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  • Writer's pictureJessie Oliveros

In the Times of Corona

What a strange time this is for all of us. Most of us have been living the last few months within the confines of our homes. Even if the coronavirus hasn't touched all of our lives directly, life is different. So different for everyone.

Looking back at my last post, I feel it was somewhat prescient. My daughter was worried about her grandma. And her grandma (my mother-in-law) did, in fact, contract COVID-19. She is in her 70's with underlying health conditions, so we were all very worried. Fortunately, she was put on a ventilator immediately. Three weeks she stayed on that ventilator. There were a couple times during those three weeks we were scared for her life. Lots of prayers and tears all around.

But I'm happy to report that my mother-in-law is home. She spent some time in rehab regaining her ability to walk again, but she is surprisingly unchanged. Still the same alert, feisty woman. We all cried tears of joy when she came back. And I'm looking forward to the moment she can wrap her arms around each of my children. I am looking forward to seeing her hold her 24th grandchild for the first time! She told me, "I was afraid I wouldn't get a chance to hold her."

(Here she is with her 23rd, my now-youngest, and look how squishy she once was.) (The baby, not my mother-in-law.)

But despite all of its changes, life has been quiet here at home, albeit different. Distance learning is winding down. It showed me all my weaknesses as a teacher-mom. And my kids need school! I'm looking forward to them regaining some sense of normalcy in the fall (fingers crossed).

And I have been growing a garden. All that time inside trying to teach my kids, and it was my way of "getting out." It's been my quarantine project. Now, let's see if it actually grows anything!

In book news, I had a lovely surprise when I saw that Josh Gad had read my book on Twitter. He was doing nightly story times online, and one night he chose THE REMEMBER BALLOONS.

Not something an author experiences every day--Olaf reading their book! Lol.

I had three author events planned this spring/summe: a picture book salon with my local SCBWI chapter in early April, the Doseum author series this month, and NerdCampKS in June.

With the blessings of technology, the SCBWI and Doseum events were translated into online events. NerdCampKS will have to wait a year, however.

And so, for the SCBWI event, I did my hair! Put on make-up! This is big, my friends. And I got to see so many live faces and interact with them online. It was fun to talk about my journey from unpublished to published, the writing process, and dealing with rejection.

I chatted a bit about receiving the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for picture book text in 2019. Anyway, special thanks to Southwest SCBWI, as well as Lupe Ruiz-Flores, Carolyn Flores, and Raquel Beechner for running this event. And also, thanks to Dedra Davis for the above picture!

A clip from our newsletter!

The Doseum event took place last week on Instagram Live. I am a bit new to Instagram Live, so I was a few minutes late trying to figure it out! But I had fun chatting with Jessica Chavez, the literary specialist at the Doseum, as well as answering questions from some of our viewers.

Silver linings to this pandemic? I wasn't planning on attending the Storymaker's conference in Utah this year, but since it went virtual, I was able to "go." Which was a nice break for me. And I had a chance to zoom chat with some of my Epic 18 girls.

But oh! I do miss the real face-to-face. I miss it so much. I liked chatting with my Storymaker's buddy Cristina on the phone while we "attended" classes, but I didn't get to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with her at the Whitney Gala all dressed up.

And I loved chatting with my Epic18ers, but there was a time I could put my arms around all these lovely ladies.

I've never realized how much people need people until now. Nothing replaces real-life. Nothing, but we are hobbling along aren't we? And soon we will appreciate those hugs and meaningful in-person moments all the more.


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