I was going to say that I couldn’t quite see what clowns and pigs had to do with New Year, but then I reflected again on 2020 and you know what? Never mind. The image fits.
I usually do a post at the end of the year, summing up what’s gone and thinking about what’s coming up. But looking back at 2020… oh boy. The year that kept on giving.
I’m lucky that apart from the inconveniences of lockdown and the emotional toll of not seeing family, we’re all well. We’ve kept ourselves and my mother (who was 89 yesterday) Covid-free. There is a price, of course. The enforced isolation has worsened Mum’s dementia, and hence my own stress, but it’s quite possible that would have happened anyway and dealing with it is part and parcel of a carer’s tasks. I’m just grateful we still have her. So, we’re all fine, but I know people who aren’t, and I’m sick at heart for those in far greater trouble, emotionally, than I have been. 2020 has been a bitch.
I’ve been mordantly amused throughout the Covid crisis that we measure our civilisation, our very existence, in ways that would have astonished our ancestors. They would have obsessed about finding enough food and water, about sickness and lack of medication, about society and law and order breaking down around them. Twenty-first century Man’s most obsessive, pressing concern when disaster strikes, is a little different. “OMG! Zombie attack! Alien invasion! Meteorite hits Earth! Plague! Breakdown of society! Do I have enough toilet paper?!!”
Hey, you take your amusements where you can, okay? That, and the pleasing reflection that I may have a extra pack or two of loo rolls stored in the garage.
So much of 2020 has been viewed through the Covid-lens. Mankind generally is waiting for the plague to pass, hoping the vaccinations come soon, still worrying about keeping ourselves and our loved ones as safe as we can, washing our hands obsessively, staying six feet away from everyone if we do venture out.
There have been other obsessions. The US election was nail-biting to the end, and with Trump still unwilling to concede and still shouting out his unproven assertions that “I woz robbed!!”, we haven’t reached the end yet. Can’t wait for Inauguration Day when he will be out of power, if not perhaps out of Tweets.
And Brexit. Today is a terrifically sad day for me. The sheer inanity of diminishing ourselves leaves me gasping, but it’s done. In something under six hours, we’ll start the next stage of shooting ourselves in the foot. No point in railing about it. I’ll just do another extra shop for the local foodbank. They’re going to need it.
This year, the slow unravelling of our lives has put a cramp on writing—as for many writers, I suspect. It’s hard to focus when you’re wondering what is going to happen next. I am slowly picking up my writing again, but not m/m romance. It will never be m/m romance again. Because if I had one great epiphany in this year of enforced stillness, it was that I was increasing discomforted over writing about gay men. I will still write LGBT characters into the stories I’m creating, but it won’t be quite the same emphasis. There are plenty of other voices there. The genre won’t miss mine.
So that’s 2020 gone. May the door kick its arse on its way out, and may 2021 be a better year. Fuck knows, it can hardly be a worse one.
Let’s end with a sentiment from another Victorian New Year card, and a wish for the coming year that I hope is the lot of every single one of you.
Be healthy and happy, my friends. Good luck for the coming year.