Hello, 2023.

I took time off to be with my family while they were home. My husband isn’t quite sure what to do – today is his 18th day off in a row (extra vacation – use it or lose it) and he goes back tomorrow, along with the kids. I’ve seen so many memes about coming in, being quiet, and nobody yelling that this is your year, but being the best version of myself isn’t claiming anything about the year.

There’s a quiet time for me between Winter Solstice and the new calendar year. I often choose a new notebook and find some goals I’m ready to work on, whether they’re new or not. Writing always makes that list, no matter what I did the year before.

I joined 750words in 2011. In the last 12 years, I’ve written over 4 million words, and that’s just what was tracked on the site. There are usually blog posts, handwritten ideas, and all sorts of rewrites that aren’t tracked. I learned a lot. For 2022, it was around 252,000 words, and I didn’t write in March. (Mom died, and before that I traveled a lot to see her in hospice. It’s very difficult to give myself permission not to do my words, but this was the time it was appropriate.)

Within my projects during 2022, I had a story published. I have a couple stories out for consideration, and I managed a decent rewrite of the first book in the space western series. I also had a couple other ideas for extended series or novella length works. I’m hoping to continue the series and see how many others I can develop.

While I’m still working on my revised goals for the year, I’m going to start the second book rewrite as well as a short story this week (the one I didn’t finish by the 31 Dec deadline). I have my new notebook lined up, and I’m excited to see what happens with both of the projects. By the time I finish one of them, I’ll have another to work on. Some of you know my love of paper – so my project binder as well as this year’s notebook are below.

Home From the Reunion

It might seem odd to some, that I went to a high school reunion this weekend for a school from which I didn’t technically graduate. However, I moved there for the last bit of third grade and stayed to the end of tenth grade, and we were more well-known to each other than I could manage from any other school I attended K-12. (There were six others. It’s probably a wonder I managed to stay in one place so long.)

It was disappointing that more of my classmates couldn’t make it, but I was pleased to see some of our elementary school teachers. One fourth, fifth, and sixth grade teacher were in attendance, only one of them still a full-time teacher. I suppose that ought to remind me how long ago elementary school was. While I wasn’t in that particular fourth grade section, I had both the others.

When I saw them (and it took a little bit for us to recognize each other), I remembered how many stories I made them sit and read through in my journal at the time. I always wanted to be a writer. It wasn’t understood to me at the time that I was a writer – one who writes. I filled the journal even then at different paces, some days filling in pages with my messy scrawl and others barely the minimum requirement. I don’t think they watched me too much on the minimum. I’m glad I got the chance to thank them for reading all that stuff I was so intent on spinning out.

Have you thanked a teacher lately? Especially one who took the time to encourage you when you were younger and make sure you weren’t so overwhelmed or lost that you gave up entirely? I know a lot of people think about teachers not as people but as little units of things that ought to get done. Perhaps it just seems that way during union talks or when there are cuts or something like No Child Left Behind. (Don’t get me started on that one.) Are there teachers out there you remember who helped you out? Who gave you something interesting to look forward to?

They hadn’t heard I was a published author now. Sometimes word travels slow, even in the small towns where I once attended a school that only seems familiar to the locals. Perhaps they’ll carry the word onward to the others who might have taught me. My former classmates got to see The Art of Science, too. Some of them have kids that age already, which is hard for me to imagine, since mine are 2.5 and forthcoming.

I’m really glad I went to the reunion. Despite my missing classmates, I did get to catch up with a few I really wanted to see. And here’s to all the rest who perhaps missed me there, and maybe I’ll catch them in another five years or more.