New Year Wishes
January 3, 2020
I’m writing this three days later than intended, partly because it wouldn’t have been wise to mix my words with Baileys liqueur, and partly because today – on J.R.R. Tolkien’s twelfty-eighth birthday – it felt like a fitting time to mark the beginning of my writing year.
This auspicious day would probably flown straight over my head, (sorry Professor) if my thoughtful other half hadn’t bought me this fab calendar, illustrated by the great Alan Lee. Maybe it was the fizz talking, but the moment I opened it on Christmas morning I had a warm tingly feeling in my bones that 2020 was going to be a breakthrough year for me. Or, as I’ve chosen to name it: my Phoenix year.
A bold and unusual statement from me. I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, let alone risk jinxing myself by committing them to paper. Like most good intentions, once the festive glow of New Year has lost its sparkle they rarely stick around for long. When my best-laid plans inevitably go awry and my arse is still the size of Mars, I’ll only have myself to blame for feeling miserable as sin. You won’t catch me falling into that old trap again or I may as well strip naked and start my public walk of shame now.
Shut up 2019 Wendy. I’m no longer a slave to your negative thinking. I know, I know, I made the same promise to myself in my 2019 New Year’s post, but this year will be different. I’m different.
2020 Wendy is a free elf!
On Hogmanay, I emptied my jingly boots and hat of everything that’s been weighing me down. Okay, not quite everything. Only the parts that were holding me back from becoming the truest most authentic version of myself. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m completely comfortable in my own skin yet. Maybe I never will be, but I’ve come to accept who I am and the writer I’m striving to become.
Call it serendipity, call it self-therapy, call it madness, but some of the deepest, hardest truths I’ve learned about myself in the last decade have revealed themselves through the long soul-searching process of writing The Crystal Keeper. We each have to weave our own path through life. It doesn’t always lead us where we want to go, but for better or worse I believe it takes us in the direction we need to grow.
It just so happens I’m a late bloomer.
By the end of 2020, l’ll have taken my fiftieth trip around the sun. Believe me, no-one is more shocked than I am. It’s a pretty sobering thought knowing I have more time behind me than I have ahead. Sadly, no matter how much I wish I could implant my battered and rusted forty-nine-year-old brain into my slimmer, perkier twenty-year-old body, whilst still retaining everything I’ve learned since, I can’t. Such is the cruelty of life.
I’m not going to lie. There have been plenty of nights I’ve woken in a panicked, perimenopausal sweat, doubting, fearing that I’ve left it too late to reinvent myself. That in spite of all the years of hard graft I’ve spent honing my craft the odds of publishing success are stacked against me. They are, no question about it, but that doesn’t mean I’m past my sell-by date. Far bloody from it. As Gran in my story would say, ‘Yer a long time deid.’ Until then I plan to keep on writing, whether it leads to success or not. I owe to myself and my characters to tell their epic story.
With that it mind, I have only one goal for 2020 and it’s this:
I will do everything in my mortal power to turn the last twelve years of blood, sweat and tears and many, many manuscript drafts into a book-shaped reality. The stars won’t come to me. The time has come time for me to crawl out of the dark cave I’ve been holed up in for forever and a day, dust off my wings and fly. With guts, determination and the spirit of Tolkien to guide me, I’ll either rise to meet my sun-bright dreams or fall to my doom like Icarus. Whatever destiny awaits me, it won’t be from lack of trying.
Upon The Hearth The Fire is Red
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.’J.R.R. Tolkien
Happy Birthday Professor. And a happy New Year one and all.