It’s nearly the end of another year, and time for a few reflections before I have to start panicking about hosting Christmas next week (Can I possibly cope with making bread sauce? Especially when bread never lasts for long enough in our house to actually go stale? Will 12 bottles of wine be enough? For four of us for two days? When one of us doesn’t really drink? Maybe I should go and get more?).
Well, if 2012 was a transformation, and a vintage year, 2013 can perhaps be best described as ‘mixed’. In the winter, I moved to a four day week at the day job. In the spring, I lost my beloved Nan. In the summer, I finished one book, The Heartland of the Winter, secured an agent, and started another book, Forever 27. And in the autumn, I strained my back so badly that I’ve been essentially out of action for seven weeks and counting. Out of my creative writing and my husband’s rock climbing, who’d have thought my hobby would turn out to be the more dangerous?
Overall, I’m not sure I’m going to be looking back at 2013 with great fondness, but it hasn’t been a total annus horribilis. The last couple of months have been painful and a bit surreal at times, but it’s at least been a chance to rest and reconsider, and I’m trying to take away a few lessons. Bittersweet lessons about the important things in life, about the need to be patient and enjoy things for what they are, as they come. And harder lessons about the need to make choices, to prioritise the things which are really necessary, work hard at what matters, and accept that sometimes, you have to let go. To quote the Rolling Stones: no you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need. This can perhaps be summarised by my reaction to my injury: at first I wanted to just let it get better by itself, without actually doing anything to help it. Then I tried throwing money at the problem: massages, chiropractor, private yoga tuition. But then all these people I was paying to make me better told me that, in this instance, I have to heal myself. Exercise, posture, breathing technique, not overdoing it, all that stuff. Boring, maybe, but necessary.

And so another year will shortly begin. What does 2014 hold in store? A publishing deal is too much to expect, but not too much to hope for. Completion of my second novel, Forever 27, should be within my power. And also, perhaps, some refocusing, a bit more yoga and a bit less time slumped over a hot computer.

I’ll leave you with some half-baked homilies, fresh from the same oven I used to bake the loaf of success in a previous blog post. If you have to do something, do it with a smile. If you don’t have to do something, don’t feel bad about not doing it. All things in moderation, including moderation. Enjoy the good things, and remember, you don’t need to leave room for dessert, because you have a separate stomach for that.
Anyway, a merry Christmas to all, and a happy and productive 2014.

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