I tend to start off each year with high hopes for what I’ll be able to achieve â€” and 2019 was no different. But looking back, the first half of the year was a struggle for me. Having set myself a single goal for the year, I was pushing and punishing myself to finish a novel that wasnâ€™t connecting for me. That frustration overshadowed a lot of my work and my perception of my value as a writer.
When people asked me what I was up to, I often answered that I was hermiting â€” which sounds like a purposeful withdrawal from word in order to delve into self reflection. However, in reality, I was hiding, too timid to come out of my shell.
But recent months have been more positive. Letting go of the need to finish the novel was the wisest decision I made, providing a huge sense of relief. Subsequently participating in National Novel Writing Month and allowing myself space to dive into a new story and just enjoy the process of writing was a giant boon for me. The work was no less difficult, but the joy of writing was more present.
And then, I recently learned that Corvid QueenÂ nominated my short story â€œHow Bluebeard Endsâ€ for a Pushcart Prize â€” a delightful acknowledgement for a story that was rejected numerous times before finding a home. (Hereâ€™s all the wonderful works Corvid Queen nominated.)
These recent wins have provided me a different perspective on my year. Looking back with a more positive lens, I can see more clearly the huge amount of work Iâ€™ve done.
I had three poems published this in the year â€” â€œBelatedly, The Refusalâ€Â (Glass: A Journal of Poetry), â€œA Little Background Informationâ€ (Cotton Xenomorph), and “Bride of Frankenstein: Our Lady of Rage” (Star*Line). I’ve also received an acceptance for a project coming out next year that I canâ€™t quite announce yet.
I’ve also done a tremendous amount of work on my blog, publishing around 70 posts. Among these, Iâ€™ve conducted 15 interviews with poets â€” seven Poet Spotlights on my blog and eight podcast interviews for New Books in Poetry (the fact that I started cohosting a podcast alone is a wonder). Not to mention the number of other blogs, newsletters, poems, stories, and projects that Iâ€™ve have been and am continuing to work on.
I’m grateful for this year. I’m grateful for words â€” those I’ve written and those I’ve read. I’m grateful for the breath in my lungs, for the rain pattering outside my window, and for the cozy sweater wrapped around me. I’m grateful for making it through the adventures and struggles this year has brought me â€” and I’m grateful to you for being here to share the journey.