Peeking Around the Corner

March 16, 2021       

A brief recap of early 2020 as I peek around the corner in 2021.

In February 2020, my son and his girlfriend, who live and work in Bangkok, Thailand, called to inform us of a virus outbreak in China. When my son called with the concerning news, I was reading David Quamann’s Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic about zoonotic diseases (diseases spread from animal to human).

That phone call was all it took for me to pay full attention and remain hyper alert for news out of China. My immediate anxiety was fed by my fascination with books, films, and documentaries of the pandemics of the past, disease, and outbreaks of deadly viruses. A decade prior, I’d read Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone and Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs & Steel. I was obsessed with documentaries on the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918. Like many others, I was convinced we were about to experience the first pandemic since 1918.

As news began trickling out of China, I grew more anxious. When brave Chinese doctors leaked reports to the world of their fears and the inability to contain the deadly virus, I knew we, citizens of the world, would be affected–our lives would never be the same. When those same doctors, COVID-19 martyrs to me, were detained and soon died of the disease, fear gripped my heart. Tragically, the virus was proven to be as deadly as they’d predicted and feared.

As news reports of infections began to surface in Europe, the UK, then Washington State and New York City, everything I’d read in the book Spillover became real, immediate, and terrifying. I called family begging them to prepare. I ordered face masks, disposable gloves, and bottles of hand sanitizer and spray bottles of Clorox.

Interesting note and proud Mom moment: In 2020, the Thai company my son works for, Open Dreams, won the annual MIT Solve Competition with their incredible and timely app called PODD, Participatory Onehealth Disease Detection, that specifically traces zoonotic diseases in animals throughout Thailand. Amazing~!

So, with my passion for history, reading diaries and journals written during the Spanish Flu of 1918, and my love of writing mixed with a fascination of the great pandemics of our world, I did what came naturally–at the end of March 2020, I began to chronicle my daily life in lockdown.

The end of March also marked the last time I hugged and kissed my daughter, my sister, and my nephew. We’d gathered at my sister’s home on a warm Spring day to enjoy a wonderful al fresco lunch on her sunny deck. I took a group photo to commemorate the day, unsure of what lay ahead.

The year 2020 will be long remembered.

I was vaccinated with the first vaccine in early March. My second vaccine is scheduled for March 30. I have no fear of these life-saving vaccines. I feel hopeful, for the first time in a long time. I can’t wait to hug my kids and loved ones!

My one regret…and it’s a huge regret that revisits me as we peek around the corner in 2021– Trump didn’t do what he should have done in regard to rushing the roll out of COVID-19 vaccinations across the nation. The unnecessary, tragic deaths of over five hundred thousand Americans weigh on my heart and they should weigh heavy on his mind and heart.

Stay well. Wear your mask. Practice safe distancing. Get your vaccines.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing in 2019. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”. Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico. Her debut poetry collection, “Tight Knots. Loose Threads. Poems” is due for release in April 2021.

Eleanor is the mother of amazing adult children and currently lives in Berkeley County, West Virginia with her Chihuahua Sophie.

linktr.ee/EleanorParkerSapia

First Pandemic Lockdown Anniversary

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

March 16, 2021

I hope you and yours are well. I also hope you’ve received your first vaccine. Even better if you’ve had the second shot. If not, I hope you’re on a short list. That’s a lot of hope!

Two weeks ago, I received my first vaccine. I will admit to higher than normal blood pressure that morning and it rose as I stood in line in a gymnasium with hundreds of folks after a one year lockdown. But what a happy day. A few hours later, I had a sore arm and maybe two hours of a low-grade fever, mild chills, and a dull headache. No big deal! As a person with autoimmune disease, I thanked my body for doing what it does best–fighting disease. I imagined my immune system filled with tiny She warriors with spears at the ready! I joked with my kids that somewhere in my compromised, but beautiful immune system stood Gandalf The Grey on the bridge, shouting, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Yes, I have an active imagination and I’m a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, smile.

Like many folks, I’d been on several vaccine lists. While it took two months to be notified with an appointment date, West Virginia has had one of the most successful and efficient vaccine rollouts in the nation. Some friends were surprised at that news because West Virginia is a red state. I don’t know about all that–I am thrilled with the vaccine roll-out in my adopted state!

My appointment for the second vaccine is scheduled for March 30. I’m a bit nervous about the reaction(s) that may occur with the second shot, but like Dr. Fauci says, ‘It’s certainly better than getting COVID.’ Amen. Get your vaccines.

March 11, 2021 marked the first anniversary of our US coronavirus-related lockdowns. To say 2020 was horrible doesn’t quite do our experiences justice, does it? I don’t know if there is one appropriate, all-encompassing adjective to accurately describe 2020 as our experiences are so different.

In my January 25, 2021 blog post (I can’t believe it’s been that long since I blogged), I said I wouldn’t rehash all that happened in 2020. Months later, I realize it wasn’t a matter of ‘I wouldn’t’, it was more like I couldn’t rehash all that had happened. At that time, I hadn’t processed it all, not even a little bit.

It’s often impossible to process the past if we’re in the thick of what ails us…and we are still living in a pandemic.

Yesterday, as I began this blog post, 548,058 Americans had died from COVID-19 and worldwide the number of deaths was 2,674,597 million. This morning, 549,484 Americans died. The worldwide number is 2,685,458. The numbers are heartbreaking and difficult to grasp. What my brain (and heart) has difficulty processing is how quickly the numbers rise, within minutes, seconds.

Families and loved ones of poor souls around the world who succumbed to the novel coronavirus have experienced a year of unadulterated hell. 2020 was a year of immense grief, paralyzing fear, perpetual anxiety, and unspeakable suffering. Although the number of deaths continues to rise, the number of cases is slowing down in the US, in large part because of President Biden and the government’s successful vaccine roll-out, and the quick turn-around of vaccine production and distribution. Thank God, Trump is gone.

Earlier in the month, it was reported that a staggering one in five Americans had experienced a death in the family. The suffering and exhaustion experienced by doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and caregivers is unfathomable. I don’t know how they do it day after day after day. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Stranger or friend, I don’t know one person who hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. Most of us still worry about the safety of our children, our loved ones. Unless, of course, you are a loyal MAGA follower, who still believes COVID-19 is one big hoax. In that case, I feel sorry for you.

Doctors and nurses across the US share story after story of patients on their death beds, who at the ends of their lives, still don’t believe in the reality of the virus. I would imagine a medical professional must feel enormous frustration, disbelief, and yes, anger as they care for and intubate non-believers and anti-vaxxers on their death beds.

I cannot fathom this mentality, this selfishness, this madness.

Stay safe, friends. Continue to wear your masks. Continue to practice social distancing and get your vaccines as soon as possible. I need to hug my children and my loved ones.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing in 2019. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”. Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico. Her debut poetry collection, “Tight Knots. Loose Threads. Poems” is due for release in April 2021.

Eleanor is the mother of amazing adult children and currently lives in Berkeley County, West Virginia with her Chihuahua Sophie.

linktr.ee/EleanorParkerSapia

Celebration and Major Changes

January 20-25, 2021

Happy days. Celebration. Relief. Tears. Hard work. Change. Accountability. Healing. Unity.

For me, healing must happen in that order. For as long as it takes.

Congratulations to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Devi Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. The Inaugural events were spectacular, moving, and most welcome!

On his first day in office, President Biden signed 15 executive orders.

During his first week as President of the United States of America, Biden signed, barred, repealed, revoked, put a moratorium in place, ordered, asked, and consulted.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty hopeful and relieved to have an adult in the White House. Amen. And Dr. Fauci is back. Hallelujah.

What am I hoping for? I’m hopeful President Biden will be the President to finally abolish the Jones Act. YES. It’s damn time. Thank all your Puerto Rican voters, Joe!

I’m watching, Joe. Waiting. Right over here. Do the right thing, Joe, for Puerto Rico.

Stay safe. Mask up, everyone.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and an untitled collection of poems about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

January 19, 2021: Lots of Feels

Thirteen hours from now, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. will become the 46th U.S. President. Kamala Devi Harris will be our Vice President, the first female Vice President, the first black of South Asian descent as Vice President. Tomorrow will be a historic day in US history, in women’s history, and black American history. A momentous day, indeed.

Today I was filled with restrained joy. Cautious hope. Sorrow. I pray for a return to sleeping through the night and not grinding my teeth. Lord knows, I feel hopeful for tomorrow. I do. But this week, that hope was mixed with sorrow, fear, and there’s tension in my shoulders. Our hearts are broken. We feel strong emotions today. We are in mourning. We need time to mourn as our family members, loved ones, friends, and strangers suffer and die from Covid-19. We mourn for those who took their lives last year and this year.

Today, a visibly emotional Joe Biden spoke in Delaware before his journey to Washington, DC. With grief etched on his face, he spoke about his son. I cried. What a blessing and relief to have a decent, compassionate man in the White House. Tomorrow at noon. Thank God.

Early in the 2020 Presidential campaign season, I explained my feelings and emotions to a friend. I felt as if I were dating a textbook narcissist, an abuser. Americans were gaslighted, lied to repeatedly, and we had the rug pulled out from under our feet over and over again by trump and his cowardly administration. We’ve endured a horrific four years under his presidency.

Tonight, I recognize much of what I feel. It resembles the anxiety and fear I felt the night before I left our family home in Brussels, heading to the US with my college-bound children and toward a divorce after a long-time marriage. I could not fully relax until 20, 30 minutes after our plane took off. It was awful.

As surprising as it feels now, it would take a few years to stop looking over my shoulder and thinking in a more positive manner. I believe Joe Biden’s presidency will feel like that for most of us. For as long as white supremacists, far-right extremist groups, and Q-Anon believers live among us, we must remain vigilant. They’ve already shown us who they are.

We will mourn our dead and we will never forget. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in this country. The 400 lights along the Washington Reflecting Pool are beautiful. I hope they remain in place as a forever tribute to the over 400,000 COVID deaths in this country.

Tomorrow, we will celebrate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. I pray Joe Biden and his administration begin work immediately to find all the missing immigrant children and reunite them with their suffering parents and families. Innocent victims of trump and his callous, ruthless, and heartless administration.

Finally, we will celebrate trump’s final exit from the White House at the butt crack of dawn. I can’t wait for tomorrow. I can’t wait for his trial(s). May he never ever hold public office again. Nor his daughter. smh

Praying and thinking good thoughts for the swearing-in ceremony tomorrow. Prayers tonight for those who lost their lives to the novel coronavirus and their loved ones. Prayers for those who are suffering tonight. I send you a warm virtual hug.

Stay strong, be well.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and an untitled collection of poems about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

IMPEACHED. TWICE.

January 13, 2021

Photo by Tim Gouw on Pexels.com

Surprised? A week ago, the US Capitol was overwhelmed, stormed, and invaded by a mob. People were beaten. Five died. How is anyone surprised he was impeached? Yet today, millions of Americans are enraged, in disbelief–their leader was impeached again. Today was one for the history books–the 45th President of the United States was impeached a second time–the first time in American history.

As I see it, there’s not much the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans agree on. We disagree on national issues, the economy, on immigration, climate change, and government reach. During the past five years, we clearly haven’t seen eye to eye on zero-tolerance immigration issues, Black Lives Matter, anti-Semitism, white supremacy, racism, Covid-19 relief money, misogyny, separating immigrant children from their parents, caging immigrant infants and children, and then losing over 600 immigrant children in our current system. Don’t forget the children. I won’t ever forget.

We disagree on mask-wearing, social distancing, protecting our fellow Americans from a deadly virus, on vaccinations, and what constitutes a right/freedom. Folks still deny we’re living in a deadly global pandemic and still call COVID-19 a hoax. How do you deal with that mentality? Let me know when you figure it out.

Today, Trump loyalists are still screaming, “Stop the steal!”. Staunch Trump supporters and cowardly Republicans still believe Biden is the illegitimate winner of the 2020 Presidential election. Today, the House of Representatives voted to impeach this president. Ten Republican Senators voted for impeachment, a bipartisan impeachment. When was the last time that happened?

Tonight, many questions persist. New theories have come to light, and the FBI investigation continues into the US Capitol insurrection.

Why was there a glaring lack of police presence at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021? Where was the National Guard?

Why didn’t Trump walk to the US Capitol with his people as he said he would? Actually, that one’s easy to answer–he never intended to walk anywhere.

How in the world did the insurgents find Speaker Nancy Pilosi’s office so quickly? What about finding Majority Whip James Clyburn’s secret office?

Who removed the panic buttons from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s office prior to the Capitol riot?

Was the insurrection a planned event or spontaneous event? An inside job? By whom?

What should be done to the non-mask-wearing Republicans, who sheltered in place with Democrats, who are now Covid-19 positive? Can the GOP members be fined and removed from their jobs?

Will GOP members be allowed to carry their weapons into any government building? Can they choose to not go through metal detectors? Will they be fined? Removed from their jobs?

Will Trump be convicted in a Senate trial?

Should President-elect Joe Biden’s outdoor swearing-in ceremony proceed as planned? Are 20,000 National Guard members enough to keep everyone present at the inauguration safe?

Truth, justice, and accountability must happen before we begin talks of unity. Welcome to 2021. So many questions. So many investigations. So many warnings, and it’s only January 13.

In my state, 80+ year-olds received their vaccines, which is wonderful. Seventy-plus-year-olds will receive their first vaccine this weekend. My group is next.

On the writing front, I submitted my poetry collection to my publisher last week. I believe we decided on a great title, and I’m hoping for an April publication date–Poetry Month. I’m excited!

Be safe and continue to wear your mask.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and an untitled collection of poems about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

Capitol Hill Insurrection

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Photo by Jesus Con S Silbada on Pexels.com

Well, damn. The new year started with a BANG, literally. Shocking and sad, but not surprising. Tonight, I am still a bit shell-shocked and more than alarmed as dozens of news reports roll out with accompanying videos shot from different angles, inside and outside the US Capitol.

On Monday, I’d expressed concern to a friend about the MAGA crowds in DC. By Tuesday, the crowd seemed to grow in size and unruliness. I watched trump rile up his base, along with his son, Senators Cruz, McCarthy, and a junior Senator named Josh Hawley.

Today is Three King’s Day. As I replied to a Facebook message, a video popped up on my laptop screen. The Now Then video showed a large chanting mob at the US Capital, waving trump flags, Confederate flags, and placards with the words, “Stop the steal”.

I expected all that. It was nothing new, however, something felt different from previous trump rallies I’d watched. The intense rage of the crowd was palpable. Their faces were contorted in rage. I spotted camo jackets, gas masks, bull horns, American flags. Some protestors shoved reporters, yelled in their faces. Not a face mask to be seen in a sea of red MAGA hats. Then I saw a guy waving an American flag tied to a pitchfork. Something ugly and violent was about to go down. You could feel it. And go down it would, in a way I never thought I’d see in this country. Yet equally, not at all surprising.

Minutes later, a cameraman panned the crowd. Before I knew it, the mob surged forward. Folks clamored over the concrete barriers, ran up the steps of the Capital and fanned out in front of a small group of Capital Hill police. Holy shit. I immediately posted on Facebook. Why wasn’t the National Guard in full force? Where was the FBI? Homeland Security? This was no longer a crowd of protestors. It looked like a riot. How could the powers that be have missed that this protest could turn violent? Was the lack of police presence and push-back planned? By whom? I had my suspicions. I turned on the news.

The next videos were shot inside the Capitol. They were chilling. I felt nauseated. A bloody woman was rushed out on a stretcher. The president was silent. What the hell was going on?

An hour later or less, President-elect Joe Biden used the words domestic terrorists. Their crime? Insurrection. It is what it is.

The differences between the Black Lives Matters rallies and protests last summer and this mob are stark, black and white. The treatment of the mob and those who illegally entered the Capital and exited with souvenirs, smiles, and jeers was breathtaking, shocking. I joined millions of Americans who asked the question:

What would have happened if the mob had been black? Brown? I shudder to think what a blood bath that would have been.

In the next days, we’ll watch the GOP sidestep, lie, and present the case that trump did not, in fact, incite a riot, an insurrection. They will again gaslight the American public. But friends, myriad news videos, selfies, first-hand accounts, thousands of photographs will show the truth. And soon, patriotic friends and family members will point fingers and accuse the insurrectionists, who didn’t even bother to wear masks. Nice.

The majority of American people want trump out. The majority of Americans want his Republican henchmen and women out. We voted.

Most of us believe that deadly, bloody insurrection was inspired, incited, and led by the president of the United States. And it’s not over. Some say it’s only the beginning. Trump will be impeached. The first US president in history to be impeached twice will be Donald J. Trump.

Justice and accountability first. Unity second or third. Will this country ever see unity? That remains to be seen. I seriously doubt I will see real unity in my lifetime. I pray I’m wrong.

I pray Joe Biden and everyone at the Presidential Inauguration are safe on January 20th.

Stay safe and continue to wear your mask. Tragically, people are still dying in record numbers.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and an untitled collection of poems about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

Back in the Day

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

This week, in a normal year (remember those?), I would have donated and helped hand out canned goods and coats at the mission down the street. I would have picked up a fresh turkey, fresh cranberries, baking and sweet potatoes, spinach, corn, and the ingredients for baking bread, muffins, and pumpkin pies for Christmas dinner.

If it was my turn to host our family, the white linen tablecloth and napkins would be pressed, white candles bought, the good plates washed and the silver polished. I would have gathered greenery, berries, and picked grape leaves from the grapevines in the courtyard to decorate the grapevine wreaths on my front door and the kitchen door. I love Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, the appropriate-sized baking pans, bowls, pots, and cooking utensils would be washed and ready for morning. Cookbooks propped open to favorite family recipes, piled one on top of the other in order of preparation, would wait on the oak table in my kitchen. The aroma of simmering cinnamon sticks, cloves, cranberries, and orange peel would fill my home as I wait for my children to arrive. I’m happiest when surrounded by my children and family.

Around 8 in the morning, still in my pajamas with a good café con leche, food prepping would begin–cutting, chopping, dicing, boiling mashing, sautéing, and blanching—with Christmas music playing in the background. My children would join me later in the kitchen. We have wonderful memories of Christmases past.

Christmas 2020 will be different.

This Christmas season, I’m blessed to spend time with my daughter and her boyfriend and we will sorely miss my son and his girlfriend. We will miss family. The separations will remind us how different this holiday season is, but what is normal this year? Not much. Our lives will never be the same…and if I think on it, for some of us, that’s a very good thing. Change is good. And Lord knows, this nation needs drastic changes.

Despite the challenges, heartaches, and anxiety of 2020, we shall make new memories, have fun, take photographs to share with each other at a later time, and count ourselves truly blessed.

From my home to yours, I wish you a safe and healthy holiday season. Stay safe.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and a collection of poems, titled “Thoughts on Near-Fictional Relationships”. The poems are about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

Stay Home and Read FREE eBooks!

March 31, 2020

Good morning to you. I hope you are well.

To show love to our readers and offer art during this challenging time, my publisher, Winter Goose Publishing, is offering their entire eBook catalog on Kindle for FREE on Amazon from Tuesday 3//31 to Saturday 4/4.

You can download the Kindle app for almost every device!

Get all your WGP books, including mine, today.

** For some reason, Amazon didn’t carry over the 89 book reviews, so if you’re interested in reading them beforehand, please check out the paperback version on Amazon.

A Decent Woman Flat (1)

http://amzn.to/3bBoyIX

 

winter goose publishing logo

http://wintergoosepublishing.com/

Be safe, stay home, and happy reading!

Eleanor x

 

 

New Day, New Decade, New Books

Happy 2020!

Whether you chose a party with friends, a dinner with a loved one, or a quiet night at home with your thoughts and a beloved pet, I hope you enjoyed ringing in the new decade. However you chose to celebrate the last night of 2019, it was momentous. A new day has dawned. A new decade has begun and it’s exciting.

Last night, I heard someone describe the new decade as the roaring ’20s, which resonated with me. I feel a new blog post coming on, smile.

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“I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.”
– Anaïs Nin

This quote rings true for me. I stopped making New Year resolutions years ago. Oh sure, I’ve joined a gym, all gung-ho to lose the extra pounds and by February 1st, I was done. The new running shoes and yoga pants became part of my daily uniform. I swear to quit smoking several times a year, tried e-cigarettes with all good intentions last year, and that didn’t work (cold turkey is the only way to quit). I vow to throw out, give away my hundreds of books to friends and strangers, but find it difficult to part with books. A few years ago, my daughter kindly gifted me a Kindle and that worked well for maybe a year, but there is nothing like holding a book. Some day, I’ll go through all my books and again gift some to my local library. Some day.

Writing and perfecting my craft is my long-range plan each year. I write full-time, so this makes perfect sense to me. I approach writing (and life) with a strong feeling, no, an urgency, that life is short. Unfortunately, life taught me with my beloved mother’s passing in 1992 that life can be short for some of us. So since 1992, I’ve tried to live each day as if it’s my last day on earth. My father developed Alzheimer’s in his early 70s and that also serves as a reminder not to waste time. I’m not saying I live in fear, mind you. No, it’s the urgency that motivates me to write as many books and poems as I can and to paint while I’m here.

This Christmas, I received three books on writing by A.M. Weiland, a beautiful journal for 2020, and I bought three books on plot and structure, dialogue, and creating character arcs by James Scott Bell, a new author for me. Six more books for my writing arsenal!

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

I’m not a Virgo who enjoys a strict routine of doing the same thing day in and day out. I’m not speaking about my writing routine, though. I’m talking about having my nails done every Friday or having a standing hair or medical appointment each month. Inevitably, I always reschedule. When I’m at the writing desk, I lose total track of time and my sleep schedule isn’t “normal”. When I’m in the writing flow, I’m productive and it doesn’t matter if the sun is coming up and I fall asleep at noon or 1 pm. I live alone, so the only one possibly bothered by my vampire hours, as I can them, is Sophie, my Chihuahua. God bless her wee little heart, as my Irish friend would say. The only routine I’ve stuck to for decades is my morning routine (whenever I wake up): stretching in bed, praying, meditating, drinking a cup of hot water with lemon, and writing in my journal, which I love. I write and let it go into the Universe.

What I will do this year is to be kinder, more compassionate, and gentle with myself. I will welcome mystery and the unknown. I will stop apologizing for this or that. Instead, I will release and remain grateful for the lessons. I will raise my vibration and reincorporate yoga into my life, maybe Tai Chi, who knows? My body, mind, and soul need all that on this new day, in this new year, and in this new decade. I will continue to listen to the urgency within and take more chances and risks in life and love, and in writing and art. Time waits for no woman.

balance blur boulder close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, back to writing and editing poems. I crossed off several items on my bucket list in 2019 and traveled to Thailand and Florida with my children, which made me very happy. Now, I buckle down. I have books to finish and art to make.

May we speak truth to power in our words, deeds, and in our writing. May we always remember to honor and respect Gaia, the ancestral mother of all life. May we remember the forgotten, the marginalized, the lost and jailed children, the separated families at the border, and may we continue to fight against racism, the patriarchy, hatred, and world-wide violence against women and children.

I guess I do have a few 2020 resolutions. Welcome, 2020. Happy writing to you.

“What I love about now is that it is always a beginning.” – Byron Katie

Eleanor 

About Eleanor:

me in ma july 2019

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, A Decent Woman, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Her best-selling debut novel, set in turn of the century Ponce, Puerto Rico, garnered Second Place for Best Latino Focused Fiction Book, English at the 2017 International Latino Book Award with Latino Literacy Now. The book was awarded an Honorable Mention for Best Historical Fiction, English at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards with Latino Literacy Now, and was selected as a Book of the Month by Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses.

Eleanor currently lives in Berkeley County, West Virginia, where she is working on her second novel, The Laments, set in 1927 Old San Juan and Isla de Cabras, Puerto Rico. Look for The Laments in 2020.

BUY THE BOOK:

A Decent Woman Flat (1)

https://www.amazon.com/Decent-Woman-Eleanor-Parker-Sapia/dp/1941058876/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=a+decent+woman+by+eleanor+parker+sepia&qid=1576099888&sr=8-1-fkmr0

 

 

Looking Back and Looking Ahead to 2020

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Tonight, on the eve before the Full Moon in Gemini, I’m looking back at the trials, tribulations, and lessons learned during 2019. I will be happy to close the door on the past year. Of course, along with the challenges of gall bladder surgery, other medical issues, and remembering why it’s good to be single, my family was blessed with many wonderful events, as well. In June, we celebrated my niece’s wedding; my daughter finished her Master’s degree and became a licensed Mental Health Therapist; and my son created an app that is doing so well that he welcomed a third major airline to his portfolio. Proud Mom moments!

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Hands down, the BEST part of 2019 was the epic, two-week family vacation I enjoyed with my kids in Thailand, where my son and his girlfriend have made their home. Did I mention it was epic? We love everything about Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Dao, and Koh Lipe, and we especially love the Thai people, the fabulous food, the stunning temples, the gorgeous beaches, the smiling monks, and the exciting night markets. Now that my son and his lovely girlfriend are working in Bangkok, which is very exciting, we will certainly return to Thailand next year. There is nothing like travel to open your eyes and grow your heart, soul, and mind, and that’s exactly what I needed. Thank you, Matthew and Anna Marie, for the life-changing trip!

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During the second half of 2019, my home was paid off, which was a major surprise to me (and an amazing story). Thank you, Sandy. As you can imagine, it was an incredible relief for this full-time writer! I’d sacrificed, penny-pinched, and managed to hang onto this old house and now I have the option to sell if I choose to move to my forever home for my golden years. Smile. West Virginia was a soft place to land after my divorce and I love this old house, I really do, but it’s never felt like my forever home. I don’t enjoy being landlocked, so I’m on the hunt. Where am I looking? Puerto Rico, the south of France, Portugal, and Spain. I’ve started a new vision board and during writing breaks, I look at homes and I dream. I’ve lived half my life overseas, so this is not a stretch for me; it feels very possible. It will happen.

On the writing front, as always, I’m as content as content can be. My second historical novel, The Laments, is progressing nicely and I’m pleased with the story and love my characters. I’ve had a few challenges in getting the story just right because I’m a Virgo nitpicker, but I’m there. In my humble opinion, my writing and editing skills have vastly improved, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. My writing mentor, the writing wizard Jack Remick, has kindly agreed to look at my draft manuscript in the Spring. I’m ecstatic and honored to work with him. Thank you, Jack, you are a true mensch.

It’s hard to believe I began writing The Laments in 2016, but that’s exactly what happened with my first novel, A Decent Woman, I took my time. I’m most definitely a slow, methodical writer and I always finish strong despite life’s hiccups and detours. I’m also working on a collection of poems, which I hope to see published next year, as well. One thing I learned this year is to stay mum about story ideas until the draft manuscript is in the editor’s hands.

Now, back to the Full Moon in Gemini, the last moon of the decade. This auspicious full moon will be visible on December 12 (the 12th month) at 12:12 am EST and will form a rare, triple conjunction with Venus, Saturn, and Pluto. 12:12:12:12. From what I’ve read, this moon opens a portal, which sounds spooky and fascinating. Some say the Gemini moon can be a turning point in our lives and there’s still time to turn it all around for January 2020!

Notes to Self on December 11:

Shed old skin by acknowledging, dealing with, forgiving, making amends, and releasing behaviors and reactions that no longer serve me. Remove toxic people and situations from my life, get rid of limiting beliefs, self-sabotage, and unrealistic expectations, and recognize that irrational fears hold me back from fully living and appreciating life. Be present. Own it. Speak the truth, always, even if it hurts. Quit hiding behind ‘polite’ behavior–some people will take advantage of that.

I will enter 2020 lighter, shinier, more present, wiser, open to new love, creative, courageous, bold, and ready for many new adventures.

And for God/Goddess’ sake, let us take up a whole lot more room in 2020, in everything we say and do, and assist those who are struggling. Protect all children, the elderly, and empower women.

Asi sea. Ache.

Happy holidays to you and your family. I wish you the best in 2020 and happy writing.

Eleanor x

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ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, A Decent Woman, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Her best-selling debut novel, set in turn of the century Ponce, Puerto Rico, garnered Second Place for Best Latino Focused Fiction Book, English at the 2017 International Latino Book Award with Latino Literacy Now. The book was awarded an Honorable Mention for Best Historical Fiction, English at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards with Latino Literacy Now, and was selected as a Book of the Month by Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses.

BUY THE BOOK:

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https://www.amazon.com/Decent-Woman-Eleanor-Parker-Sapia/dp/1941058876/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=a+decent+woman+by+eleanor+parker+sepia&qid=1576099888&sr=8-1-fkmr0