For me, bringing in the New Year begins with a reflection on the past year. A life-changing year. For more than a couple of decades, in a labour of love, our rural property took on a park-like atmosphere with numerous species of trees. The perennial gardens ranged from flowering bushes and riotous colour to calming green gardens of fern and hosta. We decided to sell our home (gulp) and make a move. It was time. Life is about change and renewal.
Leaving our rural area awakened us to new experiences, introduced us to community living, congenial people, and a fresh outlook. We moved far enough away that the area is all new to us but we’re close enough to keep in contact with long-time friends. I am content – happy even.
Sometime during all that packing and moving and changing, I’d decided to limit my writing to personal pleasure. Over the past ten years, I’ve had moderate success with my short stories, but my writing threatened to become all-consuming. Not just the writing, but the writing life. Organizing workshops, retreats, meetings, dinners. Actually, I realized I had less and less time to write. My focus had shifted and I’d lost my momentum. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue. I went so far as to tell my husband of my decision. Of course, I couldn’t NOT write, I’d perish. I simply wouldn’t send my work out. Not anymore. And I had decided years before that I wouldn’t publish my own work. No, I was going the traditional route – with the hundreds of rejections that come with it. In my mind, I was done.
Then I received an email with a tip about an acquisitions editor with a well-known publisher who might be interested in my work. How could I not follow up. And yes, he said two of my novels sounded ‘exciting’ and I should send the full mss. When I never heard back after several months, I tried contacting him. He’d left the publisher. The End. My last hurrah.
Another email arrived suggesting I collaborate on an anthology with two other Canadian authors and two from the States. Our Plan to Save the World features four of my short stories. My last hurrah.
Then another email arrived informing me of a contest in the U.S. I placed second and am proud to be included in the anthology Suspicious Activity. My last hurrah? Maybe not.
Aside from a health glitch, the year 2018 has been gratifying. I look to the positive, or at least try, and am thankful for the goodness in my life.
In 2019, I will continue to enjoy our community neighbourhood and pursue promising friendships. I look forward to summer verandah lounging with our park friends just a little farther north.
As for writing, I have set a goal (oh no, not a goal) to finish a novel. It will be a huge challenge to pick up the thread dropped so long ago. But I’m sure the love for my characters will see me through.
I look forward to 2019 with renewed vigour and hope. There’s a touch of determination peeking through, as well. I feel good. I feel strong. I feel like writing.
Happy New Year!