That’s the bracelet I wore every day I worked this past year. Every day. You can’t look at something every day and not have it sear into your soul, good bad or otherwise. I chose that word because 2017 was a shitshow and I could have chosen to splash around in a wading pool of my own tears, or I could rise.
I refocused and recommitted. I did the work. (I say that unapologetically because I was just completely blown away by Shondra Rhimes’s Year of Yes [more on that later] and we all should be bold if we’ve done the work. )
I sloughed off a lot of the unnecessary, the unfulfilling, the unkind, the untruthful, the unwelcoming, the unfriendly, the unimportant. All the Uns.
This left open space for the good. It was a year of committing to work, to my little family (my little one that I’ve grown and my chosen family of friends), and to communities which I hope to support and strengthen.
Guys, I am happier and more satisfied than I’ve ever been and hope to continue down that path because I know that happiness and satisfaction breed the same in people we love and people we meet.
Now, let’s be honest– opening this space and putting good things within is a process, not an event. I’m not perfect at it. I said yes to things I shouldn’t have. I didn’t always do the work when I should have. I sometimes let some of those uns visit and those jerks always overstay their welcome in my head cavity longer. But, still, I mean, I have to leave something for 2019.
But the highlights are worth dropping here. For me, at least. Y’all can skim.
I finished 56 books finished. I abandoned a dozen more. Life’s too short to finish books I don’t love.
My absolute favorites:
- Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays
- The Plot Against America
- Her Body and Other Parties
- Year of Yes
- History of Wolves
- Good and Mad
- We Carry the Sky
And my FAVORITE read of 2018:
- Naked Pictures of Famous People by Jon Stewart. There are no naked pictures of anyone in the book, by the way.
I found myself drawn back to The Great British Baking Show over and over, so I’m declaring that my best television watch of 2018. My favorite film was Black Panther.
I worked on my writing (“deliberate practice) for slightly over 1000 hours in 2018. I figure I’ve done about 4000 hours total, 40% on my way to “master” level, although that whole theory has been debunked. But either way, should I remain on this path, the next six years should be interesting, and the ones beyond that even more so.
Nevertheless We Persisted was an Audie Award Finalist, and I am proud to be a part of it.
Despite the fact that I got a slot in the Erma Bombeck Writing Workshop (which only is held once every two years), I couldn’t go. Last minute situation involving ill children. Everyone is well but I’ll be looking to reregister at the end of this year for the 2020 event.
I had something published in the Readers Write Section of The Sun Magazine, several essays make top ten in the WOW creative nonfiction contest (one winning second place, which was a proud moment for me. I felt that piece. I knew it was strong and solid.) I had a piece selected for an impending anthology, about which I am super excited (more details to come in 2019!) Fixed Up won top honors in Best Shorts and the Global Shorts competition. I was welcomed over at Humor Outcasts, which admittedly I am not writing much for due to the book I’ve been writing. And I’m not finding a whole lot funny these days. I won honors in the Mark Twain House Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest
I spent much of August preparing/planning (poorly) for a novel.
And September through mid-December, I wrote a draft of a book, prodded along by NaNoWriMo. In January, I’ll do another planning session, then after the book has rested for 4 weeks, I’ll reread, add to the plan, then hit it for another round or ten of revisions.
The book was my major professional goal for 2018. I am really proud of myself, and eventually will be really proud of the book.
I got glasses. We got a dog.
My daughter made me write fairy notes for a good three months until she lost interest or forgot or broke up with each other. I don’t know.
I found new and great places to volunteer and try to make a difference, causes I believe in filled with wonderful people who elevate the place and each other and me.
My office flooded again.
My office will now be one of the boys’ bedrooms and I will continue to work at my new location, in the middle of the family room (noise) but a gorgeous view. Whichever boy moves into my office will share it with my bookshelves. The ultimate goal is to add another room to our house and make some other “minor” adjustments to the house. Like construction is ever minor. Ha.
We celebrated birthdays and anniversaries and each others’ victories and accomplishments in my small family. We held each other up through difficult times. We swam and vacationed and got on each other’s nerves.
Looking ahead, as is the thing to do: Professionally, I will finish the book I just drafted and, depending on time, send it out to the world. I’ll spend another 1000 writing (although in many ways I am always writing). I have other, smaller goals to get me there and other smaller goals that, for now, I’ll keep to myself.
Personally, like last year, do more of some stuff, less of other stuff, and wear sunscreen every day. I’m continuing to say YES to the big and small things, the honest things, the wonderful things. Importantly, sometimes that means saying YES to SAYING NO (seriously, read Shondra Rhimes’s book).
To do the work. Sit my butt down (or, depending on the “work,” get off my ass) and do it. No excuses. Work through any fear. Believe.
To continue to be of service finding new and more gratifying ways to give. It’s been bliss and I hope to continue. The world is a big ol’ place and I have a voice and some privilege and a lot of motivation.
Happy New Year, friends. May it be the time for all of us to rise AND shine!