There has been a lot of loss (personal and global) and of course insane politics. A lot I had my sights on I did not achieve or thought I had but then didn't (e.g. I was signed by an agent, but it wasn't a good fit, so had to let her go a few months later, so...as of right now, no agent). So, I end the year without an agent and still don't have a publisher for my first book or my recently-completed one (though that process has just begun).
On the other hand, a lot of other really good stuff happened and was accomplished.
As John Lennon sang:
"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans."
Yeah, that seems about right.
To wit (aka gratitude list):
At this very moment painters are painting our bathroom and kitchen (requested in September).
I still have a roof over my head and food in refrigerator.
Bought some new clothes recently, thanks to Christmas gift.
I'm healthy even if could use to lose a few pounds (shocking, I know).
When I get myself there, I can still do yoga.
I have a nice little office area and a writing studio cooperative I can go to downtown.
My play SHIT was chosen for a play development program at IATI and will be shown in NYC as a staged reading in June.
I finished a new book, two new plays and wrote many blog posts and some articles this year.
I've begun a thus-far successful freelance writing, coaching, teaching and editing business, which I now do full-time, since I was graced with realization I had to leave being an adjunct professor because the pay and conditions were actually abusive. So far, this has been a good decision.
I love coaching and teaching independently, and helping shape writing as an editor and/or writer for individuals and non-profits. I also have discovered a talent for manuscript reviews that are helpful to the authors.
I continue submitting my work, even when it feels like a ten-ton weight. I have gotten some wonderful feedback even when not accepted and encouragement to resubmit. I am glad I have the ability to keep doing this, because the difference between success and failure with writing is the ability to withstand a lot of rejection in the process. Sometimes I feel the resilience and sometimes I don't, but I keep moving forward.
I love my newest play On the edge of/a cure. Not sure where/how to develop it yet, but had fabulous actors come up to my apartment and read it, so I know I need to do something...mulling on that.
The #metoo movement has brought light to dark corners and even if messy and hard, I believe it presages a new world coming. Assuming we can survive the patriarchal death star (not guaranteed). That movement is why I wrote the above play. Dealing head on with issues I've punted for far too long.
I've gotten involved in some political stuff that I think is effective and was one of the many volunteers who helped Doug Jones get elected in Alabama. May this and earlier local 2017 elections be a sign of things to come. Glad to have found a way to be effective and not feel paralyzed.
My newest play being read was one of the things that knocked me out of my paralysis.
The awareness that when I am not writing, I am being written. Therefore making sure I keep writing. No matter what.
A year of being paid to lead a book club. Paid to read a book I have chosen and lead a discussion on it by a group of smart, fabulous women. What a gift.
All of the people who have entrusted me with their writing in workshops, as a coach, an editor or manuscript reviewer.
John finally getting some good news about some issues in Canada, which I can't discuss in detail, but it's good news and a long time coming, will help us move into our future.
20+ years of meditating every day.
My fabulous cat, Ugo.
The love of friends and family, too many to mention, but you know who you are.
With a special shout-out to the friends of Bill and Lois W. that have led me to 30+ years of life with no windshield. The real hard core.
A rent-stabilized apartment in Inwood. (Artist credo: keep your overhead low.)
So many ideas for writing, art and theater projects I don't think I can finish them before I die.
My trip to London and Scotland this summer wherein I reconnected with people and places I love and did revisions on my second book (Girls Meeting God). The Orkney Islands are my spiritual home and had not been there for 7 years.
The fact I am leading a retreat back to Orkney Islands this coming summer that is almost full up.
The discovery of power of crystals (I would be rolling my eyes, too, if I were you, but for real they work).
An excellent yoga teacher.
The wonder of stove top espresso.
A snowy Christmas and ice storm that made the world a crystal palace. (Plus good heating, which made it fun to see from inside.)
Family and friends with whom to memorialize and then spread my stepfather's ashes in Maine and Brooklyn, a hard slog of grief, but mitigated by being shared. Though it still hurts and is an undertow to any joy.
At beginning of year reading excerpts in my grandmothers voices from first book, The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick and Jani at Poetry Marathon and Resistor project.
I created and designed a website for stories about other people's grandmothers, which you can contribute to if you want: Our Grandmothers, Our Selves.
A brief but important autumn retreat to finish final edits on Girls Meeting God.
Another play I wrote earlier in the year, Grieving for Dummies. Have not been sure what to do with that one. Maybe need to hear it read. Anyone interested?
Speaking of which, that I live in NYC and so when want to hear a play read, that isn't hard, because so many fabulous people around who are crazy talented and generous.
Inwood and the park, the water, the birds, the old growth forest.
A loving husband.
The people who joined us on the 16th for the holiday gathering for people who find holiday gatherings difficult where we all talked about what we loved and hated about holidays and tallied up our losses, the difficulty of these during this time of year. The only requirement was no enforced gaiety.
Friends who take care of Ugo when we are gone!
Healthcare - this year anyway. And next. God knows after that.
The many, many people who give a shit and work in mostly thankless and anonymous ways to make sure people do have healthcare and a fairer political/economic environment.
Those who do the invisible work. I see you. I know many of you. You are the reason the damn planet still goes round.
A special shout out to the many, many women of a certain age who I have met over this year who are all supporting each other in ways great and small. The days of quiet desperation are coming to an end. An under the radar network instead is emerging. We are no longer going to walk quietly into the dark night to be rendered useless. Count on it.
Having discovered this year my own personal ocean floor. That which does not move. Hard to describe this, other than that way. I don't know if this happens for others when they are far younger, but for me it was this year. All the turbulence, the depressions, meannesses, joys, awarenesses...are the tide...beneath which is this floor. I get that geologically the ocean floor also moves, but that kind of works, too, because of course I am alive now, in this body and configuration now, and after that, who knows? I don't. But in this iteration, something solid has emerged. It's a touchstone. This happened during a meditation, of course.
When I started writing my grandmothers book, I had asked that I be given a kind of quiet confidence in my own voice, a stability that could not be knocked off course just for the sake of approval or whatever - a discernment of my own. So, even though it's been difficult, I am holding to my vision and this sense of an ocean floor has put a kind of foundation beneath that aspiration. I still have self-doubt of course and it's not that my work is perfect or anything, but it is giving me the strength to not just take advice that feels more like prevailing winds than true for what I am doing. I pray at some point I will find an agent and/or publishers who will also see what and how I see, but that I cannot control.
To all of you who read this blog, I am grateful to you. I don't know many of you, but I know you are out there, because I can see it in the stats. You come from all over the world and are in the thousands. I hope this writing and accounting of a life lived on the edge of so many worlds in the early years of the 21st Century makes you feel a little less lonely on this planet in our connected/disconnected tiny/huge planet. I hope you feel love and some connection to the blue-green that makes our planet so special and livable. It feels so fragile these days - our lives here anyway - but here we are now. So I embrace you in whatever way I can.
In return, I gift you with my most successful New Year's resolution to date:
There is nothing wrong with you.
(The resolution part is if when considering an issue, it begins with something intrinsically wrong with me, I have to back that train back in the station and reconsider it from the perspective of there not being anything wrong with me. This works beautifully and over the years has led me to places I didn't even know existed within myself creatively and in life.)