How is it already February? Wasn’t it just a few days ago we were eating Christmas leftovers and pulling down lights and decorations? Who pressed the fast forward button?
I’ve been slack at posting on my blog lately. Summer Down Under has been busy. I’m realising that on this side of the planet, everything comes at once: the end of the school year, Christmas, New Year, holidays, birthdays, road trips and visitors from the north seeking sunshine. It’s been fun but frenzied and so it is with a (small) sigh of relief that I eye my increasingly empty calendar and see the weeks stretching ahead where I can submerge myself once more in my unruly third novel.
For me personally, 2013 was a year of great highs and lows. I waved my son off at the school gates and watched him thrive in his first year of Kindergarten, I travelled back to the UK for my little brother’s gorgeously snowy Yorkshire wedding; I sent The Shadow Year out into the world and had the amazing good fortune of touring Australia with Get Reading!.
Halfway through the year, our family was rocked by the death of my cousin Jack, who died in a climbing accident in Wales. Jack was a young man of great principle and his death has left a tragic void for all of us – especially my aunt Sara, uncle David and cousin Anna. It was an honour to be able to write about Jack in a piece for the Independent last October.
I’m not one for rigorous resolutions and beating myself up about missing targets or goals or eating too many puddings, but my aim for 2014 is to learn a little from my cousin’s carpe diem attitude, as well to achieve a little more balance. I want to focus more on family and general well-being. So as well as delivering my third novel to my publishers (new contract for books 3 & 4 just signed – yippee!), I’m determined to do more running … more reading … to keep trying new things … and when I am in that writing chair, to heed Henry Miller’s excellent commandments:
So, is it far too late for me to wish you a Happy New Year and ask what you have planned for 2014?
I’d love to hear … x