Friday, December 20, 2013

Last Post of the Year

I feel compelled to reflect on this year, but it's been a really bad one. 

I think the only good things I have to say about this year are:
  • I finally took the step to start graduate school, something I wish I had done twenty years ago.  I love it, and I'm getting more out of it than I had expected. 
  • I got closer to my sister, but under the absolute worst of circumstances.
  • My leg and foot are definitely getting better.  If you don't know me, I have had nerve damage and incredible pain for more than four years.  The benefit of this is other things like shingles and mammograms and needle biopsies don't hurt so much in comparison. 
  • I figured out how to execute the research I need to do for my historical novels and did a huge amount of the research.
I end the year with shingles on my head and face.  It's not getting better.  My doctor said it won't until I boost up my immune system....with lots of sleep and pampering and rest and relaxation...the things I don't have and don't know how to get.  Crap.

My one regret this year is I didn't write every day.  I took huge lapses in time when I did research but didn't write.  For me, the writing is therapeutic in the same way going on a vacation is.  It's my happy place because I can go anywhere without the hassle of a long car trip or the TSA or having to breathe in other people's air on an airplane, which is just terrifying. 

In 2014 I am going to do these things, not to push myself but because I think it will make me happy and/or less stressed:
  1. Give up coffee and switch to green tea because it makes me less spazzy.
  2. Strive to write every day for at least 20 minutes. 
  3. Strive to exercise every day for 20 minutes - apparently this is the key to sleeping normally.
  4. Meditate every day (just before writing).
  5. Participate in Write1Sub1 and actually do it instead of just thinking about what a good idea it is.  See my little list on the right for the link.
  6. Write a collection of creepy short stories during my Poe class (January-April).
  7. Finish edits to One Small Betrayal (which is also creepy in a Poe kind of way).
  8. Carry on with my historical fiction.
  9. Interview my great aunt with my mom.
My great aunt is my maternal grandmother's sister and my grandfather's sister-in law.  Her husband was my maternal grandfather's brother.  That apparently happened a lot in tiny little coal towns before people had cars.  The more I talk to her, the more ideas I get for stories.  She's the last one with the history (a very dramatic history) of my mother's side of the family.  She's in bad health.  And she agreed to be interviewed, not for my novels especially, but so I can write up the actual family stories for my cousins and their kids so it's not lost.

My mom and I have had a complex relationship. This year, she has been amazing about helping me with research, talking to people about questions I have, collecting family stories for me, and simply looking at pictures of coal towns to help me figure out to lay out my fictional town. 

This is my last post of the year.  I hope you all have a relaxing and joyful Christmas and New Year.


  1. Exercise will definitely help you sleep better!
    Glad your mother has been helping. Hope next year is a little better for you!

  2. I'm sorry to hear the shingles hasn't gotten better. I hope it will soon.
    Merry Christmas and Happy 2014 to you, Tonja. I hope next year is much better for you.

  3. I love your new site and have missed you! Yay on loving grad school and figuring out research. Boo on that coffee idea. Or at least it would be "boo" for me. lol

  4. Sorry it's been a while since I've visited (but you're in good company, as I've slacked off on quite a bit of online reading, blogs and otherwise). I like your wallpaper, quite a lot!

    I know you and your family suffered a terrible loss this year. My heart goes out to you all.

    I'm so pleased for you on going to grad school. Wish I could afford to do the same! I regret not writing more, too, and I also intend to make some changes to my life so that I can balance it more. Good luck to you with all your goals for 2014!!!!!

  5. Oh yes; I really can't wait to learn more about your Poe-inspired stuffs!!! I went to the Morgan Library and Museum just last Friday, for a Poe exhibit that's leaving around Jan. 26, I think. Lots of manuscripts, originals, in his fine handwriting!!!!! And letters, too. There was a section which covered those writers/artists who were inspired by Poe's work, some of which I knew (Baudelaire, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and others who surprised me (Walt Whitman! Though I don't think he was exactly a fan of Poe's, he did, I think, respect the man's work).

  6. Have a great New Year! I'm glad to hear of your progress.