Well. Here we are. Gently tiptoeing into 2023. Or, perhaps, you have never gently tiptoed anywhere and are striding forward with confidence. Whichever way, hello, we are here and the year will unfold as it will.
I am back at my desk today after an extended summer break. It’s lovely to be here again with the teapot my mum gifted me, the Totoro mug bought on a family trip to Japan, the piles of notebooks filled with scribbled thoughts. And looking out onto our familiar street, a flowering frangipani and the roses.
I’m struggling to settle though. I wonder if you are? It’s not that I have nothing to work on but rather that I am looking for a way in. I want to revisit my WIP that has returned to my inbox. For the first time with any manuscript, I resorted to sending it to two trusted readers knowing some major things were not yet quite right. It’s a big story with big themes and I want to do the best job I can. I’m still learning to drill down. I’m impatient to be better. And, at the same time, I know that perfection exists only in moments of experience, so how about cutting myself some slack?!
At least, I have started the year with two non-fiction reads that are helping me do just that!
In December, I spent some time in the art galleries and museums of our national capital and came across a little book in one of the gallery shops called WABI SABI: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life. The author, Beth Kempton, writes wisely about how beauty lies in imperfection, impermanence and incompletion. It’s a wonderful read for anyone who wonders about this. Also, in my ongoing quest to understand why humans behave the way we do, I’m finally working my way through Bessel van der Kolk’s seminal work The Body Keeps the Score. It is an excellent reminder of both the limits and power of our own abilities. And, at times, hurts my heart as I feel for my veteran father surviving with PTSD at a time when such a diagnosis did not yet exist. And for my mother and we kids who survived it too.
As for fiction, I have already devoured Jane Harper’s latest, Exiles, and adored it. A new favourite along with The Lost Man which, for some reason, I prefer to The Dry. My husband and I also did a deep dive into D.H. Lawrence after inspiration from the new movie. LOL that sounds a little blinkety blink where are you going here, Annie?! But it was merely that we found the novel form of Lady Chatterley’s Lover at a home we stayed in recently and were intrigued by the layers to be found in it that were not conveyed in the film. Lawrence’s acerbic observations of class and gender had us snorting on the couch. And disagreeing with much from our enlightened 100-years-later viewpoint – but fascinated and reading up on what is known of Lawrence.
All in all, a thoughtful start to the new year and one that I hope will bring new depth and bravery to my writing. I continue to practise yoga daily with gratitude that I find this possible and an understanding that I may yet falter before it becomes a lifelong habit! Kindness to myself, you see! I am grateful also to you for being here to read these brief ponderings, for being a willing and forgiving audience as I warm up for the big writing tasks ahead!
I will gather myself now and be brave! And I send you all bravery as you tackle your tasks for the year. May 2023 bring much happiness and bring the world to a more peaceful place.