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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

A new year is dawning. An old year is setting. We're in the twilight of 2013 and 2014 and at a moment when we wonder what the new year has in store for us. It's when we reflect on what has been, we reminisce about the good times and try to forget the bad times. Father Time moves in one direction and one direction only. He is forever moving forward and taking us with him. No matter how hard we try, we cannot turn around and go back. We cannot change the things we did, the things we said, or the things we didn't say and do. Father Time simply does not let us. He continuously closes the door behind us and doesn't give us the key to get back in. However, he is always standing by ready to open the door to the future. He closes the door to the past and opens the door to the future. He reminds us to look ahead.

While we're looking ahead, we think of ways to make the future brighter. We make resolutions. Well, I gave up on making resolutions a long time ago. Instead, I give myself a list of things I want to do or make happen. I list them as wants; that way I don't feel as bad for not fulfilling them. After all, they were things I wanted to do than commitments.



My first want, is actually a goal. As many of you know, my passion is writing. Well, I have set myself a goal of writing 100,000 words by this time 2014. It seems like a lot, but if it's broken down, it's only about 274 words per day. Plus, doing NaNo in November and Camp NaNo in April and July will eat up a good 50,000 of those words (if I stay on par). So, 100,000 words is quite doable. And if I meet that goal before 2014 is over, I may raise it.



My second want is in the same vein as my first one. I want to devote as much time as I can working on my Pangaea Trilogy. Over the last few weeks, I've, sadly, neglected it. I am hoping to give it the attention it deserves in the coming year.



My third want is something I plan to put into action as soon as I can. Well, technically, this is a need rather than a want, but since this needs to be done soon, I'm including it here. I need to find myself a second part-time job; the one I have now isn't enough. But, there is a bigger reason...



For a long time, I have had a dream to live abroad for at least a year. Well, a few weeks ago, I made a decision to make that dream a reality. Before I am thirty, I want to live in Ireland for a year. My family, on both my maternal and paternal side, originated in Ireland, and I've always wanted to visit my ancestral home. Now, I'd like to live and work there for a year. My plan is to go some time in 2015, but first I need to save up as much of my money as I possibly can.



As 2013 draws to a close, remember that this year will soon be last year and in the past. It is time to let go of any ills, regrets and missed opportunities from 2013, and prepare to hold on tight to what will come in 2014. May your 2014 be all it can be.



There are some of my wants for 2014.



What are your wants and desires for the coming year?

Sunday, 15 December 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love Winter. I love all the seasons, and while the transitional periods between Spring and Summer, and Summer and Fall are my favourite times, Winter has a special place in my heart. Maybe it's because I can see my breath, or because I love winter fashion. Maybe it's the memories of playing on snowbanks in the school yard in elementary school, and building a snowman with my dad at my grandmother's house. Maybe it's because I love hearing Christmas music being played in the malls... Maybe it's simply because I love snow.
A mid-December snowfall.

Snow on a tree at night. (This one refuses to shed its leaves.)
The day after the snowfall.


Snow on a pine.

There is something peaceful about freshly fallen snow. Snow seems to make everything, even a big city like Toronto, look pretty and tranquil. I love seeing snow sitting atop trees of pine and spruce, and blanketing window sills and roofs. I love walking by houses at night and seeing the snow sitting on top of Christmas lights. I love passing the properties of people who really get into the Christmas spirit and decorate their lawns to the nines. There is a house not very far from where I live who does his house up every year, and the street is always lined with cars and people who come by to take a look. There is this street near Bownmanville where homeowners have their houses decorated professionally. My family takes a drive by it every Christmas Eve and we're always awestruck at the works of art that are on display during this time of year.

Christmas is a very special time for me. It's the time when I gather with family and catch up on time lost over lunch and gifts. It's a time for reflection and hope for the future. It's when we remember those who are no longer able to physically celebrate with us, and give our thanks for those we are able to celebrate with.

With the busyness of the season, I may not get in another post before the new year, so, from my family to yours, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the Spirit of Christmas/Yule/Hanukkah/Kwanza/whatever you celebrate this time of year be with you and may the new year bring you happiness and all you wish for.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The End of a Chapter

Well, as of a few hours ago, NaNoWriMo officially came to a close. Before you ask,No, I did not make my 50,000 word goal, but I did make 28,000, which is 10,000 more than what I finished with last year. As the year prior, this year's adventure was full of happiness and frustration, laughter and terror. The first few seconds of NaNo are always daunting because that blank page (or the beginning of that new chapter of your work in progress) seems to sneer and jeer at you; it believes you cannot do this mission you have commited yourself to. But, you get over this hurdle the only way you know how: you write the first word, and then the next, and the next... until you have a whole 300 word scene written. You've just proven that blank page wrong. You have just written 300 words it told you you couldn't. But now, you have to keep writing.

If you're anything like me, you had days when you were lucky if you wrote maybe 400 words. It may not seem like a lot, but you were awesome because that's 400 more words than you had the day before. You are allowed to celebrate these victories, regardless of how small they are.

If you're anything like me, you relied on the support of others to spur you on to write the next 100, 500, 1,000 words. And because you relied (perhaps heavily) on that support, you tried to give it back in spades. To all of you; my fellow WriMos, as well as anyone who asked me how my writing was going, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To those who said I was crazy, I thank you, too because you are part of the reason I partook. I may not have hit my 50,000 word goal, but I have 28,000 more words (spread out over 3 stories; my Trilogy and two fanfics) than I did on October 31st.

If you're anything like me, you went to a few events over the course of the month. I went to 8 write-ins (including one final one on the last day), the Kick-off party and the Overnighter. I will be going to the Thank God It's Over (TGIO) for one last shindig with the awesome like-minded people I have come to know over the last two years of NaNo. Many of these people I continue to talk with and occasionally meet with when the shenanigans of November are no longer going.

And, if you are anything like me, you are both grateful and sad to see NaNo end. I am happy because there is no longer the pressure there was to write (though, I will never stop writing). But, I am sad because NaNo is such an awesome experience, one that, I think, every writer should go through at least once. It is daunting, exhillerating, constricting and liberating all at the same time.

To those who made their 50,000 mark, congratulations!

To those who wrote more than the 50,000 mark, congratulations.

To those who fell short, congratulations!

Whatever you finished with is more words than you had when you started this thing a month ago.

YOU ARE ALL WINNERS!

You have all done something amazing. You have written something. It may need some heavy editing later, but you have written something, and that is an amazing feat in itself. For me, just writing is an amazing feeling in itself. I get to say what I need to say, I get to tell the story I need to tell. That is the most important part about all of it. I am doing what all of my favourite authors are doing. I am telling a story. Nothing more, nothing less. No one can ask any more or less of me. Or of you.