Year of the Mole

Late in 2019 at a kidlit conference, I presented a little segment called Self-Care for Creatives, which opened with a warning about the creative person’s risk of turning into a mole. 

Yes, a mole. Not a skin lesion, but rather those eccentric critters that overdress in their swanky, mauve velvet smoking jackets but under-groom their industrial-duty excavator nails. They’re near-blind loners who dwell underground, rarely venturing out into the warmth of sunlight or the glaring gaze of community. They hoard earthworms and feast on them alone in their empty burrow. They work in dim solitary confinement, scraping and shaping endless labyrinthine subterranean networks with their bare paws…

Sound vaguely familiar?

I concluded my self-care for creatives talk by giving everyone in the audience of about 90 authors, illustrators, booksellers, and kidlit publishing professionals a Don’t Be A Mole sticker to remind them to look after their wellbeing and creativity in 2020. 

The sticker summarized the anti-mole / pro-self-care advice for creatives from my presentation:

  • Move your body
  • Explore nature
  • Take a social media break

Because nobody wants to be a mole, right?

How Wrong Was I?

Here’s me in late 2019: “Do NOT be a mole.” 

Here’s me twelve months on: “Moles, it appears I owe you an explanation and a big apology.”

I know it’s late November, and the year is winding down to its last few weeks, but I’m going to call it:

2020’s lofty allusions of perfect vision and well-roundedness blindsided the planet. The new year dawned full of promise, but it soon ambushed us with a pandemic, plunging the world into health and economic chaos.

It’s also been a year when mole-ish habits could save your life and moledom could slow the spread of the pandemic. In 2020, the humble mole’s MO—hunkering down and sheltering in place—became humanity’s new norm.

Oh For A Crystal Ball!

Had I only known, I could have rejiggied my Don’t Be A Mole stance, cornered the copywriting market, and generated a year’s worth of article ideas. Imagine:

  • Surefire Ways to Boost Your Moleishness! 
  • Fresh Air, Schmesh Air: 5 Tips for Thriving Underground 
  • Dig Your Way Out of Writers’ Block
  • Seeing in the Dark: Sensory Augmentation for a Rich Inner Life
  • Zoom Rooms: Subterranean Networking from the Comfort of Your Warren
  • Pimp Your Burrow: Cheap Decorating Ideas with Dirt
  • Manicure Trends for Manic Diggers
  • Vermicelli Nouveaux: Earthworms Five Ways
  • Tunnelling for Idiots…

Not one to let a perfectly serviceable presentation go to waste, I’ll share some of my self-care talk with you here. But instead of avoiding these traits, I encourage you, as an act of supreme self-care, to Embrace Your Inner Mole for the rest of 2020. 

Top Five Signs You’re Turning Into a Mole

Give yourself one Star-Nose for each of the following signs that apply to you:

How did you do?

  • 0 Star-Noses = You’re exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. Retreat to your hole at once before you get a sunburn.
  • 1-2 Star-Noses = You’re in the right tunnel. Turn around and burrow deeper.
  • 3-4 Star-Noses = Your molishness is keeping you safe. Keep digging!
  • 5 Star-Noses = You Are A Mole. Reward yourself with a juicy earthworm treat.

So basically, I’m retracting my anti-mole stance. If you have one of my très passé Don’t Be A Mole stickers, ignore it! Or pencil in these addenda: 

  • Move your body around your burrow.  Get a stationary bike or try out Jazzercise—or even Moledancing for fitness!
  • Explore nature—and by nature I mean dirt, like the stuff burrows are made of. Digging in the garden is both an excellent form of self-care and a rich source of tender earthworms.
  • Take a break from social media—but not from Zoom. Zoom good. Social media bad. Whatever connects you with other moles is healthy.

Get Your Mole On!

I share this silliness with you in the hopes of spreading some sweetness and light after a long, tough year that slobbered its dire news and seriousness all over everybody. But to finish on an earnest note:

Be mole-ish and prosper! Long live the mole!

Image Attributions

  • All modifications by me

2 responses to “Year of the Mole”

  1. Absolutely, 100% Molastic!! (aka feeble attempt to fantasticise something!) So many broken and reforged rules this year; what’s another handful of grammatical goof-ups? Ali this is brilliant and shines a jolly light just dim enough for all us moles to endure and enjoy. Thank you! Dim x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dimity. You’re my fave. X


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