The Year of the Book

The Year of the Book

There is almost nothing in my life I would claim to have figured out.  I suck at crafting traditions.  For a mom, I really suck at Christmas, though my Christmas Fettuccine was fantastic this year.  (What, you don’t derive your holiday traditions from Nancy Meyers’ films?)   But I have found a way to start each year that makes me very happy, because it feels doable.  It comes with no measurement, only purpose.  

As I mentioned last year, I don’t do resolutions – I only set an intention, an area of focus for the year.  2021 was the Year of the Book.  I chose to spend a lot of time on a collection of essays I’ve had in process for YEARS.  When a last minute class opportunity came up that would get me help on my project, I forked over the money and showed up.  When an acquaintance offered writing coaching, I ponied up time and cash for that too.  The notion of choosing an area of focus means I make that thing a priority for my time and resources.  It is about effort, not about outcome.  But this time, I really wanted to finish the goddamn thing.  

While it is not done, I got it as far as I could on my own.  And I have the path charted to its completion.  The class I took?  Its amazing instructor taught me how important an editorial collaboration is to fulfill one’s own creative vision.  “You don’t need an editor,” he said.  “You deserve one.”  Thanks to his wisdom, my draft starts the new year in a gifted editor’s hands.  My joy over this is immense.  My kids are great at Christmas, despite my poor example, and my daughter painted this canvas to commemorate the milestone.  

Painting by Charlotte Johnson

My drive to write more became a desire to read more.  An unintended achievement was that I read more books than in previous years.  Between audio and paper, I read 42 books.  If you can read my handwriting, the list is here.  I tried to pick a favorite and couldn’t, but Ann Patchett features prominently with good reason.  I noticed structure as I read more than before, and Ann Patchett knows structure.  

2022 is The Year of the Home, a strange urge to nest just as my nest begins to empty.  In a year and a half my children will all be adults, most likely college students.  Hopefully my nesting will make coming home more appealing?  We will see.  I will finish my book, a carryover from 2021, and will probably read quite a few too.  I will clock my hiking mileage throughout the year, a legacy of 2020’s Year of the Hike.  And most of all, I will work on making my home more…. homey.

I don’t know what this year will hold, but I have faith in the power of choosing my focus at its start.  Whatever 2022 brings, my life will be enriched by where I place my attention.