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Ellen Birkett Morris

In some ways my life hasn’t changed. I still get up and come down to my home office hoping to conjure up scenarios that hold the truth of life, but with much better dialogue. I maintain that feeling I’ve always had, even in school, of somehow being outside the system, not really a part of it, watching from some hidden place. This is the writer’s lot in life. I retreat and create and when something is done I send it into the world.

Then Covid hit and everyone, except for healthcare and essential workers, stayed home, slowed down just as my book Lost Girls was making its way into the world. I had dreamed of this moment forever, signing books at the Kentucky Book Fair, having a book launch at my local indie and celebrating afterwards with a packed house of friends. Not happening.

There have been disappointments, a socially distant visit with my least festive friends on launch night, the bored looking woman who ran my Zoom launch event. Everyone is tired and stressed. As I often do when faced with unpleasant circumstances I decided to narrow my focus. I started to revel in the small moments. The friends who dropped off champagne and plants on launch day, the call from my favorite aunt to talk about the book. The friend who asked me to write a note she could slip into the books, so when she passed it to her granddaughter she would know we were friends.

Each Zoom reading, lecture, class and group meeting helps me feel more connected to readers who I hope will find something in the book. Each review online lets me know that readers are connecting with the book. Celebrations are great, but my mind is on that woman curled up on her couch reading that I wanted to reach when I wrote these stories. So I think about her as I go about trying to spread the word on the book. I think about her staring at the page as our scary world fades and I know that I am okay with things just as they are.

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