There has been much to lament this year. Trump. Brexit. The roll-call of greats passing on: Mohammed Ali, David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Natalie Cole, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Carrie Fisher. How the Rolling Stones escaped unscathed is a question for the ages.
On a personal level, my 2016 wasn’t quite so lamentable but it wasn’t all sunshine and roses either. I lost my job at the bookshop. My neighbour died. I caught pneumonia. My Dad underwent emergency surgery for an enormous aortic aneurysm. I received my fair share of rejections from publishers.
On the upside, Andrew and I fulfilled a long-held dream and travelled for six weeks through Italy and Iran. My running partner, Katherine Arguile and I trained hard and ran our first half-marathon in Port Douglas. The Great Barrier Reef. Melbourne. The Cook Islands.
I qualified for my PhD, was awarded an Arts SA grant (that more than compensated for losing my job) and was shortlisted for both an international poetry prize and UWAP’s Dorothy Hewett Award.
Two wonderful, generous and talented friends (Cassie Flanagan Willanski and Heather Taylor Johnson) used my photographs for the covers of their books.
Dog-sitting. Varuna Days. Wonderful friends. Drinking. Not drinking. Running. Glorious family time, just being hermitish with Andrew, Des and Furious.
So there was much for me to be thankful for this year despite the global sense of gloom surrounding 2016. I do feel it – the anxiety and pessimism about our future in both the short and long term. But I also needed to express gratitude for the good things this year has brought my way.
As for 2017, I think my motto will need to be “chew like crazy” since I’ve definitely bitten off more than I think I can cope with all at once.
I’ve committed to writing the first draft of a short story collection, writing a poem a week for a poetry blog called Project 52 and taking on as much freelance writing and reviewing as comes my way.
In addition, I’m tackling my addiction to book buying and will not buy any books, new or second-hand, for a whole calendar year. Instead, I will read only books from my ridiculously overloaded shelves or borrow from libraries. To keep myself on the straight and narrow I’ve started a blog about it called Drowning in Tsundoku so if you are interested in how I handle book-addiction cold turkey please feel free to check it out at http://www.drowningintsundoku.com
That’s it. I wish you a wonderful end to 2016 and that 2017 is all you desire it to be and more.