Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thank you for the Year of the Rat

Today is the final day of my creative year. While the Western calendar runs from 1st January until the 31st December and that’s the way life goes if you live in a Western country, I choose however to run my creative year as a writer, to the Chinese Calendar.

As a lunar calendar, the Chinese Year seems such a better idea to work with as a creative type. I guess you could say this is almost the darkness of the new moons for the year – the last one of the year. Tomorrow not only does a new lunar cycle start with the new moon, but a whole new lunar year.

I have been cleaning out my inboxes and getting rid of emails that have been sitting there unread. While I have taken to doing this on a regular basis to stop everything being jammed up (I’m certain now that creative qi on your computer gets trapped in old emails and the likes) – it was an all out clean up today. Once I have posted this – I will go and attack my desk – strip out all the books, move my printer, and clean down everything. Later on I’ll give the whole area a thorough smudging.

While the house was quiet, and my son and partner were out having an adventure, I took out the coloured blank greeting cards I’ve had for about six months and made some thank you cards. I wanted to give thanks and to show my gratitude to those who have really been a tour de force for me in my first creative year as a writer.

At the end of 2007 I did a Thirteen Thursday recognising the special people in my life for that year. This year I would be struggling to add 13 people I had regular contact with. It’s been one of those years.

This year my thanks go firstly to my loving and supportive partner Dave, and also to my ever patient son Dylan, who both encouraged me and were enthusiastic about my writing pursuits. I tease Dave, good naturedly about being a patron of the arts, but I am grateful for him allowing me the space and the opportunity to write – while he sits 50 hours a week in a crappy office (though it does have a nice view over the river!) and commutes with a bus full of people rain, hail or shine to get there. I know there are other places and other things that he would prefer to be doing. I am grateful darling to allow me to do want I want to do.

I know my influence as a Mum and a writer is rubbing off when yesterday Dylan told me that he would be writing an article every day from now on with the new pen and notebook that he won in pass the parcel at a birthday party. His first article yesterday was a cutting piece on hop scotch!

Secondly my thanks go to my partners in crime Annie Evett and Paul Anderson, who I have had the joy and challenge of collaborating with this year. Annie and I co-wrote and then designed and built the website for Reclaim Sex After Birth, as well as sharing crazy moments writing Captain Juan. The Reclaim Project pushed my buttons in all types of ways, but I grew not only as a writer but as a woman as a consequence and I’m feel so blessed to have had that opportunity. I’m also appreciative of the space that opens to write when our kids get together to play and generally leave us to it. I’m also glad for the trips to Dalveen and the writing that has come out of sitting drinking red wine at the kitchen table at Annie’s parents house. For those regular readers of Captain Juan – that’s how he ended up naked and sunburnt in the crows nest.

Paul shared not just his Captain Juan character, but also another character Dr Pietersen from one of his podcasts with me for my NaNo project Blue Melissae. I honestly don’t think there is a greater gift a writer can give. Captain Juan for me is like lollies to a kid – it’s fun and it generally requires no effort on my part.

I remember Paul commenting on Intercontinental, saying that I write best when I go to places that are uncomfortable and I used that insight to really push and probe myself as a writer – which in turn allowed me to experiment and discover stories and new writing styles I would have missed out on. Thanks for that Paul. I’m also grateful for Paul’s ear and patience, when I’m on a crazy rant at 1:00am in the morning – time differences are sometimes useful.

Paul has also shared coming on 12 months now, two wonderful business/writing plans that I know will see the light of day this year. It’s been a pleasure and thrill to watch these plans grow, blossom, go to seed and to again be waiting to shoot into something even more wonderful this year.

Thirdly I give thanks and my heartfelt appreciation to the ladies in my writing circle Edwina, Marion and Janette, who have read my work, offered critical and insightful feedback, been my friends, offered encouragement, celebrated my triumphs and bemoaned my failures with me. I didn’t realise how wonderful a writing circle could be until I was a part of one. Thank you ladies!

Fourthly I would like to acknowledge Karen at Write Anything and all the writers there for the inspiring and thought provoking posts and to Dale for Fiction Friday. I also want to acknowledge those as the Office of Letters and Light who run Script Frenzy and the National Novel Writing Month. Special thanks to Brisbane Municipal Librarians for the effort and energy that went into the Brisbane meets. Finally in this category – thanks to the organisers of the Byron Bay Writers Festival and to the staff at the Queensland Writers Centre.

Lastly I want to give thanks to my very special friend Danae Sinclair. It was through Dan that I first learnt about Fiction Friday and it was at her invitation that I ventured to do The Artists Way in late 2007 and then again in 2008. Without Dan being the catalyst for both these, I may not be writing now. I could still be plodding away producing Down to Birth and denying my inner most passion to write. Thank you Dan ... my love and appreciation and gratitude will always be coming your way.

So 2008 was my year of authenticity, but I understand that it was also a year of composting … of the breaking down of my old life, my old ways and habits. When you garden, you mix the compost in with the soil, to make new and fertile ground in which to plant seeds. That’s what 2008 was for me. 2009 and the year of the ox (which is my year as a little grey ox!) is going to be my year of growth. I originally conceptualised it as my year of action – but that seems too harsh and somehow sort of reckless. So instead, I am dedicating the 2009 year of the ox to growth.

May yours be a happy, fulfilling, prosperous and loving one.

PS: apologies to all who missed out on having links inserted here - my internet is very temperamental and posting this is a trial in itself!

Image from Kim Falconer's astrology website.


Paul said...

You get characters, I get Koalas - it's a fair trade!

Jodi Cleghorn said...

Your currency has been revealed!

Next time I'll send them in a box so they don't arrive squashed.