I knew 2022 was going to be a quiet publishing year for me. It’s difficult to think too much about writing a novel or submitting short stories to anthologies and magazines when you’re trying to finish up a master’s degree. What I never truly believed is that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade as well. That has certainly redirected quite a bit of my energy into political issues. I guess being stripped of your rights, dignity, and privacy will do that to a person. So much for the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

Currently, I’m sitting on my couch, binge-watching disaster movies and recovering from my second bout of COVID-19. For July in Philadelphia, it’s a surprisingly decent day–and when I say “surprisingly decent,” I mean that the humidity isn’t high enough to make you want to hide out in the freezer. My dog, Myrtle, is snoozing on her bed. My husband is upstairs, trying to avoid my germs. So far he’s still testing negative, and I’m quite grateful for that. We have both suffered from long COVID (in very different ways) since our first go-round in November/December 2020, back in the pre-vaccination days. While my experience this time around has been incredibly different (30 hours of medium-level body aches/fever vs 2+ weeks of severe body aches/fever, plus double pneumonia and three days in the hospital), there’ve been studies about the effects of cumulative COVID infections that doesn’t exactly fill me with excitement. Let me just say that I appreciate everyone who is still wearing masks–and especially people who wear good quality N95 and KN95 masks that fit well. I never stopped wearing them, but when you’re stuck in a doctor’s waiting room for five freaking hours in a tiny waiting room full of unmasked jerks . . . well, a mask isn’t magic when you’re the only person wearing one. Thankfully, the vaccines/boosters work as intended.

Now that I’m feeling mostly better, this weekend I will be doing some writing–for the class I’m taking this semester. My uni doesn’t exactly have a horror curriculum, so when there aren’t creative writing classes to take, I’m hobbling together horror-adjacent classes wherever possible. Last summer I took a class on the history of witchcraft prosecution, and this summer I’m taking one on cults and new religious movements (both of which, oddly enough, feel very relevant to the precarious position women and anyone with a uterus find themselves in right now). And so for the cults class, I’m finishing up the first draft of my final project–a research paper on the Quiverfull movement (also related to forced childbirth, come to think of it). It’s not the writing I’m dying to be doing, but at least it’s writing–and it feels good to flex that muscle where I can.

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