Friday, December 30, 2011

Tiptoeing into 2012

I'm not keen on New Year resolutions. You know, the sort where you pledge to give up something or lose a ridiculous amount of weight in next to no time. They are the sort which you break almost immediately and then cause you guilt.

But I have been taking a look at my life and how I can better prioritise in 2012. The last few months of 2011 have been a rollercoaster, from a desperate low to a fantastic high and back to low again. It's not been easy and some things had to give, mostly my creative writing, which made me sad.

In terms of writing, my currently small scale commercial work has to take first place, as it reliably pays. I then intend to concentrate on short stories for a few months, whilst I further flesh out my plot for novel two. Having already made one false start on novel two, I've had to go back to the drawing board, and will eventually start to write again in a different genre, with a different main character and more plot points on the scaffold. But I'll get there, I really will.

I also need to start sending Walking on Tiptoe out again. It is currently out with a few agents but I suspect that the silence from two of those can by now be construed as a no. I think that this will be the year when I start sending it out to indie publishers, whilst also looking into electronic possibilities. I'd love to see it on the Kindle one day, but if I go down that route I'd probably need help with the cover and formatting, which is fairly complex, and I don't have the funds to invest right now.

2012 promises to be an interesting year for the boys. If all goes to plan we will be waving Son 1 off to his first choice university in the autumn, whilst concurrently making plans for Son 2's future. This is likely to be less straightforward.

I have a secret project, which I hope to start working on quietly in the background during the year, building perhaps towards something for the future, when the nest is finally empty.

Last, but definitely not least, December has shown me that I need to take even more care to preserve my health. I'm doing okay, but there is still room for improvement, still a need to be more selfish sometimes and take a little more time out for myself. Recently I have felt as if I am spending almost every waking hour either caring or working (I include thinking about work here!) and my body is telling me that it can't continue. It's difficult to balance Hubby's ad hoc work against my needs but obviously the guaranteed money has to take priority at times.

So what are your plans for 2012?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Can you believe that Fairytale of New York by The Pogues, featuring the late Kirsty MacColl, was first released in 1987? No, neither can I. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Thirty years on

This time last week I travelled into the West End to meet up with six friends from university. Two I hadn't seen since our graduation day almost thirty years ago, others I hadn't seen for at least seven years and the last meeting with some of those was sadly at a funeral.

It was a reunion which grew out of a chance comment on Facebook and an effort to get in touch with the fellow students for whom I still had contact details, some of whom then brought in others. The only thing we all have in common is that we studied single or joint honours German at The University of Reading in the same year group. But it was amazing how we immediately fell back into easy conversation. Someone brought along the departmental photo (which I'd missed as I was at a job interview) and time was spent trying to recall the names of other students and sharing anecdotes. I was glad to discover I was not the only person who struggled to put names to the familiar faces in the picture.

Some of those present had lived in my hall of residence, others spent the year abroad in the same location as me. As well as the memories we talked about families, jobs and our fears that some of our children will be going out into the world during a recession, just as we did. I wonder if our career paths might have taken different courses if that had not been the case.

Whether or not we ever manage to get together as a group again, the afternoon was life-affirming. It showed that most people's lives don't follow the path they had expected, yet we have all survived. And it proved that friendships based on shared experiences never quite die, however long they are neglected.