The weathermen thought this history-making storm might drop an inch or two in Albuquerque. Instead, it has deposited more than a foot in my neighborhood. Our friends, who live a few miles closer to the mountains, report 21 inches.
As a convenient metaphor for 2006, the unprecendented weather might work. Or, not.
What is true is that much of last year went in different directions than anticipated.
For example, I planned to write two novels.
And, I did.
The only problem was that I had to write one novel twice.
2006 was like that: loads of activity and not much to show for it. I’d push hard toward a goal and end up somewhere else.
It felt as if Sisyphus and I had traded places. So many ambitions unattained. I didn’t write the first manuscript in my new series. I didn’t finish the short stories. I didn’t attract the attention of a major publisher. I didn’t get a mondo advance for my new book. So many hours "wasted." Wah.
But why do that?
Overall, the column of 2006 accomplishments balances the missed opportunities and inefficiencies. I DID finish and sell a manuscript. I DID start a relevant monthly column for Mystery Writers of America’s newsletter. I DID get Murderati up and running with some of the best writers around. I DID commit to the new series and have developed enough of Iris Martin’s backstory to begin composing her life through novels.
Sure, I’m not a national name — with my name, that’ll be a challenge anyway — but, I continue to build audience and readership. Both of my current books are still, happily, in print and making money.
Right now, I’m sitting at my desk. The wall behind my computer is cluttered with inspiring quotations:
"Don’t get it right . . . Get it written!" James Thurber
"You try and you try and you fail, and then you go deeper." Shunryu Suzuki
It also bears two blue practice targets with bullet holes not quite in the center, but close. Tony Hillerman’s blurb for my new book is affixed there, as are both of the Agatha Award nomination letters. One phosphorescent pink Post It stares back at me, its middle cut out in a nice one-inch square (this is a nod to Annie Lamott’s advice to write at least that much a day).
Today, most of these will come down.
You see, I’m one of those goofballs who actually make New Year’s resolutions. In the past, I’ve kept them pocketed away in my computer. Not this year. I want them where I can see them every day.
Sure, they look much like last year’s goals. Again, I’ll push hard and won’t know what directions all that energy will turn and flow . . .
Outside my window, the snow continues to frustrate many people in my town. Me? I built snowmen with my kids.
I packed a wad of the cleanest white and stuffed it hard into an earthen mug. With brio, I doused the ice with Kahlua and milk.
Yeah, I think 2007 is going to be a good year.