Happy New Year!

Damyang Bamboo Museum Trail
Instead of writing a story, I thought I would add a regular post (for once). This year has gone by so quickly that I sometimes wonder if it is the end of the year already. At the change of the year, I like to think back to what it was like a year ago - where I was, my hopes and dreams. In doing so, I look into the new year to see what I want to continue, what I want to change, and what I want to pursue.

Not much has changed regarding hopes and dreams. In some cases, they've shifted slightly. Not gone, but just a different avenue. With the discontinuation of Azure Maris, Azure Lights and Shamrocks of Stone in October, I have had the time to evaluate what I write. Even writing the weekly short story has helped. They have given me a chance to explore worlds, characters and ideas I've wanted to try, but haven't found the means.

Also, this year, I rediscovered audio dramas. I had started listening last year, but as things are, I fell off until I found them again. Exploring this new medium is exciting because I can see wondrous possibilities. How to make what I see possible is more difficult.

A year ago, I wondered how I would make ends meet. I had had an interview for a job overseas, and surprisingly, I was accepted. Now, one year later, I am again seeking employment. My heart longs to write, but how to make writing pay proves to be a constant quest for myself. Over the course of the past year, I learned that I can work and write - it's a huge blessing for this writer who often finds one or the other neglected.

My path curves, and the distance is vague and misty. I often feel that I'm climbing a mountain. I know at the top will be a magnificent view, it's just hard work to achieve the goal. Other times, I feel like I'm not making any progress, and I fear that, instead, I have turned down the wrong path. It's in those moments where I have to re-evaluate what it is I'm supposed to do. Often, I find that I haven't turned wrong, I've just taken a side-path. I can see the main one ahead, and I'm still going in the right direction.

In other ways, the past year has been a wonderful experience filled with new views, culture and history. As the year has progressed, I have had the interesting experience of watching America through the eyes of others - the good and the bad.

I also managed to lose quite a bit of weight - more than I hoped I could. I still have about twenty pounds (ten kilos) to go, but I'm confident that I can achieve that goal.

It's these little victories that encourage me. Knowing that I did some things over the past several years I never thought possible - losing weight, paying off debt, being published - helps me to pursue more goals. It's the reflection of where I was to where I am which focuses my energy when I feel lost.

As the new year begins, and you take time to evaluate your own path, I hope you remember the good things as well as the bad. Don't only think about how you want to change this year, but what things do you want to remain the same? What goals do you have that are longer term? How will you achieve these goals?

I hope your new year will be a time of growth and surprise. I hope you take a chance with your art - submit, begin, rediscover. As the year progresses, remember that each step, no matter how small or how hard, is an important part of your journey. Sometimes we can hike an easy path; sometimes we have to climb a hard one. Each step is worth it in the long run because each step leads us further along the path.

Happy New Year!

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