2018 was a tough year in many respects, mostly health-wise, but 2019 is looking brighter in some. Christmas visits from Australia by The Possum and her husband, as well as by the then boy across the road who escorted me to my first ball and still plays with trains with his partner attending to the garden of their country home. Dr Gugu did all the cooking and left me to wallow in family and childhood friendships. Gotta love a man who can cook and loves to do so.
Another high note of this year was a wonderful long weekend spent in the company of a group of interesting older women in a castle in Cornwall – Pentillie Castle, the most wonderful site. Vanessa Gebbie led a super writing workshop there and I met up with my writing friend, Pat Jourdan, and even managed to get a bit of a crime story together.
Meanwhile in Vienna, the protests that started there on 4 October 2018 have continued every Thursday and are still going on and now happening in other cities in Austria.
Here I recall the words of Michael Köhlmeier pronounced on 4 May 2018: “Great evil is not – and never has been — the product of a single step. It is the product of many small steps, each of which seems too minor to merit our collective outrage. First there is talk, then action.”
Sadly, every day one of those small steps is now being taken. Even more sadly, the majority of Austrians don´t seem to care. The government now controls most of the press and not a day passes without some mention of asylum seekers and migration, just to keep fearmongering at a sustainable level. The government also wants control of the statistical offices so as to decide on which statistics are to be made available and how that is to be done. Oh, on the outside, Vienna is beautiful, the most liveable city, the safest in the world. But the government …
Tourists will not see any dissent unless of course they happen by on a Thursday evening. The protests are peaceful and lively, because Vienna is liveable and safe. But underneath, there is ugliness and turmoil apparent in the recent meltdown of the ultra-rightwing social minister, whose voice you can hear shrieking in this wonderful spoof.
It´s hard writing in such a climate but my health is slowly mending, and I did manage to have a piece of flash fiction win a weekly competition and be nominated for inclusion in the Best Small Fictions anthology, and that was a real boost. I was also happy to see that my novella in flash has been long-listed in the 2019 Bath Novella in Flash contest. I had another long-listed last year, so maybe this one will fare better. Fingers crossed. My opus is still out being considered and I´m playing with the idea of self-publishing it.
But in the meantime, I am also trying my hand at a cozy humorous crime story novella set in an Austrian medical spa of a not too distant dystopia. Political climate oblige.
Yes, all this has been going through my head while attending to revamping the body in a rehab centre in Upper Austria which immediately followed on from the castle sojourn. Now that I´m back in Vienna, with a new lease of life, nothing can hold me back.
So again until next, onwards!