January, as most former Latin students remember, is named for the Roman god, Janus. He had two facess, so that he could look backward and forward at the same time -- a good plan at the beginning of a new year. As many of you know, 2014 proved to be an interesting but challenging year for the Schriber household. It started with me still in a walker. I was recovering from a fractured pelvis and learning to walk again. It ended with my husband in the hospital with a failed aortic valve that is going to require surgical replacement in the next couple of weeks. I may be something of a slow learner, but I'm getting a message here. It's not wise to make lots of future plans while ignoring the present. Circumstances, we found, can change in the blink of an eye. The real trick is to make the most of "now" so that you are prepared for whatever tomorrow brings. So that will become one of my resolutions (and I HATE resolutions!) for the coming year.
Looking at the year from the middle rather than the end, however, I realize that we had a mostly wonderful year. We went back to Hilton Head, Charleston, and Beaufort in May -- gave a couple of talks, sold tons of books, and renewed our love of all things South Carolina. Then in September, we took a 3-week road trip to Arizona. The goal was an inspiring writers' conference, but the rest of the time was devoted to re-visiting some places we hadn't been for 50 years, and exploring others that were entirely new to both of us. And in between all of that, I brought out four new publications, each one of which was a foray into a new format. What did I learn from all of that? Mostly, that I can't quit yet -- I still have a lot of learning and living to do. And therein, I suppose, lies another one of those pesky resolutions I once swore I would never make.
So where do I stand on this first business day of a New Year? Well, (#1) I count myself very lucky on two scores: I'm walking just fine, and my husband is feeling quite well again, even though he faces one more hurdle ahead. (#2) I have a new book in the works. Yes, I'm still making plans, but I'm not committing myself to any deadlines. The book has a long way to go, and it will finish itself when it's ready, not on any artificially-declared publication date. (#3) I spent last year experimenting with writing projects. Some things worked, and others were spectacular failures. I need to write down some of the lessons I've learned this past year before I forget them.
In the next couple of weeks, I'll be sorting out the flops from the "attagirls" and passing along some tips to save my writer friends from stumbling over the same problems that tripped me up along the way from 2014 to 2015.