2020- A roller coaster year

Scriever 2021

January 2020- Started wonderfully well. Waved goodbye to my daughter after a wonderful Xmas and New Year and settled into my routine. Gym and meeting friends at Dobbie’s in Milngavie, or the City Centre at Royal Convert Hall or other places. Busy with committee meetings of EDAC, organising events for Bearsden Writers.

February 2020: Storm Ciara hits us. But life continued with reading for STEM poets on the 11th, attending Committee meeting of the Scottish Pen, BW, and the launch of FWS‘s anthology High Tide. The month ended with a wonderful Indian cultural programme in Hamilton celebrating spring or Holi in Burnbrae Hall in Hamilton.

March 2020: International Women’s Day on the 8th with readings from Carol McKay and two more writers at Café Delzique. It was a thoroughly interesting event looking at women’s progress in the last decade and looking forward to the future.  March 23rd BOJO announces Lockdown. The month ended with meeting with my book group on Zoom to discuss ‘The Testament of Gideon Mack.’ We got to grips with zoom technology. Twiddling with knobs on with cries of ‘unmute yourself, it’s that wee icon of a microphone.’ ringing in our years.  Lockdown, a strange kind of living, avoiding people, staying in the house but the weather was lovely.

April 2020: Clearing the house from top to bottom was a new exercise.  It was fun for a while. Clothes bagged for charity, books in piles ready for Oxfam. Then the joy of trying to clean the patio slabs with Karcher that was lying unused in the garage. The sparkling patio was photographed and sent to all and sundry.  Next, it was the kitchen cupboards to be tackled. I did my knee in. 17th of April the doctor masked and wary of examining me says, ‘I’ll refer you to an Orthopaedic Consultant. He may not see you right away, here are some painkillers.  Rest but keep the knee moving.’

May 2020: Glorious weather. Hobbling around the garden was a pleasure. My social media updates were full of amazingly colourful blooms. I write an ‘Ode to my Walking Stick,’ with apologies to Keats.

June 2020: Summer at its height. My knee pain is getting better. I am able to walk a bit longer and enjoy the woods behind our house. It is also a very productive month with poems in ‘The Kist of Thistles,’ by Culture Matters,  ‘Together Behind the Walls’ raising money for Marie Curie nurses and in a wonderful anthology by Glasgow university’s  Hayley Barclay and Sylvia Herir’s ‘Stories From Home.’

July 2020: I get the news that my debut crime novel ‘Murder at the Mela’ will be ready for publication soon. Ringwood Publishers put up the Pre-order link on their website. I’m thrilled.  The Scotsman newspaper prints my poem ‘Just Things’ from the’ Kist of Thistles’ anthology as their poem of the week.  Zoom meetings are going on almost every day with CC and many events are able to attract a worldwide audience.

August 2020: More zoom events as I am selected for ‘Crime in the Spotlight’ by Bloody Scotland Book Festival and my three minute presentation video is played just before Ann Cleeves and PeterMay’s event.  Making the video was a skill that took me many attempts to master.

September 2020: Glasgow’s Mela was celebrating its 30th year, and I was humbled that they included an interview with me. Another zoom event that was really successful.  Seeing me wearing a sari seemed to appeal to a lot of readers.

October 2020: Navratri, the nine nights when goddesses were worshipped took place in a virtual fashion in India and here in Scotland. I get a Flash Memoir piece and poems published in Dreich and Visual Verse. Halloween is muted with hardly any kids doing any trick or treat or chapping our door.

November 2020: My book launch is on the 4th. I am excited and nervous. Zoe Strachan of Glasgow University is our special guest and she does a marvellous interview on Zoom. ‘Murder at the Mela’ is also highlighted in ‘Publishing Scotland’s crime books of 2020, with four of us crime writers books showcased during Book Week Scotland.  Carol McKay, my friend does a blogpost interview with me and I see reviews on Amazon that encourage me to plan the next book in the Patel series.

December 2020: The doom and gloom of the month are soundly rejected by the neighbours by defiantly putting up the most creative and spectacular Christmas lights in their gardens. Walks outside in the darkening evenings are a pleasure to see new lights and laser shows making the place brighter. On 17th I am honoured to be made Scriever 2021 by the Federation of Writers, Scotland. I am surprised and humbled.  Christmas passes quietly. A sprinkling of snow and the icy roads make it a winter wonderland. As for Covid-19, looks like a new variant is spreading the virus with a speed that is worrying. The two vaccines give us some hope. We soldier on, planning events, and zoom meetings for 2021. An unforgettable year in many ways, amidst all the terrible news of Covid I get a debut crime book published, honoured to be appointed a Scriever for 2021 and have had some success in my life as a writer. A roller coaster year.  

6 thoughts on “2020- A roller coaster year

  1. robbiecharlie

    Hi Leela Lovely to hear from you. Congrats on your achievements this year – all merited. Hope that you and Som have a happy and healthy 2021. Jean x

    Sent from my iPad




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