All things considered, I really dug 2010, despite its rather inauspicious beginning at which I learned that my book, originally slated to slide into the world in the fall of 2010, was to be delayed until 2011. That was a blow, and a crushing one at the time. Looking back on it, though, I don’t disagree with it and am actually pretty happy about how things have turned out. In the meantime, I was pretty productive this year – finished some projects, started some more, met some good people, tended my family, read some books, and generally had a pretty nice time. Here is a list, in no particular order, of some of the things I managed to get done this year.
1. Wrote two books. One will come out in 2012, the other I have no idea.
2. Sold a short story collection.
3. Caught a fish. My first one. Likely my last.
4. Learned a bunch of cool stuff at an astronomy workshop in Laramie, WY.
5. Hung out with lovely, amazing and ridiculously smart nerds. Will love them all forever.
6. After a lifetime of longing, I finally loaded the family into the car and headed northward to Canada and the Winnipeg Folk Fest, where I spent five glorious days in dusty squalor listening to an amazing array of musicians, and my kids managed to delight all who saw them with their dancing prowess.
7. Sent my baby to Kindergarten. Cried a lot.
8. Sent my other baby to Middle School. Cried even more.
9. Grew bushel-loads of vegetables in the garden. Ate very, very well.
10. Camped on an island in the middle of the Boundary Waters. Saw the Northern Lights reflected on the surface of a windless lake.
11. Showed the children how to find Jupiter. Listened to them gasp as they located it with their binoculars, seeing that bright red spot winking like a ruby in the dark night sky.
12. Welcomed a Brother-in-Law into the family. Learned of an impending Sister-in-Law.
13. Swam in the ocean. Did not get eaten by a shark.
14. Saw wolves. Two of them, and they were huge and wild and wonderful. They haunt my dreams.
15. Met more writers this year than I ever have in my life, thanks to Launchpad, Kidlitcon and World Fantasy. This is good, because the disparate jobs of writing and mothering makes me sometimes feel very alone in my work life. Or that my world life must always happen in the margins. Or something. In any case I just have never had a lot of opportunities to connect with other people in the same work as me – the people for whom the building of stories is a daily vocation, the people who sweat and groan under the construction of sentences, who mine words like precious stones. It was astonishing for me; a revelation. It’s nice to have colleagues, even if you only see them once a year. It’s nice to know we’re not alone.
As for 2011 – this year I become a novelist, and while that thought makes me so nervous that I think I might barf with these incessant jitters, I’m very, very pleased as well. My little book! After fits and starts, revisions so severe that only a sentence or two survived, after begging, pleading and ultimate despair, my book will finally live. Grant you sure feet, my book. Strong legs. Clear eyes. Feathers. Wings. In the end, our books really are like our children: we conceive, we nurture, we labor, we tend; and in the end they fly away. Grief, pride, relief. Is this normal? I hope so.
In any case, hello 2011! Welcome. We’ll do our best to make you beautiful.