!!!), and the other members of our family have been out of hugging touch with each other, just keep missing them!!!
Glad to hear you are out there, making your writing up and going. Keep it up and keep it lively.
With good wishes,
Lilia, thanks for your thoughts! Great advice, to keep it lively. So glad your family has put the love of you first. Hugs are in our future — something to look forward to. Sending virtual embraces.
Hi Lilia, yes please feel free to call me Becca. Thanks for your kind words. So true about missing family members and being able to touch and hug. I’m glad to hear you’re staying safe and sane — hard to hang in there for the home stretch, but all indications are that we’re in it now even if it’s a rough one. I’m with you, and am doing those things we still can to keep us well: connecting virtually through sight and sound (two of our important senses), taking in the fresh scent of the outdoors after the rains from our porch (third sense), remembering to touch the earth when I’m out walking (fourth sense), and tasting the gift of the earth through our food (fifth sense). It struck me so strongly to remember forest bathing keeps us sane the more we access all the senses. I hope you can do it as you keep your distance a while longer. Thinking of you!