(aka a very overdue blog post I started last year)
Samhain is my spiritual New Year, but I celebrate the common New Year as well. Because, well, it’s my life and I’m-a gonna do what makes me happy. (See, e.g., not being Christian but celebrating Christmas as a time of joy and family and lights…wait, the pagan me celebrates light at this time, too! How convenient!)
At Samhain, the ritual among our loose local group is to write on a piece of paper something we want to give up, and then we burn that piece of paper. We also got together for a Solstice ritual this year, and we wrote something on a piece of paper that we wanted to bring into our lives, and burned that paper.
Also, a friend of mine annually chooses a word that’s her focus for the new year. Last year, I couldn’t decide between two, so I chose both (because I’m-a gonna do what makes me happy): Focus and Joy. I re-found my joy in writing this past year—the first story I simply had fun writing and giggled my way through was “The Sound of My Own Voice,” which just appeared in the Fiction River anthology Hex in the City.
I’d already been pondering a word for 2014: Present (or, really, the phrase Being Present). As in, being present in the world, in the moment. Not constantly falling down the rabbit hole of the Internet, not constantly trying to multitask. To stop and smell the roses, appreciate the view outside my window, to taste what I’m eating. To appreciate the right now.
For example, I usually spend the holidays, even though I’m enjoying them, complaining that I miss snow, and it doesn’t feel like the holidays without snow. I still feel that way, but this year I was with family and we had a bonfire on the beach while we watched a glorious sunset on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Day I walked in the surf on a stunning, bright day, and I flat-out appreciated those moments. The beauty of the world, the time with loved ones, the squishy feel of wet sand, the smell of smoke still caught in my Styx hoodie, the joyous wet dogs chasing balls, sitting on a rock cuddled with my love watching reds and golds streak the western horizon and Venus shining out of the darkening sky.
Just before the Solstice, I read an article about the Danish concept of hygge, and it truly resonated with me, tying right into what I was thinking and feeling about Being Present.
I just looked back at last year’s end-of-the-year/looking-into-the-new-year posts, pondering them with fresh eyes and another year of life behind me. I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to. I accomplished some things I never expected to. I backslid, I fought some depression again, and I’m coming out the other side (yes, dammit, I am, she said stubbornly).
Of course, now I’m posting this nearly at the end of January, but that’s okay. It wasn’t a priority. ;-)
So what else am I forwardly looking to? Well, I’m taking a workshop next month for which I have to write six short stories, and I looked at my production schedule at the other stories I’m either contracted to write or see nifty guidelines for or just want to write, and I decided that January and February were going to be all about short stories and novellas. Twelve short stories and three novellas, to be exact. Some were already in progress before I made the list, but most weren’t. So far, I’ve got three stories done (despite nearly two weeks of travel/taking care of family), two in progress, and others tumbling around half-formed in my brain, jostling for position.
March will be finishing up a nearly finished novel or two, and then in April, Teresa and I (as Sophie Mouette) are going to dive into our next novel, a sequel to Out of the Frying Pan (currently referred to as “Luanna’s Book” because we’re clueless about a title).
So I'm both being present and looking ahead. And it's glorious.