"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
~~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hi all,

I hope 2022 is starting out well for you!  Mine's going well... being on vacation for six days (two left) definitely helps!  However, I'm still feeling burnt out and not much up for writing which is why this is brief. 

For those who are interested, I did eventually finish the Christmas story.  It was late but that's okay.  I also forgot some of what I planned to include and know it wasn't my best but given how crazy this past year was, I'm okay with that.  It helped me realize some of the following so that makes it worthwhile to me.

Take care, stay warm, stay safe!

God bless,

Thoughts and Plans for 2022

1.  I'm rethinking how I incorporated COVID into the Dyeland stories.  In the real world, I am still very cautious about COVID.  I've been vaccinated and boosted and wear masks in public.  But I find I'm not mentally able to maintain that level of caution in real life AND in the stories.  While I can't imagine just waving away COVID in the Dyeland stories, for my own mental health, I can't keep delaying stories and then rushing to write them once I get a handle on what the COVID situation will be when the story is actually set.  For example, I may start writing the Spring story in February.  While I would certainly hope we don't have another major variant coming into existence by April, we might.  And, God forbid, it may prompt another shutdown.  If that happens, that variant simply might not exist in the Dyeland stories.  And while I try to maintain some sort of financial realism in the stories, that may also go out the window.  St. Genesius' might inexplicably be able to afford endless PCR tests.  So even though I'm not personally going to any sort of arts events unless masks are required, I may very well write scenes at St. G's with cast, crew, and audience members all together and unmasked.

2.  That being said...  I may not write the Spring story until well into Spring not because I'm waiting on the COVID situation but because my life situation is just kinda hectic right now.  I still have lots of home repairs to do, lots of clean-up, and also just some cutesy little projects that aren't really necessary but lift my mood.  I've also come to the conclusion that Leo, my Treeing Walker Coonhound, is not getting more independent as he ages but less.  This poor dog has issues!  And one thing that really helps him is spending copious amounts of time outside, basking in the sun.  Well, that's not something one can count on during Nebraska winters and even early Springtime.  So he's been upset and needy and thus required more attention.  So when I get back to writing depends a lot on the weather and how much I'm able to let nature soothe Leo versus me having to constantly baby him.

3.  There's also a chance I may take a hiatus... or even multiple hiatuses... from the newsletter during this next year.  I'm not sure what that would look like.  Maybe it'll meaning re-sending a story that's already been released like TV shows air re-runs.  Maybe it'll mean just outright skipping a week here and there.  I'm not sure.  I just know that while I don't want to give up on the newsletters, sometimes I don't always have ideas for them and taking time away from my endless list of chores, or even a chance to relax, trying to brainstorm a newsletter just because it's been two weeks since I sent one maybe isn't the best use of my time or energy.

4.  Really what this all boils down to is I'm really making a commitment to improving my physical and mental health this year and I may not know what that means in advance.  So I'm not going to really make solid plans about what JABB and the Dyeland stories will look like this year.  Very little may change.  A lot may change.  I just don't know.  It's possible that I'll have a really good February and by March I'll want things to go back to normal.  Who knows!  I've just come to realize how much self-imposed deadlines can really make or break my mood.  So I'm trying to not have as many of those.

5.  And I really hope all of you can make the best of 2022, too!  Whether life is pretty much back to normal for you or the ongoing pandemic has you feeling stuck, I hope you can find things that bring you joy and peace!

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for continuing to be an inspiration as we enter 2022!

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(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  They are not being used to seek profit.)