Rays of Literary Sunshine and Other News for January at the Porcupine’s Quill

Normally at the cusp of a new year, it’s a no-brainer to rhapsodize over the past year and all of its various accomplishments. The fun launch parties and event photos and such are trotted out like a pat on the back and a fond remembrance of times past.

This year, it feels like an accomplishment to have simply survived.

Indeed, we’re faced with an unrelenting pandemic of negativity (alongside, you know, an actual pandemic), in which one has only to gesture vaguely to encompass … the world … as justification for the immediate and inevitable classification of 2020 as a dumpster fire.

Sun on the horizon
Is this sun rising or is it setting? It’s a glass half full kind of thing, so let’s look on the bright side! (Get it? Nudge nudge.)

But not so, your porcupette!

Now, I’m not exactly a ray of sunshine, even in the best of times, but that said, there were a few glimmers of brightness in 2020. Did we manage to produce each and every book scheduled for publication this year? Well, no, but we did come out with some very fine books of which we are, I think, justifiably proud. Some books, like Casting into Mystery and The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt, sadly sustained a whole slate of cancelled promotional events just as the first lockdown hit, but efforts to sell copies live on, with some degree of success. Fair, The Blue Moth of Morning, and Seeking Shade all came out in the strange summer lull, in which we were all scrambling to discover what exactly technology could do for us in our new era of social distancing. The Essential Derk Wynand and Affect emerged during the massive fall season that saw an unprecedented number of books vie for attention, but still found homes in the hands of avid readers and indie book lovers.

Personally, I’ve experienced a renewed appreciation for my work, not simply because I was already used to the work-from-home reality that was suddenly thrust upon so many (who had to quickly scramble to set up a home office and learn to self-motivate amid many distractions), but also because I still had a job when a large proportion of workers suddenly found themselves laid off or furloughed or let go entirely. Whenever I feel the smallest of inkling to complain about the state of the world, I remember how privileged I really am.

And I also like to think that 2020 gave me the chance to grow as a reader, too. Thanks to the importance of staying home, I read more books in 2020 than in any other year of my life. I was able to broaden my horizons, trying new genres and authors that I would never have tried before. I’ve rediscovered my love of the local library, which operated tirelessly during the pandemic, and even came up with innovative programs to serve the community, such as setting up a system for calling and chatting with isolated patrons. And I’ve definitely learned to appreciate even more the pleasure of browsing bookstores, because even though I’m not currently able to browse the shelves, you can bet I’m looking forward to doing so when it’s safe again. (You can bet your boots I have a list of books to buy, too.)

Though I’m not one for resolutions, this year, I want to make a concerted effort to look on the bright side, to thank my lucky stars, to see the glass as half full, to look for that silver lining. For my own sanity, I need to embrace all those clichés about optimism and really look for that light at the end of the tunnel … even if it is an oncoming train!

Victorian train
Actually, this oncoming train looks quite dashing. I might be okay with a train like this.

What’s happening this month…


Metamorphosis: Selected Children's Literature by P. K. Page

The name of the game this month is “catch up”! We’ll all be putting in lots of effort to put out some of the publications that have been delayed over the last year. That will include binding Metamorphosis, a charming collection of the children’s literature of P. K. Page, including a selection of poetry, plays, short stories, and even drawings by little P. K. when she was a child. It will be a lovely volume perfect for any fan of her work, or for the young—or young at heart! First copies are just rolling out of the bindery, so be sure to snag your copy ASAP. And be sure to check out other volumes in the Collected Works of P. K. Page series.

In the world.

Did you know that January 4 is Trivia Day? Pester Regale your friends with fun factoids all day to increase their edification. I’m sure they’ll thank you.

January 10th is Peculiar People Day. But if you are, yourself, a peculiar person, does that make every day Peculiar People Day? Asking for a friend.

And finally, January 18 is Thesaurus Day. Confession: I once got an Oxford thesaurus for my birthday. Acknowledgement: I loved it. Disclosure: I might have shed a few joyful tears.

From the Porcupette’s corner…

small man with huge pen atop large notebook
I feel a great kinship with this little man whose to-do list is bigger than he is.

Is it just me, or did time off seem a little pointless this holiday? I will admit to having fired up the old computer and getting some work done in that weird week between Christmas and New Year’s, and you know what, I’m not ashamed. I took it easy, made sure I had breaks and snacks and time to socialize on the phone and such, but given that I’m truly terrible at being completely idle, I’m pretty pleased with how my working holiday turned out. And let’s face it—I’m pretty relieved to be able to knock something off the to-do list!


And how about you all? Hope you enjoyed your quieter-than-normal holidays, and that you stayed safe and healthy.



This entry was posted in Letters from the Porcupette (the Intern's Blog) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Rays of Literary Sunshine and Other News for January at the Porcupine’s Quill

  1. Pingback: The Porcupine’s Quill

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.