Was There an Upside to 2020?

To say the least, 2020 has been a rollercoaster that seems to be traveling in only one direction…down. It might be easy to simply wish this year away, and hope that on January 1, 2021, we all wake up from what we can collectively call, “a year that sucked.”

But as I walked through my neighborhood this past autumn, a family pedaled past me, and the young boy laughed at his sister who was proudly riding a bike just recently void of training wheels. As I passed a house, I pick up a tomato from a table set in the front yard. On the small stand, read a sign, Please take one. An elderly gentleman waved to me from his front porch as I continued my walk.

Good or bad, this year has changed us all. While I don’t pretend it hasn’t come without serious consequences, it also came with a positive wave that we cannot ignore. We’re strong, and we will rebound from a global event that has knocked us off our feet. As I set down my rose-colored glasses, I can still see the upside to 2020.

  • This is the year families rediscovered their local golf course, introducing their children to an outdoor activity that had been on the decline in recent years. 
  • This is the year neighbors reconnected, setting up chairs on the front porch and actually sitting in those chairs.
  • This is the year we elected our country’s first female Vice President.
  • This is the year many people found time to pick up a book again, and discovered the delightfully quirky Schitt’s Creek or enjoyed binge-watching all seven seasons of The West Wing on Netflix.  
  • This is the year many women found their roots—literally. And decided to celebrate their natural grey.

Perhaps, as we look back, we can say, “I lived through 2020 and I’m a better person for it.” Here’s to 2021. Let’s all hope it’s a little less… surprising.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Moxie Magazine. Her debut novel, Chasing North Star is now available at Kazoo Books, This is a Bookstore, and Schuler Books. And online wherever books are sold.

Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

I AM WOMAN

60 Second Movie Review


After watching Judy, the movie about Judy Garland’s rise and fall in Hollywood, it seemed only natural that I follow it up with I am Woman, now airing on Netflix, and starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey. She portrays Australian pop singer, Helen Reddy as she rises to pop stardom while accidentally creating the anthem for the woman’s movement in the 70’s. The movie spans from 1966 as she struggles to start up a singing career, to 1989 as she and thousands of women march in Washington D.C. in the pursuit of women’s rights and the ERA.


The singing is as powerful as the message in I am Woman —reminding us of the many hits that climbed the charts during her long career. Instead of leaving the usual link to the movie preview, I’m going to leave you with the original invincible woman, singing “I am Woman” – a song that is as relevant today as it was then.   

:60 Movie Review – JUDY

After the Yellow Brick Road…

Based on the life of Judy Garland, the movie Judy, stars Renée Zellweger in the title role, and follows Garland’s later years as she attempts to jumpstart a stalled career by taking advantage of her still-adoring fans in London, England.

Zellweger chews through each scene with all the subtlety of a 1940’s screen-diva… and it works. She disappears into her character, allowing us to lose ourselves as we watch the last hurrah of Judy Garland’s life in the limelight. We’re also treated to several flashbacks of Garland in her younger years, giving us a glimpse into the hardship she experienced growing up under the microscope of Hollywood, which had little regard for children. Judy is a beautiful, sad story, and one that will have you watching The Wizard of Oz in a new harsh light.


Side note: that’s actually Zellweger singing most of the tunes, garnering her an Oscar win for Best Actress. Judy is available now as part of Amazon Prime subscription.    

By Heidi McCrary.

Follow McCrary on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

Download Taylor Swift’s new song for FREE!

The following post appeared on my Facebook feed the other day, posted by an author who unabashedly leans left on the political spectrum… “Do you want to read The Room Where it Happened by John Bolton? Here it is in its entirety. Just don’t buy it and help to line Bolton’s pockets.” This post contained a PDF attachment of the digital version of the book in its entirety. In the spirit of enforcing copyright laws, Facebook quickly removed the PDF attachment, leaving anyone who clicked on her post, with a message that the contents had been removed.  

While I understand the frustrations of this person, who feels that Bolton has no right to profit from his book due to his refusal to share this information during the Presidential Impeachment trial, I am perplexed with a writer championing the idea of giving away the intellectual property of an artist… even a politician.

The issue of the unpaid artist is not a problem only with writers. This conundrum involves musicians, graphic designers, painters, photographers, and anyone providing a service that can easily be shared digitally. How often have we shared a photo that we retrieved from the World Wide Web, with little thought of where the source originated, and with even less regard to how this artist is losing profit from each click of the Download button.

“I can’t afford to pay you, but you will receive so much publicity by donating your (Insert craft here),” is a phrase often echoed by well-meaning people who think they are providing an opportunity, when in fact, they are simply perpetuating the belief that artists should be sharing their craft for free, and that the next person is the one who should be paying for their services.

This challenge for all artists is only getting worse, with the Internet providing so many avenues for the pirating of digital copies of art. While we may justify our actions by telling ourselves that the person we are stealing from is rich and will never miss our lack of contribution for their product, the truth is, it is harder today for the writer/artist/musician to profit from their craft due to the pirating of property that is done without thought or consequences. Why do we think it is OK to download the Taylor Swift song we lifted off of a questionable website? Perhaps, because we can. And is Taylor Swift really going to hurt from the one swipe of a song?

The answer is, Yes. The pirating of property from writers/artists/musicians is theft. It’s time we acknowledge this, and time to step up and pay for their services. As I embark on the publication of my first novel, I hope that literary enthusiasts will not share my property just because they may think that, “It’s just one copy.”          

Here’s a thought… Let’s think twice before hitting the Download button on the Internet when given the opportunity to receive the beauty of art for free. The writer/artist/musician deserves our respect, and just as importantly, our payment for their services.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Moxie Magazine. Look for her debut novel, Chasing North Star September 29, 2020. Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor