Artists Collaborating, Uncategorized

An Ending and a Beginning

Photo by Kim Aubrey

Last May when Felicity Sidnell Reid asked me to help run a blog for Spirit of the Hills writers to share their work and experiences during the pandemic, I hesitated. We’d been in lockdown for over a month and a half, and I’d developed an effective routine of online exercise classes, daily walks, meditation, working on a novel, and keeping a journal. I worried that taking on a new project might throw my routine off balance, but a blog sounded intriguing. I said yes, and am glad I did.

I enjoyed hearing from writers I hadn’t seen in months, reading about their experiences with isolation and the changes wrought by the pandemic, finding images to illustrate their posts, sharing their work with online readers. Some writers were pessimistic. Others were hopeful. During the past nine months, the world has been through some very troubling events and also some promising ones. In Ontario we’ve been in and out of lockdown, people have struggled with personal difficulties, as well as political and societal issues, but some of us have found the focus, energy and inspiration to write during this difficult, disruptive time.

Looking back, I can see that Felicity’s idea for a blog showed great foresight. She knew we’d need a way to stay connected and somewhere to share our writing. Our monthly meetings went online, but Zoom doesn’t work for everyone, and leaves some of us feeling a bit empty, longing for a more expansive dialogue. The blog provided space for a conversation, not exactly like the ones we used to have at our in-person meetings at the Grafton Inn, but not so different either.

It’s been almost nine months since we started the Journal, months that have spanned spring, summer, fall, and part of a winter. Felicity and I are grateful to all of you who sent us your work to share and to all of the readers who visited or frequented the blog and sometimes left comments. Most of us have found silver linings in this pandemic. The Journal in Time of Pandemic and Lockdown has been one of the shiniest.

We are currently in the process of compiling an e-book from poems, prose, art work, and photographs that have appeared on the blog, a book that will provide a record of our writing and our experiences during this unusual time.

Now the Festival of the Arts committee needs this site to begin promoting our 2022 Arts Festival. So with much gratitude, fond thoughts, and virtual hugs to all our contributors and readers, we are wrapping up the Journal today.

Kim Aubrey

Photo by Anthony Delanoix from Unsplash

9 thoughts on “An Ending and a Beginning”

  1. Thank you — Kim Aubrey and Felicity Sidnell Reid — for your stroke of genius and skillful work in pulling the website off. It was always a pleasure to open my mail and find a new bit of creativity to read and enjoy. Now, hopefully, the blog’s end will also see the end of the pandemic (a bit of magical thinking creeping in with a smile).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Kim! And many thanks too to all who contributed to the blog over these long months when our lives have been dominated by the pandemic. Now we are working, with Blue Denim Press, on the e-book which is turning out to be an exciting project which we hope will be released in mid April. Keep in touch with this Festival site as more exciting content is being devised for the coming months as we also work on N-FOTA (Northumberland Festival of the Arts 2022). I’m looking forward to reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, Kim: that Felicity just keeps coming up with great ideas for the arts in Northumberland. Congrats to you and her, Kim.
    To you both and all the contributors: Thank you! What a wonderful thing we all achieved together! Every article was a surprise and a treat, and I loved the variety of prose and poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Many thanks Marie-Lynn. We have enjoyed curating the blog, reading all the pieces people have sent us and finding illustrations for some of them. We are looking forward to putting together the e-book.


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