My word for 2017

I saw this idea going around the innerwebz and liked it: Choose an inspirational word for your year.

Not that I think one word means everything (if it did I’d get my word counts for the day done much faster!) or that one word should lock you in. But as a means of focus, I think it could be useful. Here’s mine, chosen in these closing minutes of the first day of the new year:


I confess, I sing along SUPER LOUD when the Katy Perry Olympics theme song comes on. And I do not have the voice for it. You have been warned. But I love the sentiment. So it’ll be my word for as long as it lasts.

What’s your power word for starting the year?

New Year, New Goals: A Story Told in Ice

(Crosspost from See Jane Publish.)

My long holiday weekend got a little bit longer thanks to a lovely White Just-Missed-Christmas topped with an icing of, uh, ice. But since I was stuck at my computer, I figured there was no excuse not to sketch out my plans for the new year.

At first I wasn’t too excited about it…


Goal-setting is a little intimidating. I have to think ahead for a whole year?! It’s hard to see that far ahead, sometimes, and the path is slippery.

But ’tis the season for new year’s resolutions…

IMG_3154I know my big plans can only be achieved through drip-by-drip word counts and daily goals…


And so I start planning. At first it seems like a wild tangle, my brain is just a chaos of ideas and wishes and wannabes. These are my synapses on goal-setting:


But then the pieces start to come together and smooth out. Everything starts to move in the same direction. I can see a way forward through the wilderness of A. what I want to accomplish and B. what is possible. (Since I don’t have a stop-time machine.)


Eventually, my twelve-month to-do list starts to look — dare I say — rather impressive and stately…


I actually feel even inspired! I see potential brilliance hidden inside these small beginnings!


It’s early days, I know — very early days! — but I see the shape of what is to come.


With attention to my deadlines, I’ll be mowing down my goals!


If you have suggestions for launching with enthusiasm into the new year, please share in comments. And Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the laundromat

My washing machine died full of soap and water (is there any reason washing machines can’t die BEFORE the soap and water part?) so on New Year’s Eve I went to the laundromat with my sopping, soapy clothes. Happy freakin’ New Year.

And then…

While I was at the laundromat brooding — partly about a new story I’m plotting, but mostly about how unfair it was that I was at a laundromat on New Year’s Eve — a guy biked up. After poking through the ashtray outside, he came in to check the machines for lost change and dig pop cans out of the recycle bin. His baseball hat was askew and his front teeth were missing. A frayed knee brace was pretty much the only thing holding up his baggy jeans.

He asked me if I knew where the lost & found was. I pointed him toward the locked office (ain’t nobody at a laundromat on New Year’s Eve who doesn’t have to be) where the refund forms dangled from the door knob and loaned him my pen, which wasn’t doing me any good coming up with the heroine’s internal motivation anyway.

I asked him what he was looking for — partly because maybe I’d seen it, but mostly because writers are nosy — and he said somebody had taken his laundry from one of the dryers.

“All my socks,” he said. Then he added in a mumble, “And underwear.”

Stealing somebody’s laundry is low. Stealing somebody’s socks and underwear is really, really low.

He filled out the form and pushed it through the slot in the office door. When he returned my pen, I gave him the rest of my quarters. His fingernails were black with dirt.

“You can get some new socks,” I said. Then I thought maybe that sounded presumptuous — I mean, he might have had access to more socks somewhere else; just because he looked homeless doesn’t mean he was — so I added, “Or a New Year’s Eve beer.”

“I’m laying off the sauce,” he said. “The socks’ll keep me warmer.”

Probably there’s a 50/50 chance he was fibbing about the socks or the beer. As a writer, I look squinty eyed at everybody’s stories, even my own. But anybody out on New Year’s Eve looking for half-smoked cigarette butts, empty cans, and lost laundry deserves the benefit of the doubt.

I’m ending 2013 with a bunch of annoyances: there’s a mysterious oily patch that may or may not be coming from the car, the dog has an intermittent limp that was getting better but of course got worse right before the vet closed for the holiday, I just spent way too much at the dentist, someone stole XY’s bike off our front porch on Christmas Eve (not the guy at the laundromat; I checked his bike), and I’m already hyperventilating about whether I can really do everything I want to do in the next twelve months. Also I have a zit on my chin. And let’s not forget the broken washing machine. 

But I think I’m going to start 2014 with a more positive mindset. After all, I still have a dryer. And thanks to my loving family, I got cute new socks and underwear for Christmas. I’m not sure the guy at the laundromat would appreciate being my New Year’s Eve attitude adjustment — I didn’t have that many quarters left — but I appreciated the reminder that I have more opportunities than some people to make the most of 2014.

What I do with the new year isn’t entirely up to me, of course. I think none of us can take all the credit (or all the blame) for where we end up. While my goals are properly self-directed, some of my wishes are reliant on forces outside my control. But how I deal with the inevitable challenges of 2014 is entirely up to me, so I’m going to focus on my strengths and resources and do my best.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, rewarding new year for all. And here’s hoping we all get to face it with clean underthings.

A Spring Wind

Crossposted from Silk & Shadows

Currently working on: Hot draft of new story
Mood: Borne & buffeted

Sometime in January, I like to pull my Tarot cards for a start-of-the-year spread, to see where I’m at. This year, so far, I’ve been too busy to take a quiet night to get into the right space to think about things. But with the month almost over (and how did THAT happen?!) I figured I better get at least ONE card done so I’d have something to contemplate on my dog walks.


I pulled the Page of Swords. I use the Mythic Tarot deck by Juliet Sharman-Burke and Liz Greene, illustrated by Tricia Newell. This deck features Greek mythology which I loved as a kid, so I relate to the stories.

The Page of the Swords is represented by Zephyrus, the Greek god of the West Wind. His card is ambivalent — as the Swords tend to be cards that poke at your complacency — since he and his brother the North Wind started out as malicious little shits, prone to starting storms just to knock things over. Eventually Zephyrus married Isis of the rainbow, which mellowed him out. But still, having him start my year gives me lots to think about.

The positive aspects of Zephyrus as the Page of Swords are curiosity, enthusiasm and the emergency of new ideas. The downsides are irritability and petty quarrels that blow up into battles. As I move forward with some new story ideas, I guess I better practice my patience. That’s usually on my list of New Years Resolutions, so I suppose that’s okay. Sigh.

I like this picture of Zephyrus because he is puffing up all these great clouds leading into a blue sky… but the way he is holding the sword makes me think he is about to burst his own bubble. He had better be careful which bubbles he bursts, since some of them are holding him aloft. I better make sure I’m puffing up the right dreams. Not there’s anything wrong with walking sometimes. Ask my dog.

If you play with tarot cards, did you get any thoughtful readings for the new year? Or if you want me to pull a card for you, just let me know in comments and I’ll see which Greek myth might be right for you.