The month of January is associated with the Roman godlet Janus, conventionally pictured with two faces, one looking forward and one looking back. I’m looking forward at 2012 with subdued anticipation, wondering if the new year will be as much of a mixed bag as the old one was. Personally, during 2011, I felt as if I were skidding from one extreme to the other, in between every kind of loss and gain imaginable, both personal and professional. We lost my father, for one – the day after Christmas, 2010. Then I had a book to launch early in the year, and the sequel to it to finish in time for the Christmas rush – plus the all-in-one edition of the Trilogy. I had a round of speaking engagements – much fun ensuing from those, including keeping a straight face when urged to join the Sons of the Confederacy Ladies’ Auxiliary. I didn’t mention that my ever so-g-g-grandfather the Quaker abolitionist and Underground Railway safe-house keeper probably was a major disqualifier.
I severed a professional relationship with one publisher, and moved over to another, smaller and local publisher. I had sufficient paying projects as a free-lance writer and editor in 2011. Between the freelancing, my books and partnership in the Tiny Local Bidness, I didn’t need to take on a job such as I had to take some years ago, in a telephone call center. I’m starting off this year with a guest appearance on a local internet radio show – this Thursday afternoon at three CST on the Yankie Grant Show. For books in the new year? I’ll be working on the research for the next one for sure, a picaresque adventure set in California during the Gold Rush years. I’ve always wanted to write a novel about the Gold Rush, where an extraordinary number and variety of people came to California all at once, seeking their fortunes in the mines or from the miners.
A sudden freeze late in spring last year demolished just about all of the tender garden plants and hanging baskets. Over the summer we worked to revive it all – and wonder of wonders, I finally managed to grow tomatoes. In the fall, we found three patent grow-boxes put out for bulk trash – so in this new year we have ambitions to plant more tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash. Some of them will be in the grow-boxes, and some in the topsy-turvy planters hanging from the big mulberry tree. We have already designed an arrangement of 2x4s and chains so that we might be able to hang them in two rows.
At the end of this year just past, I paid off a long-term debt. Another such debt will be paid off in April, 2012. The mortgage, alas, still has another eight years to run – but this is progress that I just couldn’t see a couple of years ago. Through my daughter’s machinations and well-established fondness for animals, I have presented with two: a cat and a dog. The cat – elderly, half-blind and bad-tempered was adopted from anther home because she didn’t get along with a new puppy. The dog is a Maltese-poodle mix found, running loose in a neighborhood where no one recognized him. We thought sure that he had escaped from a fond and indulgent owner and returning him would be a piece of cake – but no, he was never claimed and now he is mine. He looks like the dog Toto in Wizard of Oz, save that his ears flop over rather than sticking up, and he is curled up in a basket under my desk as I write this. Hopefully, 2012 will not bring us any more animals.
My computer gave up the ghost shortly before Thanksgiving 2011; a happening long-predicted by my friend the computer tech so it did not come as a complete surprise. He very kindly moved all my files off the old hard drive and onto the new one, which is several times more powerful than the old one and has much more capacious storage. In 2012 I hope to be able to take fuller advantage of it. And to replace certain of the programs that I had on the old one with their up-to-the-minute versions.
So – looking forward – looking back. I hope 2012 won’t be as much of a bumpy ride as 2011, but I am buckling up, as it very likely will.