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Happy New Year?

December 31, 2021

This is my favourite ornament on the Christmas tree.

Mike gave it to me years ago. I like it because it’s fun (I actually used to have and use a typewriter like that), but more so because of what it conveys: he thought of me as a writer.

Yesterday a mate of mine, who has a great blog, did an end of year post, summing up his 2021. The summation included zoom rehearsals early in the year (he played Shakespeare in A Divine Comedy), the massive undertaking that was agreeing to play Rothko in the play Red at last summer’s outdoor theatre festival, writing and directing one of the plays in our recent online Christmas show, a visit to family in Ontario after Red, some work-related (he’s semi-retired) stuff, some general ponderings and observations about the pandemic. All good. 

He also wrote about giving up early in 2021 on a fantasy novel he’d been trying to write since the previous year, the publication of the third in his trilogy of children’s books, and the completion in the autumn of the first draft of a thriller he’d begun working on in the late summer. 

He summed up: My writing goal in 2022 is much the same as in 2021: get an MS into shape to start shopping it around to agents and editors, and see if I can move from ‘independently published nobody’ to ‘commercially published nobody’. Who knows, if I keep at it long enough, I might even graduate to the ranks of a ‘somebody’!

That was when I sort of lost the will to live. Someone who writes, clearly on a daily basis, someone entitled to call themselves a writer. What does that make me?

Next year it will be a decade since the publication of Rum Do. I have the beginnings of half a dozen novels sitting on my computer, one of which has been there for more than a decade. (Just checked – it’s actually five.) In the past decade I’ve written a pretty amusing (if I do say so myself) one-act play, a pretty bloody good one-act play (well, it was a finalist in the following year’s National Playwriting Competition), and this year I wrote a new five page opening scene for a decades-old radio play and a ten minute play (sketch). I also have the first ten or so pages of two other plays that have gone nowhere. Not much to show for a decade, is it? 

Okay, let’s not end the year on such a sour note. 

Since last spring I have been lucky enough to live on an island which has been spared the worst of the ravages of the pandemic. 

I thoroughly enjoyed both the writing involved in my two plays and the entire rehearsal process (even if the first one was on Zoom) with a group of people whom I love dearly. (My theatre family.) 

These friends have also kept me out of the total isolation I could so easily have slipped into, a social bubble anyone would envy. And far better for me, I suspect, than going back on anti-depressants.

Every week this year I’ve gone out twice for woodland walks with a man and his unbelievably delightful dog. 

And most of these people do think of me as a writer (including the bloke with the blog), even if I sometimes have trouble thinking of myself that way. 

Okay, yes, sometimes it’s difficult to sit here, looking out the window I was looking in the late 1990s when I spent the winter here, pounding happily away on the keyboard twelve hours a day on the first draft of what would become Unethical Practices. It’s hard not to think wistfully of how full of joy I was to be writing, writing, writing. 

Who knows? Maybe 2022 will be the year I knock a manuscript into shape for shopping around. Something to dream about in any case. It would certainly make for a 

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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