The Sun Sets On 2017 –
The end of the year is coming up so fast, I can almost touch it. I have my traditional New Year’s resolution at the ready; I will not try to give up sugar for another year. So far, I have been very successful with that one and I don’t think I should mess with a good streak. I have had a year filled with well-documented travels. I’ve written about thrashing technology and I have laid out my past transgressions, present fantasies and future aspirations.
When January 2017 rolled around I had already written close to 90 000 words of laughter and discomfort. I needed to decide what I was going to do with the pile of emotion that I had narcissistically printed out. I knew I could always use it as a doorstop, but I wanted it to be more useful than that. I started to write my epic tale when I arrived in Mauritius, one hot and sticky day. It did not start as a book. It started as an outlet, a manner in which I could try to understand my life. Instead, I found it to be healing. This year, it went from one very ordinary draft of life into a rudimentary manuscript which I hope will be of value to some people.
In March, I took the long flight back to Sydney to do a writing workshop with Joanne Fedler; author, mentor, publisher and all-around excellent human. I had figured out the writing part of the game, now I had to figure out the editing part. They say you need to learn to “kill off your darlings” when you are editing a book. I found this really hard in the beginning. I had to mourn the loss of each sentence I took away. In the end, I was throwing out paragraphs and chucking chapters with glee. Once I got into the swing of things, there was no stopping the clear out. But then, I had to learn about structure.
Restructuring brought me back to the mourning stage. I moved around my draft reluctantly. Shifting chapters around here, adding lost sections there. And one day, the delight was back.
In 2017 I took that fourteen-hour Qantas flight from South Africa three times. Each time I joined a group of supportive women, all learning and guiding and searching. We have held up the light for each other. We’ve felt a hand at our backs at every turn. Each time we have been welcomed by a smiling and attentive Joanne with her crew of caregivers.
This year has been a year of change, an anno differentia. I found myself outside my comfort zone, both in my writing as well as my day to day life. I have accepted challenges and taken on responsibilities that I had forgotten I could do. I found that I was capable of more than I imagined. I had not thought I could start some of the things that I started, but here I am making new beginnings and finding new thrills. Sometimes, I haven’t always liked what I’ve done, but I found myself inexplicably entwined. My words have found their place. I am not finished, I am only getting started, but watch this space, I’m coming out, and before you know it, so will my book.