New year, same me

New year, same me

I rang in the new year the same way I have done for the past three years or so: in my bed, sleeping. Though I did wake up at just a few minutes past midnight because I was thirsty, and I took the opportunity to change the calendar in the kitchen.

The holidays put serious stress on my self-imposed publishing schedule. I like to be alone when I write, but the holidays mean that there are a lot of people in my house who aren’t going anywhere, and who want to look over my shoulder and read out loud.

Somehow, though, I managed to get something out every day. And to figure out a way forward for the next few weeks. I insist on publishing fiction every week because I feel that writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised. A year and a half ago, when I resumed writing in earnest (at least partly to spite my boss), I was happy to put out five hundred words in an hour. Now I’m typically clocking in about two thousand words in that same amount of time. And the words themselves are, I think, getting better, or at least getting as good as I can get them more quickly.

Continue reading “New year, same me”

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Around the year in a world 

Around the year in a world 

I started 2016 by getting into a car at four in the morning and driving from North Carolina to Florida. I’m going to ring the year out next week in my cute little house in Kampala, Uganda. In the twelve months in between I visited the Virgin Islands (British and American) and a resort in the Bahamas; I crossed Uzbekistan in a mix of planes, trains, and automobiles (not in that order but I couldn’t resist); left my wonderful apartment in Almaty, Kazakhstan (where I set an all-time record for the longest I’ve ever lived in one house in my life: three years, seven months, ten days); spent a fantastic summer bouncing up and down the East Coast (no real parenthetical to add here); and settled into my new life on a new continent.

In between there were a lot of good days, a small handful of bad days, quite a few great days, and some rather painful moments, most of them mercifully brief, that I will probably dwell on for years to come. Such is life.

The coming of a new year begs reflection. Something is ending, more substantive than an hour or a day, less complete than a life. Life goes on, essentially unchanged, but in a new book.

And after a year’s worth of churning and turning we’re right back at January, where we started. This time we can try to get it right, or at least better.