I do this annual best of the year with salt thing. Well I did. It’s a random collection of good things from the year and I think I’ve written one the last five years maybe. This blog is my writer/reader/reviewer/lit blog. I no longer keep a personal journal though I hand-wrote a diary from 11 until 31ish. I like to get my old diaries out of the cupboard occasionally and re-read. There are some familiar passages, many deeply cringey parts, and some unexpected forgotten details that suddenly blaze a path to my past self. This blog will never be like that; I am myself here, only I rarely discuss truly personal things. That’s why this year I have been so quiet.
My role as mummy has dominated a year of crisis. I’ve had people I thought were friends drop me and my family from their lives. I’ve been stung by judgemental attitudes and ignorant assumptions. I’ve had to prove myself over and over. I’ve lost heart, faith and patience. I’ve been told I’m not alone and then been left alone. I’ve been told help was coming only for it never to arrive. I’ve watched those I love fall apart and break. I’ve tried to patch them together. I’ve been ill and been told that stress won’t help. Ha! At one truly dark point I lost hope. Oh, there were several truly dark points actually.
In the midst of this turdy year there have been flashes of shine. Old friends have reappeared, new ones have been made. Unexpected people calmly accept situations and apparently see it as no big thing to offer friendship and support. Out of the blue an email arrives and sparkles. A phone call, a smile, a text, a blog comment – these things matter when you’re hanging on by a thread. Thank you to all who have helped get me through. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Time for writing has been rare but some words have been written. I am most proud of being published in PANK, wigleaf and Neon this year. I made the final 10 in The Glass Woman Prize. I was on a few longlists/shortlists.
Other good things include being a first reader for PANK – something I view as a privilege and invaluable learning experience – and working in a fantastic online writers group.
So, bests of the year? I really have no idea as the year is one big mash in my noggin. I’ve loved the Mumford and Sons album, and Eminem’s Recovery. I’ve enjoyed watching Sherlock but can’t remember much other TV. I’ve read thousands of short stories. Stand outs are from Kirsty Logan, Roxane Gay and Susannah Rickards. I discovered Breece D’J Pancake (and named my rescue kitty after him.) I bought the much fetéd Lydia Davis collection but have yet to crack its spine.
I had to cancel my Arvon trip and in the whole year I doubt I wrote a single word of the novel. In my mind it twists and changes. It can’t have the ending I originally planned, can it? Short stories swim and blur. Flash fiction became a necessity. I need to write to stay sane but I have no time.
I wish for 2011 to be a year of kindness. I hope to write. I readjust my goals with the reality of my life. I wish you well.