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Pickle Me This

December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

In every way, it’s been a pretty wonderful year. We began it still pretty shell shocked from the chaos that having a baby created, but it was also when I really began to enjoy the shape of our new life with Harriet, and the pace of our every day lives together started improving in leaps and bounds. Harriet has become more fabulous with every passing month, and these days we never threaten to throw her out the window more than once or twice a week. I also continue to adore her dad a whole lot, and note that he is pretty much the key to everything good.

Other keys to everything have been joining a local writers’ salon with a wonderful group of women who are extraordinary in both talent and generosity of spirit. Our meetings have been a source of great company, conversation, ideas, inspiration, and friends. Concurrently, I have also been honoured to be a member of The Vicious Circle book club, and meetings have been along similar lines (albeit a bit more ribald in tone). Both have been the very best ways to spend my time-off from motherhood, and I look forward to them always. I also mark how far I’ve become this past year by remembering my first salon meeting in February, how I’d never left Harriet in the evening before, but how we all made it (including Stuart, who was tasked with putting her to bed solo), and how me leaving the house at night is no longer remotely a big deal.

I have been extraordinarily blessed by creative opportunities this year. I’ve had two stories published, and had a dream come true as reading as part of Eden Mills Festival Fringe Stage. I’ve written lots of book reviews, and published two essays on topics I care about deeply (and then there was the matter of that shout-out by the Utne Reader). None of this was on the cards one year ago, and so it leaves me hopeful for what 2011 will bring (though I looking forward to seeing my piece in the Sharon Butala Special Issue of Prairie Fire this Fall, which has been forthcoming for about two years now).

My goals this year are to finish the first draft of my novel, to finally read Great Expectations, and to not drive our rental car into anything when we go to England in March. I am going to try to get out to more literary events, although not too hard because there is really no better place to be than my house. I am excited to be teaching The Art and Business of Blogging at the UofT School of Continuing Studies in April. And I look forward to finding new and creative ways to live frugally in the city, while concurrently exploiting the many opportunities that city-living brings.

I have read 149 books this year, which I’m pretty pleased with, mostly because so many of them have been wonderful. For this large total, however, I really only do have Harriet to thank, and her wonderfully epic nap times. Long may they live. It has been a diverse list of books read, male and female authors, a bit too heavy on the contemporary due to judging a book prize this summer, but otherwise I can’t see any major gaps. It’s worth nothing, however, just how much satisfaction I am getting from independent Canadian Presses even as I’ve become a more more demanding reader these last few years, and it was so exciting to see them get their due through the Giller long and shortlists this year. May indie presses outlive even Harriet’s naps (or they could both live on forever?).

And may 2011 be full of good things.

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