Snow fell, very prettily, and it was a novelty for everyone. The park opposite my house filled with children, sledges and relieved-looking parents, the trees dipped under the weight of a heavy fall (for our area of the country) and cars became stuck on the gentle hill outside our house. The snowfall has stayed with us for the last few days, and I have enjoyed seeing the town under a white coating. I had my COVID vaccination before the bad weather came, and that felt like a huge relief. My husband has had one too, as he is working as a carer for the elderly during the pandemic. Seeing the vaccine programme unfolding across the country does give a cautious cause for hope.
I have not had to travel anywhere other than between rooms in my house, as all my work takes place at my desk overlooking the park. I am working every day, and it’s good to have that routine. Excitement came last week with the arrival of my printed Zines. I was very nervous when I was opening the box – what if it hadn’t turned out as I had hoped? As all of the copies were reserved in advance, it felt a little risky. I always tend to jump in first without thinking everything through! However, I was really pleased with the outcome. The paper is thick and the colours remained strong and true. If I have one reservation, it is that the typeface was too large, but perhaps better too big than too small! I spent five days in a flurry of envelope stuffing, address writing and making trips to the post office to buy stamps. All the Zines are now posted off to their new homes, and I only have one left for me. A larger print run is in order if I do another one, and it looks as if I will. Perhaps late spring would be a good time.
By far the best thing about this project was the messages and conversations that I had with people who were interested in it. You have sent me some lovely emails and direct messages on Instagram. I ended up sending the Zine to Australia and the USA, and so many people wanted to know more. The most commonly asked question was ‘what is a Zine?’ and I answered that one in my first blog about the project. To recap: it’s just a home made publication, put together on the kitchen table. Zines are not glossy like mainstream magazines, and the design can be a little bit primitive (mine certainly is!). There are rarely any advertisements. And the best thing for me – no boss to boss me around! I could put in it exactly what I liked. Certainly not the case when I was an editor for a large publishing house.
I was keen to test the waters with my novel, that was part of the reason for producing the Zine, and I included an extract which seems to have gone down well. That was encouraging because I wrote it with my followers in mind. I am waiting to hear back from a publisher who has expressed a vague interest in the book. They responded that they were enjoying reading the manuscript, but that it had to be seen by a team of editors before any decision could be made. That was two weeks ago, so we shall see. I know how competitive it is and I heard that 750,000 books were written during lockdown, so I am not holding my breath.
In the meantime, I’ve been cooking, although in a slightly different way as I am following a gluten free diet for a few weeks for health reasons. Gluten free crumpets are the absolute best. I am buying lots of flowers, keeping it colourful inside. And uplifting seasonal food is on the menu, like this amazing pink rhubarb from our local market.
Daily walks are still a fixture, and Zoom exercise classes (I am doing five this week!).
I am thinking with longing about visiting cafes like this one in the spring.
I hope you are finding a path through this very, very long winter.