The end of one year and beginning of the new, a blazing explosion, a fiery goblet, and a burning regret that leads to a wall-eyed morning and the numerical designation of 2014. For the Chinese it is the Year of the Horse, whose formal beginning is January 31, close enough for me. One born this year is slated to be good with their hands, cheerful, and smart with money. With nothing more sure than astrological signs or a tarot deck, I attempt to predict my future year. The shifting constellations, a foggy crystal ball, one flick of cards, and I sit at Buddha’s feet, wondering along with all the other critters. At what strange place have I been lodged and what new port will welcome me? What might I commit to complete before the Year of the Sheep begins to bah?
In many ways, it will be the same, the same address and the same routine and the same faces that regard me with winks or heaving sighs. In other ways it will all be new, as if I’ve been cast off a space ship and jettisoned to a new galaxy where I can’t breathe. It’s this insecurity that keeps me from making resolutions, the near certain knowledge that no matter what I plan, it will be unlikely to proceed toward success. On less than one hand – really, on fewer than the knuckles on one finger – can I count my writing successes for this past year. I’ve written, yes, that I have. I started my own blog, Sharon Bonin-Pratt’s Ink Flare, Sparked by Words . WordPress, the host for the Today’s Author site and my own blog, honored me with a Freshly Pressed Award for a post I wrote in July. (Yes, a little shameless self promotion here. The Bieb does it; so do Madonna and Chris Christie, and they are all featured on the whoop-de-do magazines and TV programs, not always for being good, either.) It was a blog laurel with which I was so unfamiliar that I had to ask around, “What is this? A good thing?” “Sure, be proud,” they said.
Then came the readers, lots of them, with kind comments and pats on the back. I extend my most sincere thanks to all of you. I felt like a writer, a real bona fide writer. And finally, finally, I got a new full time job after several insecure years with only part time employment and steadily mounting bills. My writing has been recognized as decent, and my wan bank account is now supplemented with a paycheck. Those are the knuckles, raw with counting coup.
But the open door to an agent, the contract with an editor, the published book in hand, those glories did not happen. Admittedly, mostly my own fault. One must write, query, contact like tackle football if one is to tender a relationship with the publishing world. I didn’t, and that’s why I hesitate to write a set of resolutions for 2014. No point in promising what will be a certified failure. What writing I wanted most to work on, my books, got shunted to the side track of my circus, and the horsey bodes more obligations than will leave me time to write. This post is not a pity party and I’m not looking for sympathy or an easy pass to achievement. All that must be earned. I am in a way a victim of my own success. The full time teaching position sits on my time sheet like a lover in my hammock. Won’t budge it, can’t live without it. The two blogs need writing attention on regular basis, and I’m having difficulty with this on a regular basis.
What is wrong with me that I can’t muster a resolution for the New Year? It’s not just laziness or past experience, though their wrinkled lines are hard to smooth. It’s not simply presumption of failure which makes me quake. Most people don’t like that bitter taste and I can hardly be blamed for conformity. It’s that I truly loathe not being able to keep a commitment. I can’t tolerate saying that I will do this set of resolutions in 2014, then fail to keep my word. I want some measure of probable success, a reasonable percentage point I can bet on. I want to know if I state that this writer will finalize all three books I’ve started, will send out x number of queries, will write 100 posts for Ink Flare, and n amount for Today’s Author, that you can count every single page and post and get to 99%. Many raw knuckles.
Still, it is the first days of the year. I can make an effort. Nothing pricked in blood on parchment. Here it is:
I will try to write on a regular basis, to complete what I’ve started, to submit my work for genuine consideration, to make my dream come true.
Best I can do.
Be well, friends.