Retrospective 2011

As each year draws to a close, I like to take the time to look back at the twelve months that have just passed. I can't get them back. So, what went well? And what could have gone better? More than anything 2011 was a good writing year for me. I saw two novels into print and had seven short stories accepted for publication. I also made the discovery that I'm not any good at marketing. So that's something to focus on during 2012.

When I embarked on a writing life, I thought it would encompass, well, writing. And it does. It also includes lots of editing. I spend probably three times as long editing books as I do writing them. Then there's marketing. Oh yes, I already mentioned that. Back to editing. I'm fairly certain writing and editing come from vey different parts of the brain. One is creative process, the other nit-picky, niggling put this word here, ah no, put it there kinds of decisions. I find I can edit when I'm tired. I need to be fresh, though, to write.

Other than writing, 2011 was the year I retired--well, sort of since I'm still working. The experts--whoever they are--suggest a segue into retirement is smoother than an abrupt shift. What I've found is still having all the responsibility for something, with half the time to fulfill it, is downright scary. I'm hoping I get out of here with all my parts intact. Only another month or so to go, so it's looking better than it looked awhile back.

And then there's the weird weather pattern. The high passes in the Sierras weren't really open until late August, leaving about a six week window for serious backpacking. Now, here it is December and it feels like spring. In the meantime, the midwest is being slammed with blizzards. Sometimes I think the premise in many of my stories that we've terminally damaged our ecosystem isn't far off the mark.

2011 was also the year my last parent crossed the veil. It feels strange not being able to pick up the phone and call her. Mother was a lifetime reader. I'm sure my love of books and reading came from her. I am touched and humbled that the last book she read in this life was mine. I wish she could have lived to see the second one come out. I dedicated it to her. I'm really lucky in lots of ways. One of them was to have had a parent survive so far into my adult life. Many of my friends lost theirs decades ago.

Like all years, the one nearly gone was a mix of joys and sorrows. But that's a metaphor for life. Kahil Gibran said it's the selfsame vessel that contains both one's joy and one's sorrow. If you try to avoid one, you limit your ability to experience the other. Grateful for the lessons of 2011, I'm looking forward to what 2012 will bring.


  1. I'm grateful too for this year's lessons. Enjoyed your post, and enjoyed a visit to your website too.


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