This week we are reflecting on the past year and I thought mine had been fairly uneventful, until I took stock of it.
We lost several members of the families including a fair number of extended family members. Most were older people so their passings were not truly unexpected. My father-in-law, who had triple the life of most men, lasted strongly past his prognosis and my husband was by his side at the end. One cousin-by-marriage went very sweetly after several years of battling Alzheimer’s. He had a particularly good day then, as he was going to bed, called to his late wife that it was “time to go home”, then he went peacefully in his sleep. Another also left in his sleep, but he was a healthy clergyman in his 50’s who was on a bicycle trip. May they and the others lost to us all rest in peace.
Our gentle giant of a dog, Mark, finally lost his battle with arthritis and we are without a dog for the first time in 17 years. It’s been months, but I still think of him when I need to leave or go to bed, as in:”Does Mark need to go out,( or come in)?” A ‘new’ cat, who is not young, entered our lives. She and our other ‘old’ cats, (who are on the young side), are still working things out…we hope.
One old friend, who was not expected to last through the Summer, is determined to make it to his 70th birthday in February; it looks like he will at least put this year as a notch in his gun belt.
Also, I received a call a few weeks ago at 2:30 AM to tell me that an elderly couple, very dear to us, had been in a terrible car accident hours before, but they could not reach their family. All their children live out-of-state, so I had to tell the nurse who to call. Beyond anyone’s expectations, they are also recovering and should have quite a story themselves about this year.
My family soap opera continues, including having a “return-to-the-nest’-er here. Fortunately, his bid on a house has been accepted. I love him dearly but he not only does not need to answer to his mother, I don’t need to answer to him! I had been working hard on decluttering around here, but we have shoehorned a lot of extra things in my small house for him. With the new situation, the granddaughters have been here a great deal, though their cousin, the grandson, has been here somewhat less than he had always been. Of course, they all have different needs and activities and any two of them get along beautifully, but throw in the third and I have been playing referee most of the year.
I guess should get to the part about writing. I have been here at 4H,1H every week except two weeks ago when my computer was in the hospital.(Our local computer shop is called “PC Doc”.) As Hound Jeff Salter mentioned yesterday, we got to meet face-to-face this year. And we gained Iris BIobel and Janette Harjo as Foxes and friends.
I had a couple of successful series in my cooking and entertaining blog,“Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family“. I have not spent a great deal of time writing lately and should really submit more , but I had a couple of things published including a long, featured article in a magazine that had been a labor of love. When I offered the article,(which was in excess of 3,000 words), I found that the editor had expected a 700-word piece. I was thrilled when he read it and made very few of the cuts I suggested. I ended up with four pages in a national glossy.
This year something extraordinary happened in my writing and it was thanks to two of the Foxes.(Well, “thanks” will be if it comes out well. If it isn’t any good, they need not share the blame!). Micki Gibson, our always fun Wednesday Fox, introduced me to a writing challenge earlier this year:”100 words for 100 days”. Everyone else dropped the ball, so I won by default. (Micki is a drven machine; I don’t know how she does all that she does. I would love an energy transfusion from her, but I doubt that she could spare any!) Despite the gift card, what I won was the confidence to start a novel, a, (brace yourselves), romance novel! I have written award-winning song lyrics and a play; I have had articles and poetry published but I never expected to write a novel and never would I have ever expected to write romance. As I told an author with whom I have a, (stalking?), fan/writer relationship, “I am barely a romance reader, I am not a romance writer”, yet, all here have had an influence on me; good or bad, (again, that is yet to be decided).
I have not finished the novel yet, but I write it in my head, which is also unusual for me. I have done a great deal at the computer, but some by hand and more is running around in my head. I tend to forget what I write, but not much with this one.
Generally my modus operandi is to sit at my computer and let it flow, then go back, reread and edit. No edits allowed in writing challenges, but there are some now in the works and much more extensions to be added stemming from the original story idea. The inspiration for it came from the Founding Fox, Jillian Chantel. She not only is a successful professional woman and a prolific author, she posts wonderful photos she has taken in her personal blog on “Wordless Wednesdays”. One such photo hit me like a ton of bricks, literally. It is a picture of a brick wall and a plot came rushing to me from it. There is just something about that wall, obviously. It seems to speak to a person. Jillian is the one who offered me the place of Friday Fox, which gave me the push I needed to finally start my other blog and get myself “out there” again. I will always be grateful to her and to the others here who have been so encouraging.(Micki also gave me a writing prompt that led to the first mystery story I ever wrote. I am so inspired here!)
So, the year is nearly finished but one never knows what will happen in the next few weeks. With my family, it could be lingeringly ho-hum or it can get hectic very quickly. I like good excitement, but I’ll take boring over bad excitement any day.
So, as I get back to my Christmas baking, please take a moment to talk about your year…or to comment on mine. (Go ahead,I can take it.)