Here we are, the end of another year upon us. They just keep coming along, don’t they? There is, I think, a want this time of year for us to reflect on the successes that we had and to make lists and goals for the next year. Things we’ll do differently. Better. Maybe that’s useful. Or maybe it adds to our stress.
Earlier in the week Cheryl Pappas suggested picking a wish word for 2022. Just one little word that you can fold into your pocket and pull out when you need some guidance. I thought long and hard on it and finally decided upon fulfillment. It captures things I want and need to do: finish the promises I’ve made to myself, the commitments I make to others, and the satisfaction that comes along with it. What is your 2022 wish word?
My wish for all of us as we round out the year: quiet. Peace. Some time to enjoy the little moments without worry, without the need to compare and criticize. To know we’ve done the best that we can. To sit in stillness for a few moments. To be.
Some of you may be taking a much needed break from writing, and some of you may be spending more time on it. I’m going to send you back into the archives for your end of year inspiration. Perhaps there’s a piece that you missed or one that resonates in a new way because your project or your mindset has moved.
Mitchell Jackson’s beautiful essay Twelve Minutes and a Life about the life and shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. In it, you’ll find plenty of reasons it won a Pulitzer.
Claire Vaye Watkin’s epistolary story The Last Thing We Need. It’s a good one to look at for ways to ratchet up tension over time.
Deesha Philyaw’s Snowfall looks at the ways we complicate relationships. It makes beautiful use of repetition.
The end of the year = lots of listmaking. The Center for Fiction just put out its list of 200 Books that Shaped 200 Years of Literature. There are many on here I’ve read, and many I haven’t. I used it to pick our selection for January’s read - Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star. So much of what I pull from is US centric, so I think it will be good to visit a work from the Southern Hemisphere.
Dzanc Books, one of my favorite indie presses, is having a sale through 12/31 if you need to pick up a To Me, From Me. I certainly plan to. (Code: MOREBOOKS2021)
Portland Review is open for a brief window Dec. 20-21. The Hudson Review has a no fee short fiction contest through Dec. 31. Sundress Press is open for prose manuscripts - especially interested in hybrid, fractured, and experimental books. And Berkley (imprint of Penguin / Random) is open until Jan 9. for unagented novels in romance, historical, mystery, thriller, SF, horror, women’s, and contemporary.
Okay, Scribblers. That’s it from here. Thank you for reading and sharing this space with me the past year. See you again in the new one with Clarice Lispector~