Posted by: Sandy Graham | December 24, 2020

A Year in Hermitage

Hermitage: A place of religious seclusion

Guess that’s not quite the word I looked for, unless the “religious” is removed. Perhaps “A Year of Hermitry” would be better. Spellcheck, my arch enemy says no, nor “hermitary existence”, but it will allow “herniary existence”. Sorry, Spellcheck, I speak not of hernias here. Let’s settle for a year of secular hermitage. Well, ten months at least.

Permit me one small rant before I leave the damn pandemic subject. For those who still say 300,000 Americans did not die from a virus that doesn’t exist, let me claim once more that the world is not flat, and they did not tumble over the edge. What they did do is die unnecessarily. To see why, compare our leadership with that of New Zealand. They have reduced new infections to zero and have suffered a grand total of 26 Covid related deaths. Before the cry of it’s easy on a small island (or two) is raised, their death rate is 5 per million people, America’s is over 770 per million and still climbing! Here endeth the rant.

I feel for people who need social interaction and even more for families with young children. Conversely, I feel lucky to be a closet hermit, content to dwell in my own little world, often with no more than a computer for company. Makes me a poor companion for my wife much of the time but she compensates with careful excursions into the virus infected world. If only everyone exhibited her social responsibility, the world would be normal again by now. Oops, a little more rant slipped out.

In ways it’s been a productive year. A new second orchard now exists. We look forward to a second year of apple production and hopefully the emergence of pears and plums. Our experiment with almonds appears iffy but walnut and hazel nuts are growing well.

On the computer front, it’s been a fruitful year as well. At least in my programming endeavors. Novels are a different story and I almost regret entering the world of political novels. Back in 2015 I published “Ickee Mushta” which essentially foretold what happened in 2016. Unfortunately, events overwhelmed the story rendering it obsolete. In an effort to remain flexible, I tried the Dickens approach of writing a serial novel a few chapters at a time. Some of you followed them, but its popularity paled into insignificance next to Charles’ efforts.

Then, in 2019 I decided to pull Ickee off the market, rob much of its plot and carry the story forward under the title “Eclipse of Our Soul”. Publication resulted in an ominous thud, which appeared to be caused by the number of pages to be read before the real action began. That led to a second edition with sixteen early chapters removed. Not long after publication, I pulled it too off the market, partly because it was too late to influence votes in November and because of the increased risk it placed on my family due to the escalation of “crazies”. Lastly, I recast the book as narrated by the ghost of Anne Frank to emphasize the parallels between today’s GOP and the Weimar Republic. Now I’m more aware of the pitfalls of this approach and am discarding it also. See what I mean about a political novel? Still, there’s one more attempt left in me.

In what little time was left this year, I helped a friend convert the rough draft of a secret book into a more finished product, almost a ghost-writing exercise. In summary, it’s turned out to be a busy year in hermitage. However, I fervently hope this next year is infinitely better for you and indeed for all of us.


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