While our world has changed in big ways and small through the 2020 pandemic, the wheels have still been turning in my writing life. The review I wrote of Katy Yocum’s novel Three Ways to Disappear, published in the North American Review, won FIRST PLACE in the National Federation of Press Women’s 2020 awards in the category of “Specialty Articles – Reviews.”
There were 1,800 entrants in the nation-wide NFPW contest. The award for this book review was especially gratifying since Katy and I graduated from the same Spalding MFA in Writing class of October ‘03.
I earned another FIRST PLACE in “Specialty Articles – Agriculture” for the article published in Alaska magazine “Sweet Cherry Rumors.” I also earned two second-place awards and an honorable mention for other articles in various publications. The combined awards in the NFPW contest earned THIRD PLACE in the national sweepstakes.
In other news, the documentary Canyons and Ice: The Last Run of Dick Griffith, that I co-produced with Andy Trimlett, is airing on 39 PBS stations around the country this summer. The film is a companion to the book and chronicles Griffith’s last, historic run through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River.
As for what I’m doing now? I have been writing to my one-year-old granddaughter (and all my grandchildren) about these days of quarantine, pandemic, and civil unrest. Eva will not remember these unprecedented historic events, so I am writing these letters to her future self. Included with the news are stories about the rhythm of daily life on our little farm – the arrival of cranes in springtime, the planting of our garden, the antics of dogs and horses. I’m throwing in a bit of advice here and there from her “Oma.” Writing is cathartic in these strange times, and Eva is the unwitting receptacle for my musings. This entry was recently published by 49 Writers.
One-Year-Old in Quarantine
Since we cannot see you in person,
The video shows your arms out,
your face frozen in startled wonder,
as if you had been transported to another universe,
which of course you had. There is an entire world
Outside your little house in the big woods.
You slowly, carefully squatted
Orienting yourself closer to the safety of earth.
Closer to the ground, your
Tiny fingers picked up a rock.
It was as if holding something in your grasp
Brought you back to yourself.
The “wow” of something you can carry is
Less overwhelming than the “whoa” of the cosmos,
We are all, little Eva, grasping at pebbles.