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Thoughts on the past year

Hi everyone, as it’s that time of year when many people take a moment of reflection on the past year and think about the future, I thought I’d take a moment to do the same.

Last year was a mix of good and bad. On the personal side, I had a long bout of depression and autistic burnout, had frequent meltdowns and shutdowns, and suffered from intense imposter syndrome regarding my work. But I also learnt a lot about my neurology, began implementing coping strategies to reduce meltdowns and shutdowns (like using ear defenders, sunglasses and fidget toys to help with sensory overload and not doing too many tasks in one day) and celebrated a year and a half with my partner and, in November, actually moved in with him.

I also realised that I’ve achieved an awful lot with my writing, too:

  • I did my first edit of my YA sci-fi, Unsung.
  • I put together my short story collection, When The Bard Came Visiting, which comes out this February.
  • I re-edited my Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy to catch all the continuity errors that had slipped through.
  • I wrote a middle grade fantasy involving time travel.
  • I edited two poetry collections and submitted them to my publisher.
  • I did my first author visit at a school.
  • I did another edit on Unsung, and prepared a query and synopsis for submission to literary agents.
  • I put together a poetry pamphlet and a children’s poetry collection for submission to an independent press.
  • I wrote (and illustrated) a bespoke story that the client had won at a local school fair.

Writing it all down in a list like this gives it a lot of substance that I can’t ignore, because it wasn’t until I started writing this post that it fully hit me how much work I completed. When I think about how unmotivated I felt for most of the year, it’s incredible that I managed to do so much. I suppose it does make sense though, because no matter how hard writing can be, it’s the one thing I’ve always known I’ve wanted to do, and is the way in which I express myself best. I know a lot of the poetry I wrote released a lot of frustration and helped me to accept who I am, and writing fiction let me live an adventure I’d otherwise never know.

For this year, I haven’t made any strict resolutions. I simply intend to keep the same goals I always have: to keep writing, appreciate the small things and (this one is slightly newer) ask for help when I need it. I’m sure there will be times when I get distracted, overwhelmed and stubborn, but as long as it’s not too often, I know that’s all okay.

So, here’s to a new year full of self-care, appreciation for those who support us, and determination for whatever it is that we wish to achieve.

Poetry

Constant

We walked side by side between planets,

watched their oceans swell and fall

into stardust, theorizing how Saturn’s rings

may be its core

after its writhing energy tore out

to form its own globe.

 

The stars can be seen during day on Mercury,

but I can see them at any time I wish

in your eyes.

Our markers held well over the year,

the beats sounded and shook me giddy.

 

In the grain of that bench under the maples,

our echoes will reside forever.

 

Poetry

A story of trees

Like two phoenixes who have been mated their whole, long lives

we will rise up from our ashes

and carve out space for ourselves

in dark, lichen covered trunks.

Our arms will wrap around each other

in an eternal hug

which will become an eden for birds and squirrels and bees.

From the strength and solidness of our roots

we will remain side by side forever,

entangled in a shower of leaves and blossom.

 

Poetry

Reawakening

It’s a firecracker with karate oomph.

 

No lace involved at this point.

No webs spun, no leaf skeletons

to be collected, analysed, stamped.

 

It took a while to create the right mix

of mineral and powder,

testing and re-testing until the colours were held high,

shouting, ‘we are to return to our maiden voyage.

We are to return

to the sea and its torrents, its salt and seaweed

and the lights of anglerfish in its belly.

 

We are to fight the storms and ride them through

until the calm

spreads her fingers across the surface

and we find the land

we’ve always searched for

bit could never find until now.

 

The homeland of our hearts,

where our roots can be unwrapped

from their protective cloth

and left to spread as they wish.

 

 

 

 

Poetry

Aloe Vera

I was a husk filled with things that weren’t me,

and all the problems I’d had

were squashed down so tight

I didn’t even know they were there.

 

Now the spell is broken and I’m returning to myself,

those crumpled seeds

are sprouting

and forcing me to re-live and re-live and re-live

in a never-ending loop.

 

Until I hear your voice.

Then, it all stops,

leaves dropping in the wind.

Your careful words are a salve

to these self-inflicted wounds.

They will not heal me completely, but they help.

They really do.

Poetry

Chapped lips, worn shoes

Who knew speech could be connected to footsteps?

I didn’t, before I met you.

 

Every step you take

carries its own conversation, its own beat,

its own theme.

 

Observations of ourselves,

down to our mirrors,

the characters we play or the roles we choose.

 

The sun can be high, or switch with the moon.

Dusty rock or marshland, it matters not.

 

The well you speak from never runs dry

as your steps don’t falter.

 

Unless you’re catching forty winks,

that is.