Friday, December 21, 2012

A holiday letter, of sorts

Wow. Have I been a lackadaisical blogger this year or what? BAD KELLY!

I have decided to "treat" you all to a holiday letter. You can just pretend that you haven't heard from me pretty much all year, and that we're catching up, okay? (Of course, this is pretty close to reality, so I suppose there's that.)

Here goes:

Hello, friends and family!

2012 has been an interesting year. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" is probably pretty close to the truth. I've had a number of health ups and (more accurately) downs this year, including a massive RA flare early in the year, several bouts of my fibromyalgia making itself known, and "bonus" things like poison ivy that became cellulitis that became a fungal infection in the palms of my hands, which I'm still trying to eradicate. *sings "I'm . . . too sexy for my cat . . .* Things could always be so much worse, however, that I try to look at the bright side. (The only bright side to the fungal infection appears to be that I've now got a really nice dermatologist - but still, bright side!) I'm still doing tai chi, and loving it - it helps a lot with the fibro and my general health, and at least a little with the rheumatoid arthritis, so it's been quite a boon.

Kids-wise, things are pretty good. S is now a sophomore at College of Charleston, where she's just one experience shy of completing her Spanish minor (I think she needs a short study abroad trip to finish it up). She's majoring in International Studies, with a focus on the Caribbean and Latin America, and she seems to be enjoying herself immensely, both in and out of school. She got herself a job working for a start-up company, where she was promoted from analyst to editor a month or so ago, and she has found herself a wonderful group of friends.

M is a senior in high school, holding down a part-time job at a local frozen yogurt store (she was promoted to team leader over the summer). She just turned 18, and her number one college choice (UMass Amherst) sent her an early action acceptance on her birthday. She's also been accepted to UMaine Orono, and is waiting to hear from a few other schools. It's lovely that she'll have a decision to make - and one with nothing but good choices.

My personal life has been a happy one. Happy, happy, happy. When my marriage split up last year, I certainly wasn't looking for another relationship. In fact, it was in many respects the furthest thing from my mind. But the Universe had other ideas, and I somehow managed to find the perfect companion for me. And I've been happy, happy, happy ever since. Our year together has included two cruises (one to the Bahamas, one to Cozumél), a trip to a couple of tai chi events, a visit to my family members in the Charleston area (not only S, but also my brother and his family, and now my parents as well), a wedding in New England, and more. And it's been grand.

I have had some good writing news this year, most of which is based on projects written in past years. My first-ever picture book, AT THE BOARDWALK came out, and I still pinch myself over how lucky I am that Tiger Tales selected Mónica Armiño as the illustrator. And I have poems in FOUR shiny new anthologies. My "grown-up" poems "Copernicus" and "Midnight Mocker" were both in an anthology issued by the New Brunswick Library, and my steampunk version of Shakespeare's Sonnet 55 is in The Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Ionic Pentatetrameter. And in children's poems, "A Place to Share" is in Dare to Dream . . . Change the World, edited by Jill Corcoran, and "Sea Jelly" in National Geographic's Book of Animal Poetry, edited by J. Patrick Lewis. The jellyfish poem was actually written this year, almost immediately prior to the book going to press, but the others were from prior years.

My writing this year has been sporadic and of limited nature. I wrote "Sea Jelly", as mentioned, and something just over a handful of other poems, plus I wrote a picture book manuscript that is piratical in nature, which I really ought to, you know, submit. My submissions this year have also been terribly sporadic, which is not optimal, as those of you who write know. I did, however, place a poem ("Stuck Doing Chores on a Summer's Evening", a parody of a Frost poem) in the forthcoming issue of U.S. 1 Worksheets, which is a wonderful thing.

It occurs to me that back when I was writing regularly, I was blogging regularly, too. Or maybe it's vice-versa. Which is why I am planning on picking up this here blog again and bugging you with my thoughts and such, starting today. Because today is, in fact, the first day of the rest of my life. Yes? Yes. I could offer theories on why those things fell off - maybe I ran out of steam, maybe my shiny, happy personal life was too much of a diversion, maybe my health stuff got in the way - but really, they are all excuses, no matter if they are good ones or not.

So . . . lucky you. You'll be hearing from me regularly from now on. Because I really want to get back to my writing, and it seems that the writing and the blogging are intrinsically related. (Or if they aren't, don't tell me, since it's getting me motivated to start up again.)

I am wishing you all whatever measure of peace you can find in these troubled times, and a happy new year, too.

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