So, I’ve been trying to write this post for months. I was working on it in February when my computer crashed, and I haven’t made it back to my blog since. Whoops. 2021 has been eventful so far. (Because, why not?) We had two cats that required surgery at the first of the year. Duncan had a tumor removed. Katy had bladder stones that had to be evacuated. Here’s a shot from our kitty convalescence ward.
I’m happy to report that all the cats are doing well right now. We would not have gotten through the surgeries and all the expenes without assistance from our friends and families. In the spirit of lifting others up, I wanted to shine a light on some of my talented friends in the meat of this blog. When good karma comes to you, you should help spread it around. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the talented people I know.
First up, this author and artist is more than a friend, she’s my older sister. Jeanne G’Fellers is probably the first friend I ever had. I am in awe of her skill as an author. I love curling up with one of her books. She’s also the driving force behind Mountain Gap Books. This past year, she returned to her artistic roots and has been making amazing mixed media pieces. I look forward to her homemade cards and books at every birthday and holiday. You can now purchase her oiginal art, along with her books, on her new website! Check it out!
One of her pieces will be featured on a banner in Founder’s Park in Johnson City for a year! I can’t wait to go and see it and take her picture under it. It’s nice to have exciting moments to look forward to. My sister is also an advocate for the LGBTQ Plus comunity and the disabled creatives community. She is a super star, and I hope one day to be a tenth of the force in the universe she is.
The next creative pair I’m featuring I met in playwriting school at Hollins University. Their friendship helped me get through that program. Since then, we’ve driven to New Jersey for their wedding and will hopefully go on a cruise someday together. Ricky and Dana Young-Howze tackled 2020 with a ferocity that moves mountains. As theatre critics, they turned their talents to reviewing digital shows and shining a spotlight on theatres that tried and succeeded in keeping theatre going, in spite of the pandemic. You can read The Young-Howze Theater Journal here. In addition to being advocates for theatre, they are also advocates for social justice and equity.
In February, they hosted a digital theatre awards show on their YouTube channel. I didn’t see a lot of the shows they reviewed, but I watched the awards show, and it was one of the most uplifiting things I’ve ever seen in my life. It meant so much to the creative artists who have struggled so hard this past year to keep the creative flame alive and pay their bills. You can watch the awards show and Ricky and Dana’s other videos on their YouTube channel. As Dana and Ricky are first to point out, “2020 is the year theatre didn’t die.”
My last feature for this blog is Cassandra Snow. They’re an author, theatre owner, and Tarot professional. I met Cassandra in college at a Halloween dance. They were a rabbit. I was Anne Boleyn. We’ve been friends ever since. I have their frst book Queering the Tarot, and I look forward to getting a copy of their second book Queering Your Craft. I really know very little about Tarot reading, but I know they’re a mover and shaker in their field, and I could not be prouder of them. Check out their publications on their website . They also has a Patreon! Cassandra advocates for the LGTBQ Plus community, dsiabled creatives, and modern witchcraft.
I really know the most amazing people, and they inspire me every day. I’ll do another of these blogs to highlight another set. It can easily be a series!
As far as my own writing goes, I am finally getting back into working on my dragon book Flying Upon One Wing. Pandemic fatique is real, and I’ve been hit hard by it recently. My goal is to have that book edited, for like the umpteenth time, by the first of May. I’ll try to post more blogs about that process as it continues. Soon, I’ll have a fun announcement about another release! We had a Mountain Gap Books meeting outside last month, because pandemic, and it was revitalizing to plan out the year. Good things are coming, including vaccines! The entire compound is almost fully vacinated, and that is definitely something to celebrate.
Stay safe! Stay creative!
If you’d like to see me act out historic moments from Jonesborough’s past with my cats and other household objects, check out the “At Home Amateur Museum Theatre” series on the Chester Inn Museum’s YouTube channel.