This is the week where I take some time (usually) to consider my life in the previous year. This naturally reflects some on what I will want in the year to come, despite the fact that I am not one for advance planning-- one of my personality quirks. It complicates vacations in places like Yellowstone, where if you don't plan in advance, you don't go-- so sometimes I must plan ahead, like it or not.
There have been years where I took the time between Christmas and New Years to write goals for the coming year. Those got increasingly complex, divided into categories like spiritual, emotional, and physical. I rarely looked at them as the year would go on. Mostly, I'd look at them when I got to this week where I could see if writing them down had changed anything.
During my fifties, with my kids raised and new possibilities out there, I created soul collages aimed at visualizing what elements I would want in my life. In my sixties, I did less considering what I wanted. Maybe I was doing what I'd wanted or simply recognizing some of those things were never happening. Until my seventies, even subliminal goals didn't relate to aging. The truth is as you go through middle age, things don't change a lot. Once you get into old age, there are more differences that realistically must be taken into account in lifestyle choices.
I think there is some virtue in living each day with intention, but too often I don't. I just live them and don't think much about it beyond what I want for that hour or maybe what to eat or watch or read.
In my fifties, when I made vision collages (3 of them), I didn't realize I was creating collages about my books, not my life as such. I kept thinking they weren't doing anything until I saw they had-- just not as I'd expected. That's kind of familiar in terms of how my life works out. What I think is for one reason often turns out to be not so much.
When I look at 2017, it was a tough year for so many people. Some of that was those on the left who were disappointed in the country and that the goals they had believed more shared had not been by those on the right. With many of us living in bubbles, it's easy to think that's how the nation is. The truth is we are very divided for what we believe is good. Many Americans felt we were going the wrong way for 8 years and 2017 was a needed correction. Many found that horrifying and it has led to a lot of name-calling with a chasm that can divide a family and end longtime friendships.
Exactly how 2018 will shake out is uncertain. I wasn't as upset about the political changes as some, mostly because as someone in the middle politically, nobody does all I want; so I'm always wishing it was different. For a moderate, we often wish for a 'none of the above' option, which we don't get.
In 2017, on a personal level, things went in ways that don't make me very happy but that I can't impact or even see what is right-- so I won't be discussing any of that. I'll stick to discussing my work-- writing. It was not a productive year, with only one new book. If had been writing novellas, with my word count of 140,000, I'd have had three or four books, but mine are longer. I've been writing on the fourth in the Hemstreet Witches series since September and only hope to get the rough draft done by the end of the year-- with editing to come.
In 2016, there had been five-- the year before that even more. I can't explain the reason for the drop in production-- and writing does involve production. I read what other authors produced and felt like-- seriously, what went wrong with me in '17? There are a lot of possibilities. Maybe it was just one of those things-- not my year for creating new books.
I am hoping 2018 will be a stronger year for work. I hope it'll be kinder to people where life has dealt some heavy blows in '17. I hope that the world will look for solutions to problems that help and don't hurt. I have a lot of hopes. I always do at this time of the year.
When I made the decision to add Diane to this blog as a co-author, I didn't realize it would be for me as much as for the readers here. I like the contrast in thinking-- how she writes what I would never think about. I hope blog readers also like it. There have been some big ups and downs in readership numbers, but if you do something because it feels right, it has to be for how it impacts you, as we can't guarantee anyone else will feel the same-- with books, paintings, poetry, photography or any other creative endeavor. It's about feeding the inner vision, and we do that by doing that.
This is the first painting we ever bought from Diane. She gave us a very affordable price since we were still in graduate school. She had painted it from a 1966 trip the four of us had taken to the Mogollon Rim in Arizona for an Easter break. Good memories from that trip where we rented a log home, which we shared (along with our black cat of the time, Sheba)-- one of many such trips through the years (the others minus the cats).