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how to have a dinner party for 12 with social distancing

Friends – I feel like we might be living in a sort of prequel to EM Forster's 1909 short story, "The Machine Stops." As we move most of our daily commerce online, let us not slip into the habit of confusing the virtual world with the real world. Technology is wonderful and it means we can communicate with our loved ones from afar. We can also be in two (or more) different conversations at once.

There are those who don't have the technology or internet access who will feel a bit more cut off from the world at this time. If you can, reach out to them via telephone (or semaphore). If you have elderly neighbours who need a pint of milk left on their door step, be their milkman.

This book is about connections – primarily with strangers and with those whom we love (and those we, perhaps, ought to love). It has as many protagonists as seats around the table – and none at the same time. Seeing ourselves through another's eyes should make us alive to what makes us different, and what we have in common.

Tom was the first character I wrote, and bookends the novel. Those of you have read some of my other work might find a nice surprise about how he, and some others, connect in my universe but, whether or not you have (or intend to) read anything else by me, I hope you will enjoy this story. Tom is not prone to anxiety – he has a flowchart to help him rationalise what worries him. In these times, it is natural to be anxious about what the future will bring, and when life will return to normal – when we will be able to go out of our houses again, and meet new faces.

The joy of the written word is that it transports us to new lands, and introduces us to new faces – all from the comfort of our armchair.

So....If you head to the members' area and sign-up (for free) you can download a free PDF of The Twelve Diners of the Zodaic.

Please leave some comments when you've read it.

Peace and love to you all,


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