Well, unless the fates are kind and my kids sleep this afternoon, I am not going to get Sun and Shadows by Ake Edwardson finished by midnight as we have our annual New Year's Party to go to. And I didn't get to finish Eat, Pray, Love, which had to go back to the library. And I haven't finished Rapture by Carol Duffy, nor Owls and Other Fantasies by Mary Oliver (both poetry), nor Walter Mosley's You Can Write a Book This Year. so I can't include them in my yearly totals, as I was planning to. Rats! The demands of the holidays (one birthday party, two Christmas meals, one party tonight) have meant reading time is gathered over meals or in spare moments here and there. To be fair, I have been catching up on movies - Love Actually, quickly becoming a Christmas tradition for us, the first two episodes of Dr Who Season One, my surprise gift (and best one) of the holidays, from my husband, and always, endless kids movies in the background as they watch theirs while the snow falls endlessly outside. We are getting out to play, but time to myself is rarer than the dodo bird this season! Which is why I was up to 3 am last night doing a retrospective of this year, and deciding it was the year of "What the f---?" So many unpleasant things happened or had to be done, things that emotionally I am still coming to terms with. Looking back at work also, it has been an enormously stressful year of staff changes that are already continuing into the New Year. And yet, it has not been a bad year for my immediate family's health- other than my bad asthma attack last Feb (which started the 'what the -?' sequence!) , it's been good for us. For other family members it is mixed- my mother finally had her knee operation, which has been completely successful; but Toby's mother has to have her knee operated on now, his grandmother fell and is still recuperating from breaking her leg, and my brother still does not know what caused the emergency surgery earlier this month. The main highlight this year for us was our holiday in Picton that we all talk about even now, 4 months later; and we are happy in our home (despite the toilet, front porch and wiring that desperately need fixing). I am settled for the first time in my adult life, and love the part of Ottawa we live in, and I have permanent work for the first time in 16 years! I suppose I could call it life continuing; and certainly things could have been worse. Holly-Anne could have been terribly hurt in the car accident in October, my son could have been stupider than he already has been this year and gotten caught by someone other than me, and my brother might have cancer. In the end, I'm just glad this year is over.
And yet, and yet - I finished the first draft of my novel, and that is what I am proudest of this year. It needs many rewrites etc! but it is an achievement in itself, and in spite of the continuing dramas in my life, I was able to find the quiet space to write in, that Doris Lessing in her Nobel Prize acceptance speech this year, said that writers needed to have in order to write. That space of my own, that solitude and quiet. In the midst of the chaos of life, I was able to create something more. I wouldn't trade my life for anything, now. I can hope for a quieter year, next year! And back to getting up at 5:30 a.m to write, since that is my quiet time of the day.
So as I look over my books read, and my accomplishments, victories, and defeats, I see it was a year in which I challenged myself - to write, to deepen my commitment to my spiritual beliefs, to find my way in love and trust it, and to begin to cut out the extraneous bits so I can live the life I dream of, where I have space to read, write, raise my children, love my family and friends, and create what is most meaningful to me. I wish the same for you, my Gentle Readers. Time this coming year to read, to make what is important to you a priority this year, to make your life reflect you. May you have a happy 2008 and find wondrous new books to read!
My year in books:
37 books read (wah! much less than I hoped for....)
Fiction - 33 Non-Fiction - 2
Mystery - 17
Fantasy - 12
Fiction - 3
Horror - 3
Oh well, not as many as I hoped for, but still, considering I work full-time and am raising 3 kids, not bad. Just have to read more and watch less tv! And considering I plan on doubling my books read for 2008......I have to confess, I can hardly wait until tomorrow! Jan 1, 2008, and I can begin reading all those lovely, wonderful new books on my shelves! Reading challenges, commence! Hurrah!