Hey friends! It has been a long time since I last wrote to you, and I’ve missed writing and your comments! I will do better this year, I promise. With everything going on last year, I have not had the chance to process the year, which I usually do through writing. I hope you’ll indulge me by letting me reminisce a little.
What an interesting, fun, difficult, maddening year 2021 was. In addition to living through a pandemic amid all the maddening mask rules and lock-downs, I had a few health issues that I hope are behind me now. Fingers crossed. I completely rewrote my historical novel and sent it to my editor in December. (Just got the feedback from him last week and am still processing what I need to do.) I started a contemporary women’s fiction book while I waited. My husband and I took three big road trips to Georgia and Colorado, which is about one big road trip too many. Ha! But it was really great to get out and see the country instead of staring at the walls of my house.
Despite stupid covid, 2021 started off well. I was working diligently on my book and had big plans for the year (I’m sure I made God laugh.) I was going to finish my historical by summer, get in shape to run a road race of some sort, and outline a second book to write during NaNoWriMo. But by March I needed surgery to excise a Morton’s neuroma from my left foot. I had the surgery thinking I’d be back on my feet in a month or so, but I was wrong. And since my desk and computer is upstairs in my house, I didn’t write for a couple of months. I desperately need a laptop,
About a month after my surgery (I was still hobbling badly), we took a trip from Wisconsin to Colorado by way of South Dakota. I spent most of the trip with my foot propped on the dashboard with an ice pack under my knee! But my hubby wanted me to see the tourist attractions along the way.
South Dakota’s landscape rolls along with hills and hardly any trees, but even in early spring in a driving rain, then snow, then rain again, it didn’t disappoint. What did disappoint was Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota. It was like the Wisconsin Dells or Gatlinburg these days, way too touristy.
Mitchell Corn Palace, however, was a stunner both inside and out. It’s hard to capture the scale and beauty of the designs on this building, which are made entirely of corn and sorghum and other types of grasses, even on the onion-shaped domes. Each year they choose a new theme and new designs. This picture shows the previous year’s theme. The birds feed on the corn and other seeds (the domes are bare because of this), but the art still stunned with its ingenuity and gorgeousness. We were in for even more beautiful sights than this however when we arrived in Custer State Park where we saw buffalo roaming free and fed the “wild” donkeys in Custer State Park.
My head was on a swivel the entire time we were in South Dakota. Pronghorn antelope, deer, prairie dogs, buffalo. I think we counted eight different kinds of wildlife roaming free. But the most stunning sight was Mount Rushmore, which is a marvelous feat of engineering disguised as a national park. The museum and the history of why Mt. Rushmore was built would rekindle the fire of patriotism in even the most jaded American heart. I’d like to go back there in summer or fall to see it again because parts of the park were closed due to a foot of snow that fell the night before we went!
Eventually we arrived in Colorado and went directly to Estes Park to visit our son and attend a wedding. (Thanks for the invitation Aaron and Miriam!)That town is one of the most gorgeous but laid back places I’ve ever been! Elk walk around the streets there, (what?!) and the town is surrounded by the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. I can’t possibly describe it.
One sight I had to see was the Stanley Hotel, which was built in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley after he visited the area. Visitors, including me, were amazed at the luxury of the hotel in this small town, but by the 1970s it had fallen into disrepair. It was rescued from obscurity by a fortuitous visit from Stephen King. His visit there inspired him to write book The Shining. The movie scared the living daylights out of me.
We learned about the ghosts that supposedly haunt this hotel. There are creepy stories about spirits that stand behind people checking in at the front desk. Yes, I was creeped out while we were there because ghosts scare me. Wish I were kidding.
Whew! This post turned out to be much longer than I’d intended, but the dam burst on my memories, and they all came flooding back. Thanks for indulging me. Those of you who have been faithful readers, I appreciate you. This year I have lots to say and much news to share about my writing, books I’ve read, and things I’ve done that have influenced who I am and what I think. I hope you’ll stick around!