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Camellia plant outside my dining room window – Los Angeles – December 2021
Photo by Rosaliene Bacchus

What a year! With the global COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 still upending our lives, the year 2021 has taught me that, with constant adaptation to ever-changing conditions, I can endure. The coronavirus had already taken over 385,000 American lives when I watched in disbelief the live TV broadcast of the January 6th assault on the US Capitol building. Terrorism had come home to American soil. Future generations may come to regard that day as the meltdown of our global War on Terror.

Nature’s ever-mutating, coronavirus terrorist has thrown our divided forces into disarray. When you cannot see the enemy, you are unaware of any imminent danger of a stealth attack. Underestimating the strength of the enemy can also lead to defeat and possible death. Instead of confronting our common enemy, we have turned on each other. Unable to agree on proven scientific strategies of defense against this formidable foe, we have sustained thousands of casualties within our ranks, especially among our weakest and most vulnerable members.

As the mother of an anti-masker and anti-vaxxer, I have learned to stay afloat amidst the tsunami of distrust, disinformation, and conspiracy theories. A mother’s love should not be conditional. Our adult offspring should be free to make their own choices. To reduce my chances of contracting the virus and suffering from its worst effects, I got both doses of the vaccine and, more recently, the booster shot. I continue to wear my face mask in public indoor spaces and maintain the recommended six-foot distance from others outside my household, where possible. Overcoming my fear of contamination when using the bus is a work in progress.

When California re-opened for business on June 15, 2021, after 15 months of lock-down, my hopes for returning to a normal life were short-lived. New COVID-19 variants, more deadly and more contagious, have deterred the return to normalcy. Adaptation to this new precariousness of life is a must.

I keep in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic is just a small taste of what awaits our species as we fail to act on our climate emergency. I cannot claim innocence. I’m still a long way from reducing my carbon footprint to zero. In 2021, through our fossil-fueled telecommunications global network, I was able to self-publish my second novel, The Twisted Circle, and to promote sales online. The wonders of our advanced computer technology!

The technical demands of upgrading my author website and undertaking the self-publishing process also forced me to go beyond my comfort zone. Each obstacle surmounted during the struggle was cause for celebration. When the first proof copy of The Twisted Circle arrived on July 8th, I held it close to my heart. After years of labor, I had finally realized my goal. Success made possible through persistence, determination, as well as support from fellow writers and my blogging community.

I give thanks for all the members of my writers’ critique group as well as my developmental and copy-editor. I give thanks for all my blogger friends who have purchased my novel. I give thanks for the publisher at Guyanese Online for championing my work over the years. I give thanks for readers who have shared their “Praise for The Twisted Circle: A Novel.”

I write stories to reach minds and hearts in our divided world. The COVID-19 global pandemic has exacerbated the divisions among us. Climate change catastrophes, already devastating many regions here in the USA and countries worldwide, will create even more chaos and conflicts among us. As we enter another year of precarious living, I continue to strive to be my better self amidst the discord. With The Twisted Circle: A Novel now released into the world, I must now refocus on moving forward with my neglected, unfinished manuscript.

I take to heart the call to action from Kate Kuff, the Australian poet and storyteller blogging at A Thousand Bits of Paper. She writes in her article, “Strive harder. Break your own heart and fulfil the whispered yearnings of your soul”:

This year strive towards the things that you wish to achieve with all your heart. Don’t let the uncertainty of another year with Covid, past failures or self doubt hold you back. We have this one life to live, choose to throw yourself forward and try as hard as you can at everything that your soul desires. Be fearless, break your own heart, keep striving.