Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers


Writing during the pandemic

at-home-4980360_1920I don’t know how it is for other writers during this pandemic, but recently it occurred to me that I hadn’t had a vacation yet this year. My husband and I usually take off for a month each summer, usually starting in early June. During that time, the only writing I do is keeping a daily journal that includes travel-related material. However, this year, instead of having time off, I was following my usual daily writing schedule (except for weekends). No wonder I was feeling drained. I needed time away from my many writing projects so I could refuel.

With a new book coming out in the fall of 2021, Tillie’s Thirst for Thrills: A Coming of Age Novel, I’ve been revising my umpteenth draft. I’m also creating another book-length work that doesn’t have a final title yet, but the working title is What’s New About Old Age? In it I discuss my late-life Jungian analysis and how unloading dreams has offered a new level to the aging process that I’ve found enriching. The search for self-knowledge doesn’t end at a certain age. It’s a continuing process that has no limits.

Yes, there’s more! In my youth, I worked at two different Marin County churches. This experience has led to a third collection I’ve been working on, The Sinners’ Club, a series of interlocking stories, each one focusing on a different church member of a mythical Petaluma church. There even is an opening section entitled “Serpent Rap,” written from a snake’s perspective! Since these pieces can stand alone, I’ve been sending some of them out for publication.

Of course, poetry is my biggest love, and I squeeze poems into my writing routine whenever I feel the urge to write them. Though I swore I wouldn’t write about Covid 19, I’ve ended up with four pandemic poems that I call my Covid Suite. I’m sure I’ll end up with more before this crisis is over! I’ll include one of them here:

Bursting Free

It’s odd in this time

of Covid 19

and George Floyd

protests to watch

our many Lilies

of the Nile

trying to burst

from protective


Some are just

starting to break

free, though

the pod still

dominates, pointing

like a finger

skyward. Others

have blossomed, blue

petals breaking

loose, hungry

for light. On

this day

of Floyd’s burial

it’s not odd to see

life, death, and



The shadows

our trees make

on the house

are in constant

motion from

a breeze passing

through, a shadow

play, but we’re

the puppets

our lives contingent

on what nature

and culture

throws our way.

I also create short fiction, and while I’ve completed a book-length collection that I need to peddle to publishers, I continue to write new stories when something triggers my imagination. I have a file of incomplete short stories that I let rest and return to periodically to see what calls to me for completion.

Early in July, I took a two-week writing vacation, including a break from posting my Monday blogs. I plan to take another two weeks in August. Meanwhile, I follow wherever my imagination leads me. Often, where I end up is as good as taking an actual trip somewhere. And that, after all, is one major reason I write!



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