I’m not one for overly sentimental end-of-year posts, nor overly precious goal-setting. I find both mawkish and mildly suffocating. I do like to timestamp my life every once in awhile, however. I try to be curious, not judgemental or harsh or concerned or prideful. A written meditation, of sorts.
Spoiler alert: I am happy.
This year started off with heartache, as my friend and mentor Jason passed away. Only days before his passing, we’d met to discuss two productions I wanted him to work on with me. In his way, he agreed without bartering or guilt, only excitement, a discerning eye, and acerbic wit.
His death changed me. I have Jason’s voice in my ear when I need it, encouraging me. Prodding. Critiquing. His passing cemented the need to have high standards for my work, to be available to others who need mentoring, and to give myself permission to work with people who are excited about working with me and on that particular project. It is an unfortunate reality of theater, particularly sketch and musical comedy, that participants have one eye on the show and one eye elsewhere, usually another show or a review. “What’s next? What’s the end game?”
I am in a writing partnership with a wonderful team, working on a short film. It has been an excruciatingly slow process, as we all have jobs and commitments and responsibilities, but the work is good.
Writing has always been a respite, the kind of work that never felt like work. It’s calming and invigorating. Rather than gravitating to joyful writing, though, for the last 20 years, I inhaled deeply the Puritanical atoms that linger in this American air and believed work needed to be work. Even the fun work, like performing, needed a whiff of burden. I still enjoy performing, of course, but there are fewer calls for relatively inexperienced, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-Spanx, hard-to-embarrass 40-something women. (I’m available!)
I lept this year. Scary Mommy published one of my pieces, which was thrilling and brazen and showed me very quickly that I have much to offer and much more to learn.
I took several online writing courses and enjoyed being a student. If it hadn’t been an online course, I would have gleefully skipped to the store and purchased many composition notebooks and pencils. Instead, I purchased notebooks and folders for my own work (which I printed out) and the wisdom of the instructors and my classmates. I grew stronger and more humble as a writer.
There are many wonderful online writing classes. Do try the HerStory Project courses specifically and that website in general.
I had two essays accepted for publication in two anthologies that will be coming out in the spring. My head spins and my heart races. I have another essay that will be published online in a few weeks (stay tuned!) and two that are awaiting a decision. Another essay will be resubmitted at the request of the editors for a separate anthology.
I had three rejections. The rejections mean I am taking a risk and living my version of, if not The Dream, at least A Dream.
NaNoWriMo 2015 changed my life, helping me separate the writing from the rewriting, the art from the science, the whoosh of creation from the drudgery of editing. I wrote and breathed for what felt like the first time in twenty years. The writing has waited patiently for me and now I cannot get to it enough. 2000 words a day now; I have 30 or 40 works in progress that now need some hand holding (or, more correctly, a smart rap on the knuckles) to reach completion.
I still miss Jason and hope somewhere he is peeking over my shoulder at my Submittable page and nodding sagely with a twinkle in his eye.
2015. The Year of WorkFun.
Coming Soon: my 2015 knitting creations (unfortunate and otherwise) and favorite books and other consumables (all fortunate) and my least awful status updates, blog posts, and photos. These will be spicier, because what’s the holiday season without a little oomph?