In Writing

Hello, lovies! It’s been a bit since I’ve written. I’ve been busy at work on that Project Which Can Not Yet Be Spoken About, plus another fun treat I’m hoping will also find its way to the world soon as well. I am writing more than ever, which fills me with joy and a sense of accomplishment. I wrote three full novels in 2019, and I’m hoping to at least match that pace in 2020, if not exceed it.

Re: 2020 resolutions, though: I have a complicated relationship with the Resolution-Industrial Complex, because, let’s face it, years are things humans made up. They could just as easily start on what we call April 17th, or October 7th. (If I’d been tapped to design our calendar, I would have started years when school years start, with all those new notebooks and pens and promise of new things). January 1st doesn’t have any inherent meaning but the one we give it. And, yet, I do feel a certain brand-spanking-new energy in these gray, steely days, the promise of a fresh start. I do want to take a moment to reflect where I’ve been and, more importantly, where I want to go.

It probably doesn’t help that I’ve finally given in to watching Outlander, and I’m filled with a certain longing about things that stand the test of time. If you haven’t seen it, be sure to read all the trigger warnings if you’re thinking of checking it out. It has an inordinate amount of unnecessary threatened sexual violence. It has plenty of actual violence too, sexual and otherwise. It’s a cloying love story. And yet! These characters love each other across space and time in a way that’s hypnotizing to me. This past weekend I saw a scene in which the hunky red-headed lead is bidding the woman goodbye and says something like, “When I get to St. Peter I’ll thank him for giving me such an extraordinary woman and I will tell him that I loved her well.” And, gah. What a way to start the new year, with a knot of ache and longing, as well as a good dose of feeling foolish for letting the thing get to me.

I also love 2020 for the cleanliness of its lines. The zeros! The twos. All the years I lived in the twentieth century, the year 2000 seemed like an impossible future. I did the math, and understood that if I lived a healthy life I’d live more of my days in the twenty-first century that the twentieth, but I still sometimes feel like a creature of the twentieth. The year 2020 feels absolutely Jetsons-esque in its futuristic promise. And it also suggests clear vision, a straight view into tomorrow.

So what do I aim for in this future year? I can feel the gears of my life shifting, slowly but deliberately. It is finally sinking in that the kids going off to college isn’t just some pause in normal, it is a new normal. Just yesterday, my daughter was accepted for a study-abroad year in Europe, yet another change. I am trying to turn my focus to what that means for my life. I always thought it would mean more travel, but I have not been anywhere since they both left in the fall. Yesterday, I made plans to correct that and booked a long-dreamed-for trip to Sedona for later this month. The thought of hiking and breathing clean air feels right at this point in time. I plan to go with just what I can fit in my backpack, leave my phone in the hotel, and just be free in the wilds. (Okay, maybe I’ll leave the phone in the rental car. A girl needs GPS).  Then Europe needs to happen soon, too, plus a research trip to the border for a book project I’m cooking up.

Besides the travel, there’s writing, of course, the words always dancing and wanting to be jotted down. There is turning my face to the sky and asking for that all to work out. To write things that mean something to enough someones. I hope 2020 is a year in which I learn more, and think thoughts of substance. A year in which I continue the ever-deepening work of finding ways to express them. All my life has been about finding out how to say the things that need saying.

So, yes, the push to examine life at the start of January is a bit of BS. But examining life is not BS, it is the very fabric and weave of what it means to have this strange anomaly called consciousness. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? How do you want to be active and not passive in your experience of this strange and gorgeous world?

The other day, the kids and I went indoor skydiving. You basically lean in over a giant (really giant) fan and it simulates the experience of being free in the winds. I loved it way more than I expected to. I wanted to start the year with a sprinkle of what I hope to experience in 2020… freedom, and fun, and the energizing sensation of trying new things. I want to be brave. I want to meet the winds as they rush up, and know what to do as they toss me about. I hope 2020 is everything you hope for too.

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