a new year

This morning, my first thought was: How did it get to be 2012? So late, so late – in the century, in my own life (I turn 57 later in the week) . . . I have the sense of time accumulating, yes, but sometimes there’s too much of it, and I feel inadequate in the face of it. In a month, I’ll be travelling, partly to research my grandmother’s early life in Moravia for a book I hope to write. I know the title — Blue Portugal — and I’ve made a start but want to know more, to see her house in Horni Lomne, and maybe the graves of her parents. I’ve also been making notes and gathering material for a novella.

My small study is filled to the brim with paper. When I was a student, taking writing courses, I remember we were told how important it was to keep drafts. I worked in Special Collections for a time and periodically boxes of papers would arrive from writers whose papers the university collected. It was fascinating to sort through this material and I guess I kept the possibility in mind for my own future.  Maybe one day I’d ship a box of letters, worksheets, all the bits and pieces that are part of a writing life, and a young woman would reach in, read a page or two, and wonder about the mysterious process of making a book.

Last year my solution to part of the clutter in my study was to conduct a bonfire of the vanities. Stacks of drafts, old versions of manuscripts, miscellaneous letters and notebooks – poof, up in smoke! I stood at the edge of the heap, out behind the garden shed, pushing papers into the flames. It was exhilarating and it made me feel so clear. While I burned the stacks of pages, I also thought my way through Winter Wren, the novella I’d recently completed, working out its problems and figuring out how to improve it. I can still smell the smoke in my old jacket. It might be a good way to begin this new year, more than a decade into the century.


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~ by theresakishkan on January 1, 2012.

4 Responses to “a new year”

  1. Happy birthday, Theresa. I have decided to pay attention only to birthdays that end in a zero or a five. But my next will end in a five so I’ll pay attention! How did it get to be 2012? Excellent question!

  2. Thank you! I’m thinking much the same — those ending in a zero might be plenty. On the other hand, amazing to think that I’ve had nearly 57 years on the planet.

  3. Happy birthday, Theresa! My birthday is next week – so perhaps we are the same sun sign?
    A ‘cuzzin’ just let me borrow “the Age of Water Lilies” and I will be very sad indeed when it is over! I have been telling everyone about the book and your other writings and have now just ordered another from the library. I am so pleased there are more! [I also just read Spring Rain and was disappointed that it was an ‘orphan’ so to speak.]
    My office is full of papers too from the family history I do with a passion in my retirement years. I was adopted and found out in 1997 that in spite of my red hair and pale skin, I have much First Nations in my blood! What started out as just curiosity about the family has turned into an obsession for discovering my roots and how interconnected the families are in this province, especially Vancouver Island [and the Gulf Islands]. So you can see why your story feels just like part of my interior life! The cousin who bought the book has the Wallachin/Deadman Creek area in her family history, so that’s initially what sparked the family interest.
    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you have made another fan who will be looking for your next book – after I finish everything you have written so far! Such beautifully crafted writing of events and people! Your voice rings true! Thank you, thank you! Joanne

  4. Thanks, Joanne! Think of the networks of people all over the province, the country, connected by blood or history or love of place…
    And happy birthday to you!

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