1 December 2021 Susannah

My Strange Year

My strange year

What a strange year 2021 has been. Let’s hope that 2022 will be easier and healthier for us all.

My career has undergone many changes during the time of Covid. I’ve done zoom lectures, produced illustrated video talks, and conducted some Australian tours. I am so very grateful to those of you who subscribed to my ‘Tea with a Book Addict’ series, and to the ‘4 French Trailblazers’ and ‘4 Scandi Trailblazers’ – you have kept me going, financially and emotionally, through this difficult time. All the recorded talks are available for sale on my website, including my very latest – ‘The Brothers Grimm and Little Red Riding Hood’. If you missed out during the year, it is not too late to enjoy some gorgeously illustrated talks over the summer.

4 French Trailblazers

4 Scandi Trailblazers

Tea with a Book Addict

Little Red Riding Hood

I have also been busy on YouTube and you may like to watch some of the clips I have posted there.

My book chat with friend and fellow book addict, Walter Mason

My passion for the ‘Anne’ books of L.M. Montgomery

Visiting Dove Cottage (one of my favourite literary houses)

A talk on The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

There is much more, so do have a look, and enjoy! Find my channel here https://www.youtube.com/c/SusannahFullertonBookAddict or simply search my name on YouTube.

There have been various literary anniversaries to celebrate throughout the year.

In August this year, it was 250 years since the birth of Sir Walter Scott, the author who started the historical novel. This anniversary is being celebrated in various ways, including online. In 2023 I will be leading a literary tour in Scotland, which takes in many places associated with this ground-breaking writer.

On the 14th September this year, it was 700 years since the death of the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Covid has not made celebrations easy, but the important anniversary has not been forgotten.

1821 saw the birth of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, and the deaths of John Keats, Hester Thrale (good friend to Dr Johnson), Elizabeth Inchbald (who wrote the play Lovers’ Vows, so famously performed in Mansfield Park). In that year Scott’s Kenilworth was published, as were Shelley’s Adonais and Heinrich Heine’s Poems.

1921 saw the births of authors Patricia Highsmith, Alex Haley, and Scottish poet George Mackay Brown, and the deaths of E.W Hornung (creator of Raffles) and Russian poet Alexander Blok. The same year saw the publication of L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside, Georgette Heyer’s The Black Moth, Proust’s Sodom and Gomorrah, Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow, Sigrid Undset’s The Wife (Book 2 in her Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy), Tarzan the Terrible by Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Galsworthy’s To Let, and many short stories by W. Somerset Maugham, F. Scott Fitzgerald and D.H. Lawrence.

How has your year been strange? Have you had to make major changes in your work or lifestyle? Let me know in a comment.

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Featured image credit- British Film Festival 2021, from https://britishfilmfestival.com.au/
Body image credit- Burt Lancaster & Claudia Cardinale, The Leopard, 1963 Titanus Italian movie adaptation, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057091/

Comments (6)

  1. Honey

    I have had two years of unpleasantness.
    My passions are reading and dance and theater going.
    I have had to give up 95 % of all my dancing because everyone is so paranoid about getting the virus. Even though we are all vaccinated, they are still paranoid and the leaders will not permit us to dance without masks. Dancing requires exertion and free breathing and they are forcing me to wear a mask. I have heart disease and asthma and still they force me to wear a mask.

    If the masks work to keep us safe, then let them wear them and they can be safe. But I don’t want to wear them. How does making me wear a mask protect them? Either the mask works or it doesn’t.

    And I haven’t been to live theatre in over two years. I hate this and it will never be over because the powers that be love the power it gives them over us.

    How are you doing in Australia with all of the rules there?

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I totally understand that wearing a mask while dancing must be awful. It is sad that the activities of singing, dancing and live theatre seem to have been especially targeted by strictness. Let’s hope things soon improve.
      In Australia we have had lots of lockdowns and border closures, but now have really good vaccination rates, so life is slowly starting to return to greater normality.
      Best wishes for a merry Christmas and a healthy, book-filled 2022.

  2. Helen

    Although I am more of an extrovert than an introvert, and I was nervous about coping in lockdown,I enjoyed the forced slower pace of life. I read so many more novels than I normally would have. I also took more time preparing meals,experimenting with different recipes for my husband and me.We had been looking forward to seeing my daughter and her family who live in London in March 2020,and that was a disappoitment. It is now more than 2 years since I have seen them;to feel closer to them,I knitted scarves and posted them to the UK. Cleaning out my cupboards and donating useful kitchen items and clothes to the Red Cross also gave me a satisfying focus. My weekly dance class was cancelled and has only just resumed;without dancing,and also without going to the theatre, which I have always loved, I spent a lot more time walking and imagined myself walking the Camino,even though I was stomping around my neighbourhood. Nature wasn’t in lockdown and with so many glorious days,there was much to enjoy.
    Gardening was another pleasure,and I was in our garden far more than I normally would have been. I was very grateful that I could keep in touch with friends by phone, and I did make more of an effort to phone people,for a quick chat,especially those who live alone. Although for me lockdown wasnt a negative experience, I was anxious for those who were suffering with the horrible virus. Images from the US,the UK and Europe were so distressing and the situation in Australia,especially in Aged Care Residences, was awful for so many people. I did feel very lucky and in a funny way also a bit guilty at my good fortune.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      It does sound as if lockdown proved a positive experience for you, as it did for some others. I also used the opportunity to sort through cupboards and clean. However, all my family lives outside of Australia, so I have felt very cut off from them (even with zoom chats) and I did find it really hard to lose my job. One day I had a diary full of planned lectures and tours. The virus struck and suddenly everything was cancelled and I really had no job and no income. So I had to reinvent my career and am just so grateful to all those who booked my lectures, ordered my books online and encouraged the new projects I was establishing.
      I am still longing to travel to see my family, but hopefully that will happen in 2022.
      Merry Christmas and let’s hope for much greater normality in 2022.

  3. Malvina

    Thanks for this reflection, Susannah. The thing I’ve most missed has been the freedom to see family and friends. Some so near yet so far, and others interstate with no hope of seeing them while the borders are shut. What I have enjoyed is reading a lot more books (always a plus), and the technology that allows us to make video calls with family, and ‘Zoom’ into a lecture such as yours (always enjoyable), or with a library or book club, and even ‘go to church’ online. This last couple of years has helped us realise what is most precious to us.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Malvina. I think Covid has made us appreciate what really matters in our lives – family, seeing grandchildren, books. Let’s hope for greater normality next year. Merry Christmas.

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