Mad in Pursuit Notebook

Susan at her work

17th Annual Art-Life Review, 2020

Dec. 31, 2020.

When I began these annual art-life reports, I was much more productivity oriented, committed to turning the privilege of early retirement into a second "career," exploring all those things I didn't have time for as an 80-hour-a-week administrator. Now, I'm entertaining myself, trying to be that perfect companion to the woman I've become at 72, still in good health, still feeling energetic, still not social enough to do something useful like volunteer work.


The first quarter of 2020 focused on stitching, a continuation of 2019, a refresher course in sewing machine methods, graduating from simple projects to complex fabric carry-alls. Here, at year's end, I am back to simple projects.

With my mother's death in February, I returned from St. Louis with photographs, documents, family VHS tapes, and old home movies. My grieving ritual was all about "visiting" with my mother as I scanned, organized, and made a handful of videos in shareable format, partly to prove I could still navigate my way around Adobe Premiere.

As I integrated new material into my archives, I got pulled deeper into family history, one of the few areas where I still have an audience, captive though they may be. The spring surge of Covid-19 increased our isolation here at the Monastery of Artful Delights, but also deepened my interest in how my family endured the hardships of the late 19th and early 20th century. The more I looked into my mother's family, the more tiny but telling details I discovered. I decided to write a book. It would not be a simple timeline of facts--been there, done that--but a non-fiction novel.

Thirty-two weeks and 129,000 words later, the first draft of KITTY'S PEOPLE is done, my 4000-ish words a week read aloud over the phone every Friday afternoon to my friend and story lover Pat Drum. As the year ends, I'm half-way through a second draft. I can't wait till it is in good enough shape to share with my "beta" readers.



2019 Review | 2018 Review | 2017 Review | 2016 Review | 2015 Review | 2014 Review | 2013 Review | 2012 Review | 2011 Review | 2010 Review | 2009 Review | 2008 Review | 2007 Review | 2006 Review | 2005 Review | 2004 Review


HEADLONG: Over the Edge in Pakistan and China (2018) Traveler's tale of a 1992 adventure. A poorly planned roadtrip takes long-time lovers Susan and Jim to forbidden places and lost times. Kindle.

THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.

TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) Time after time, Mary asks herself: Do I go or do I stay? She finds her power in her ancestors: Smart women turn discontent into action. An illustrated memoir in paperback and Kindle editions.

PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.



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