The last manuscripts are in writer's hands, my writing turns toward addressing Christmas cards, and the only supplies I'm buying are wrapping paper and tape. At this time of the year, I take stock of that which has passed this year and consider the one that is on the cusp. It's been a busy and fruitful year for my writing profession. Clients near and far work diligently to craft stories of importance in their lives. I'm so grateful they trust me with their work and their lives.
What would I do without her! If you are lucky enough to have an accountability partner you know what this means, to meet weekly with someone to keep focused on the work at hand. Between Annette Januzzi Wick and me, publications abound, tears shed, coffee drank over the past, what? 7 or 8 years. But one of our proudest accomplishments is Gugel Alley Writers.
The circle will celebrate the one year anniversary on January 17 with a public read around at Roebling Books & Coffee. We love gathering as Gugel Alley Writers each Wednesday at Roebling Books & Coffee https://www.roeblingbooks.com/ .
My journal is filled with prompts and pieces of writing generated in the circle that may someday see the light of day in some form. Beyond the work, relationships have deepened in ways I never thought possible. We are a cadre of artists and writers who cozy up to a cup of coffee and some free wheeling conversations, always centered on writing.
Speaking of Roebling, the year would not be celebrated if I didn't remind readers of the cover story I wrote for Kentucky Monthly Magazine on the bookstore and Richard Hunt, owner and creator of this beautiful piece of Northern Kentucky.
And another piece of my writing will be published in an anthology with an organization called: Awfully Hilarious, https://awfullyhilarious.com/ . It's my first foray into humor writing. Can't wait for the pub date in March. I will be sure to keep you posted.
And coming in 2024, a new addition to the website! During the pandemic, I created a little box and installed it in my front yard with the simple words: 100 Word Stories. I randomly check it for new additions but until recently there hadn't been any. But to inventive writers have contributed a number of pieces that I will share in a corner of the website.
My website will have a new look in 2024. I'm loving the design by Lauren Whaley, freelance designer https://www.facebook.com/spectrumgraphicdesign/. Now if only someone would light a fire under me to get the copy completed, we could roll this baby out. Until then, here is a sneak peek at the front page:
Of Home and Hearth
Methodically, as if I can depend on it, the lights on the rail and porch snap on at precisely 5:20 a.m. each morning. The world is deeply dark at that moment and I love the pop of white and colored light-a gift it seems-for me alone. No one is about on the sidewalk, the street; my dog at my feet. My husband, the architect of the timely illumination, fast asleep. I pull memories from Christmas lights and attempt to marry them to the present moment.
The other day, I went to the cemetery to check for my brother's headstone installation. He and my other brother's ashes buried with my parents, my grandparents in a family plot. It felt like something of a Christmas party. I spoke into the wind of our tree, the lights shining through beveled glass, 6 oz. glass bottled Cokes for the grandkids, a picture I found in a drawer.
The definition of family has historically included this now concretized version of family. But for some reason, two years after my last family-of-origin member passed, I look to the families I create: my children and husband, friends so stalwart and strong. I set my sights on the last of the presents sent, the candles that will alight the Christmas Eve table, the wafting aromas of cinnamon mingling with sharp odors of motor oil from U.P.S. trucks, mushroom brother for risotto that reminds me of Italy where the dried fungi originated, and lemony hand soap.
We nestle into this time in ritual, both religious and pagan with keen eyes turned to the expectations for the new year. Questions abound, answers yet to come, and we/I feel gratitude for the one or two seconds more of light each day from here on out.