Friday, December 29, 2017

Another year, another resolution?

The end of the year is a time of rituals—holidays to be celebrated, the turning of one year to another, reviewing last year’s resolutions and compiling a new list for the coming year. I began this post thinking that I too would have a list of resolutions for 2018, but then I paused. Why?

The list of resolutions for 2018 could write itself because I’m essentially the same person I was around this time last year and the year before and the many years before that. For me it’s all about writing. We grow and learn and change, but the core of who we are remains the same. I like to think I learn to be kinder in certain challenging situations, or that I have learned new diplomatic skills. Perhaps I have, perhaps not. But in a list of resolutions, which will revolve around writing, no one will glean all that happened in the previous year, and when I look back, what I feel is gratitude.

My husband faced a life-changing health scare three years ago, and he faced it as he faces everything—quietly, and with determination. Today he’s out walking the dog in zero degree weather (not in his usual shorts, though) and chatting with the neighbors. He used the snow blower on the driveway and I shoveled the walk and cleaned off the car.

I had what turned out to be a startling but not life-threatening health issue, and I’ve turned to doctors who listen to me, explain things carefully while looking at me (and not at their computer), answer questions, and let me make my own choices. I’m grateful for all of this, including my underlying good health.

In the last year I finished the first in a new series, my agent (yay, Paula!) found a publisher (Midnight Ink), and I’m working on the second in the series. When I think of this three-book contract, I hear F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous remark, “There are no second acts in American lives.” And I know he’s wrong. Almost every mystery writer I know has emerged from one or more rejections to write a new series, a second act as it were. Along with the new series I’m working on a series of short stories set in rural America based on ideas that have been rattling around in my head for some time.

There is much about this year that leaves me sad and frustrated and sometimes enraged, not the least of which is our government and its leader. But I’m grateful for my copy of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and for the many good citizens who work to uphold the rule of law.

This is what I’ll carry with me into the New Year—gratitude for all that I have, good work to look forward to, family and friends doing well, and a hope for a better future for our democracy. I'll skip the resolutions for this year.