Hello dear reader!
Inspired by Leonie Dawson who was inspired by Austin Kleon, I thought I’d have a crack at one of these ‘100’ lists!
Except I’m only going for 50. #slowcoach
Bear in mind we were in various states of lockdown for most of 2021, confined for the most part to a small (albeit very pretty) bubble, ie our house and our dear little town.
No matter. Here goes!
- Made the switch to a ketogenic lifestyle. This is number one because it has revolutionised my life. Decades of wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels (that seriously messed with my energy levels) have come to an end. I cannot believe the new stamina! It’s the best gift I’ve ever received. Thank you, Deb Murtagh!
2. Learned to make ketogenic cakes and cookies. Who would have thought? Delicious!
3. Shared my studio with Himself (who was mostly working from home). Consequently, did a lot of writing on the back verandah and at the dining room table.
4. Became obsessed with slow fashion, capsule wardrobe dressing and sustainability. Girl crush, Sofia Coppola. Gawd, I LOVE her no-nonsense style!
5. Celebrated my 60th birthday! It fell during a brief lockdown respite. We went to Melbourne, met up with the rest of our family and together we went to see our youngest son’s band play at the Builder’s Arms in Fitzroy. It was magical. I even got a shout-out from the band. #proudmammamoment 😉
6. Was part of a six-month mastermind with a group of gorgeous Irish and UK business women.
7. Interviewed a string of creative, intelligent, inspiring souls for the Duck Pond and for my Youtube channel.
8. Facilitated twelve masterclasses from a host of FABULOUS kidlit pros, in my membership site the Duck Pond. #kidlit = children’s literature
9. Presented an end-of-year, ‘Christmas special’ masterclass in the Duck Pond, Archetypal Characters in Fiction.
10. Grew spinach, silver beet, mint, parsley, tangelos, accidental mulberries, and the wonkiest onions you’ve ever seen. Continued to work on my (extremely dodgy) veggie growing skills.
11. Rain, hail or shine, we relished our regular trips to local farmers’ markets.
12. Planted a lavender hedge to define an eating area in the back garden.
13. Studied online and graduated from the Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy. I am now officially qualified to boss people around… 😉
14. Bought a tent. But lockdown coupled with a long, freezing winter slowed down our camping plans. Slept in said tent in the backyard, instead. Planning a trip to the seaside over Christmas. (The tent has LED strip lighting. Pretty wild, hey?)
15. Continued to volunteer at the local library. Love seeing what people are reading—and sticking my nose into their reading habits.
16. Maintained my tradition of monthly facials. (Every month except a couple when it were illegal to hang out with beauticians, hairdressers, fairy godmothers and the like…)
17. Had my hair cut for the first time in THREE years. (I mostly cut it myself these days.)
18. Got double vaxed at the local chemist. Too easy!
19. Created my Character Creation Intensive. I’m going to create more of these intensives. The feedback was awesome and I think intensives are a godsend in these time-poor days.
20. Had my heart broken when my best friend from high school died suddenly. Can’t speak more of it, but it feels wrong not to mention it— it was such a significant event and one I’m still coming to terms with. The (dubious) silver lining, lockdown was eased at that time and I was able to attend the funeral. Vale, my darling friend. We laughed so much together!
21. Wrote cozy, fortnightly (more-or-less!) museletters to my mailing list. I love writing to YOU!
22. Obsessed over interior design. Repainted the lounge room (still not finished. Eep!) Fell in love with Rita Konig and Matilda Goad. More crushes…
23. Ran my beloved Junior Fiction e-course again. Will do so again in 2022.
24. Ran my beloved Picture Book e-course again. Will do so again in 2022.
25. Celebrated Fairytale Month in the Duck Pond, accompanied by the amazing Kate Forsyth, Jen Campbell and Danielle Binks.
26. Wrote three Junior Fiction fairy stories. Sadly, they were rejected. They are definitely a little off-brand and terribly, awfully, horridly Blytonesque. However, I think I’ll return to them (I love the characters), write four more and see how I feel about the project then. (My idea was for a set of seven and, well, I’m a completionist. Plus, these things can and often do morph. I’m always reluctant to give up entirely on a project. My novel, The Accidental Princess, began in exactly the same way—as a series of odd little disparate stories.
27. Speaking of which, the eighth and final Truly Tan book was published by HarperCollins, in February. Gosh, that feels like YEARS ago! Original Truly Tan readers are now growing up. Some have written to me lately (as teenagers) thanking me for the positive impact the Tan books had on their lives. It makes me cry. For kidlit creators, hearing from our readers never gets old.
28. Hosted monthly live coaching calls in the Scribbles Academy. After five years, the academy is now closed. However, I’ll be hosting similar (monthly) sessions in the Duck Pond in 2022, aka Duck Pond Office Hours. Yippee!
29. Speaking of which—again. I LOVED the monthly live coaching calls with Leonie Dawson, this year. A true highlight that helped me stay upbeat and productive whenever I was flagging. So much snort-laughing. So much shared knowledge and camaraderie.
30. Rewatched Stranger Things. Again. I LOVE this series so much, it makes me want to write and write and write…
31. Wrote the first 30K words of a new, middle grade novel. I guess you could call it supernatural/ action/comedy. I’ve really pushed myself creatively with this project and I can’t wait to get back to it in the new year.
32. Took a massive deep-dive into Film Courage. Love supporting them on Patreon. They do incredible work. Favourite interview? The one with Larry Wilson (writer of Beetlejuice), of course!
33. Embarked on a 100 Day Meditation challenge. Got to day 86 and lost my mojo. I can’t explain why. For some reason, I just got fed up. Still, that’s 86 days that I actually did meditate. Ommm.
34. Bought a debobbler!!! OMG, I LOVE my debobbler! I am not a gadget person so this was a radical move for me. But the DB has saved my wardrobe. Armed with my trusty debobbler, I have revived tired jumpers, lacklustre jackets, even my tatty, woollen gloves got a new lease of life. I would happily debobble the heads of guests (if we were allowed any). That’s how much I love my debobbler.
35. Yikes! I did very little art this year. I don’t know how that happened but looking back l see a gaping hole. Reviews like this can be very revealing! Next year I vow to
MAKE MORE ART!
36. Attended a book launch and picture book discussion with Jane Godwin and Anna Walker, in Castlemaine. They were here in regional Victoria, launching their beautiful picture book, Don’t Forget. Incidentally, both these gorgeous women presented Duck Pond masterclasses later in the year. Much loved!!
37. During a lucky break in C19 restrictions, I squeezed in a SECOND (and freezing) Melbourne trip to attend the launch of Emma Bowd’s gorgeous PB, Wonderful Shoes. I felt so lucky to be there and to share the excitement. I was thrilled for Emma and for her fabulous illustrator, Tania McCartney. I also interviewed Emma here. Her journey to publication has been wild, woolly and at times hilarious. Want to speak with a Bloomsbury editor? Just ring em up!
38. Favourite nonfiction this year. Both by Cal Newport! Both worth rereading and rereading and taking notes from and talking about and …
- I rarely ‘review’ children’s books on any of my platforms. Conflict of interests! Hey, most of my friends are kidlit authors and illustrators. You think I want to choose??? But special shout-out this year to this extraordinary picture book, it’s so gentle and profound and deserves to be a classic. Once There was a Boy, written and illustrated by Dub Leffler.
39. My conversion to the Dark Side is complete. I am now officially a Cat Lover. Our starving little Covid kitten, (rescued from the Geelong pound in 2020), completely stole my heart this year as he grew into a big, healthy lad. And quietly shredded the couch. Cats truly are fascinating creatures.
40. Binged on Netflix, especially ‘foreign’ films and series eg: The Gift; Call My Agent; We Are Family;
Extra points and hearts to Feel Good, and to The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. I want to live inside that show! Can I play the mother, please????
41. Created the Duck Pond Hall of Fame! So proud of this page! It’s where we celebrate and promote the published work of all our Duck Pond members. And I can tell you now, our Hall of Fame is growing! Looking forward to adding our New Year publications in 2022.
42. Made a couple of ‘lifestyle’ videos just because. Discovered that making these montage-style videos is a fun and fabulous creative outlet. But it’s BLOODY hard work and extremely time consuming. #shouldbewriting
43. Started a girl&duck podcast. Despite the lovely feedback, I’m struggling to keep it going. There’s something remote about a podcast. Impersonal. It rarely calls to me. I’d much rather write museletters. Blog. Or make videos. But we’ll see… #alwayslearning #alwaysexperimenting
44. Hung out with the divine (and deliciously cosmic) Elle Steele and her online group, The Forest. So much love, care and magic was shared among those beautiful humans.
45. Went to the Mary Quant exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery. And forgot to say ‘cheese’.
46. Decluttered our recipe books. Then colour coded the rest.
47. Went for countless walks in the country.
48. Knitted four scarves (not all for me!)
49. Planted more roses, daisies, catnip, crabapple, a quince tree, wisteria etc etc… I also raised two oak trees in pots (from acorns). Will plant them after summer.
50. Got to know myself better—and to embrace, love and honour my inner Superwoman/Queen/Crone/Jeneral/Whatever! I’m just grateful to still be learning, loving, creating and growing.
Thank you for travelling with me again this year, dear reader. You mean THE WORLD to me!
And, if you’re new, I cannot wait to share, dream, play and create with you in 2022!
Sending all the hope, goodwill and twinkling blessings of this sacred season.
Much love always
PS My commitment to a steadier art practice starts today! With a book my kids gave me last Christmas and a sweet little online course with Kate Sutton! Course from Domestika.
PPS If you’d like to hear from me more often next year, you’re welcome to join my mailing list! CLICK HERE.
Ciao, beautiful! xx
11 Replies to “50 Little Things. Aka, At Home with Jen in 2021”
Wonderful post Jen Storer. I relate to so much of this especially 41 and 50. Am off to seek out a debobbler – not a gadget person either but this one I need in my life. Merry Christmas. xx
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Considering we were locked in for most of the year, you did heaps! You kept my head above water this year, Jen, for which I am eternally grateful. Thanks for the tip about the art course at the end. I love finding new arty courses/teachers to keep me drawing. Blessings to you and yours Jen. 💕
Such a gorgeous read Jen. Thank you for being you. I’m inspired to write my own list now – a positive way to wind up 2021. xx
Oh yes do it, Pat, it’s very rewarding!
Wow, what a year you’ve had! And I’m glad you’ve discovered the debobbler. My debobbler and I are inseparable. I even travel with it – London, Biarritz, NZ, Maldon… Here’s to 2022 in the Duck Pond with you!
Jen, you have one of the best newsletters (oops museletters) on the planet. I never enjoyed a cuppa more while reading this one. So so inspiring. I’m gonna get out there and do so much more in 2022… Although don’t think I’ll do quite as much as you…. HOW DO YOU DO IT?
Excuse me now while I go watch “Stranger Things”… Second time around. Yes, I love that show too! This afternoon I’ll get out in the garden. You’re amazing. But don’t stop the podcast … it is wonderful too!
Go you, Jen. Love what you do!
Thank you so much, Anna!! You know, today while driving I listened to a podcast and I enjoyed it so much I thought, dang it, I need to keep podding. It’s such a wonderful thing to do and to enjoy. Will get on it. Seasons blessings, lovely. xo
Five Star ⭐ voted by me Best Blog Post of 2021 (no prize money because I just made it up) and here’s to happy holidays and more successes for The Duck Pond in the New Year!
LOL! Do I get a sash, Gretch? Please say yes! xo
Oh yes, it is intended to be purple with a gold fringe and the wording Winner but old Mrs Mardonis is a slow knitter and needs new spectacles so…um…