December is an odd month. There’s the hustle of Christmas approaching (and believe me, this year’s it’s been hustling for England, given this is my first family Christmas in 17 years. I have remembered exactly why I opted out of Christmas, let me put it that way). Still, the shopping is done and the dining room is halfway to presentable.
Then there’s the lingering sense of ‘could have, should have, would have…‘. The things I haven’t done. The things I should have done. Achievements left unmade. I’ve been feeling this particularly badly recently, the overwhelming sense of lassitude that’s been holding me back. You could call it procrastination but it’s been deeper than that. More melancholy. More a sense of a world outside of my control where the plates are all spinning crazily and at least one has shattered into cremation.
I think it’s worth reflecting on the things that have gone right. I published my first paid story in March, complete with my first (terrifying) public reading. Words cannot describe how wonderful it felt. I wonder if all first time authors feel so … blessed … for want of a better word. I used that first payment to complete something special – the repair and expansion of my mother’s silver charm bracelet. This broke about 30 years ago, and only 5 charms remained. She gave it to me and I finally had it repaired and expanded, with charms that meant something to me (and discovered I have a slight obsession with articulated charms). So it has a miner’s lamp to represent my grandfathers, a beer barrel with a drunk man inside (my father!), an old fashioned beach bathing hut and for some reason, the old lady who lives in a shoe (is that my mum?!). The prettiest ones were my mum’s – a horse’s head, a gorgeous little elephant with a love knot in it’s trunk and a spindle. My attempts to photograph this bracelet were an epic fail!
I also learned in November that I had been highly commended in the inaugural Sara Park Memorial Prize for my short story The Bone Queen. Thank you Red Squirrel Press, its given me faith to continue writing when I’ve been flagging (and slacking) a lot.
So, 2014 is looming and I need some realisable goals. I’ve not written anything worth submitting recently; everything has been stuttering and disjointed. I suspect this reflects where I’ve found myself. I’m finding myself wishing to try writing poetry again – my first attempts were fairly laughable (or tragic, take your pick!). I’ve signed up for Wattpad and have started to read some interesting unpublished works by other writers in a similar genre. I’ve posted the first 3,000 words from my novel Breaking The Angel . It’s almost finished and I’m hoping this will give me a push to completion, scheduling chapters for publication throughout 2014.
I’d absolutely love to go on an Arvon residential; however time and cost may be against me. I do have some irons in the fire for this one though….!
All a little bit stream of consciousness but it feels much better to have articulated how I feel. Back in January I didn’t know how I was going to survive the year at work, given everything that happened in 2012. I made it, and in better shape than expected. For that I am eternally grateful. It isn’t perfect, but it isn’t desperate.