It has been a year.

mary bennet
  • Books read: 50 -ish (I could count the ones on my Kindle and my Libby account, but lost track of the hardcovers and paperbacks)
  • Novels sold: 1 (Audio edition, The Unexpected Miss Bennet)
  • Books edited: 1
  • Stories sold: 4
  • Books completed: 1
  • Stories written: 0
  • Screenplays written: 4
  • Films edited: 1 (plus two short scenes)

2021 — the gory details

  • Got let go.

The year started with a low. The reasons I got let go from work are complex, and were exacerbated by COVID. When the axe fell, it was extremely unfortunate and unfair – but also not unexpected.

I know COVID did a number on all of us. How could it not? We lost people. We lost our normal. Our families and friends were hurting. But there was also an expectation that we were to carry on, no accommodations for the pain. Or at least, that’s the pressure I put on myself. It was so obvious, looking back, that I was cratering (the anti-anxiety meds were probably an indication), but I didn’t know what to do.

I sort of thought that I needed help, but by the time I realized it, it was too late. The wheels were already in motion. Ah well.

  • Sold four short stories. The first acceptance came when I was sitting in my childhood bedroom, visiting my mom. She had fallen and needed some extra help for a few days, and since I had the time (points up to bullet point), I donned two masks and braved the pre-vaccine airport situation to head out there and be with her. My email pinged one morning, and I got the news that Utopia Science Fiction wanted Joe Fledge’s Jump.

Then I sold “Caro Comes Home,” and then the “Star Seed Witches Meet at Midnight,” and then a glorious acceptance for “Theo Ballinchard and the Oranges of Possibility.”

Wrote several short screenplays, one of which got me to second round in a screenplay challenge. I think I’m going to film that one in my spring semester, which leads to: points down.

  • Started film school – found out I loved film editing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got lots to learn, but I’m looking forward to learning it.
  • Finished the novel in the beginning of the year. I started this novel in 2019, during the year of my story a week challenge. One story morphed into the beginning of a novel, and I thought, well, if the universe is making my road clear, might as well start walking down it.

2020 and 2021 Year of Reading

If 2019 was my short story challenge, 2020 and 2021 were my Year of Reading. I recommitted to my enjoyment of settling in with a good book, or a hard book, or a book I normally wouldn’t read. I fell in love with Fonda Lee’s Green Bone Saga, and I also read Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste. I reread all of the Three Musketeers books by Dumas, and I read Little, by Edward Carey.

I became completely enamored of reading books through my library app. I want to support authors but I can’t buy every book, so I use Libby. Even getting on the waitlist for popular books has become part of the ritual, and the Libby notification is like Christmas — yay! A new book to read!

Reading makes you slow down – I’d forgotten that. I’m carrying that tradition forward into 2022.

2022! I can’t believe that it’s just weeks away. How does that even happen? The entire world lost a year, and here it is, time rushing at us like a freight train, and we’re all just gaping into the light.

Film School

Fall was a hell of a semester. I learned so much. I wrote a screenplay and learned several forms of media writing. Took a thoroughly absorbing class in media that was engaging and interesting. Probably didn’t need to take the class because I should have gotten credit for my work history, but it was educational anyway and I’m glad I took it.

Film editing is my new love. I keep mentioning that. I know. But damn, it just feels right. I have a couple of projects I’m working over the break, focusing on sound and color correction. I’m really proud of the projects I did for the semester, and I’m looking forward to doing even better.

The intro to TV Tech course was fun, and I’m looking forward to applying what I learned to: (points down)

I’m taking two classes in 2022, after learning my lesson this past fall: taking four classes was insane, and I’d like to have a word with the idiot who thought that was a smart idea. Oh, right. Me. So I scaled way back, and next semester I’m taking Film Style Production and Lighting. We did a little bit with lighting in my intro to TV tech class, and I really liked it, so I’m interested in learning more.

And finally:

The plan is to get the new novel to the agent in January and let her do her magic. And once that’s out of my hands, I start brainstorming the next book.

I just read that last graf and laughed at myself. Yeah, anything with the word plan in it is just all fuzzy math and fractals. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m still planning, and still doing the plan, but I’ll try to be kind to myself when things don’t turn out the way I expect.

Here’s to 2022.

Namaste, y’all.  


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