Three things have dominated my world this year: writing, steampunk and health.
Writing-wise: May saw the publication of my fifth book, The Department of Curiosities. I started this book back in 2012. The manuscript lay unfinished. (How can one write adventure when mentally drowning?) After finding a glimmer of light, with Aunt Enid in 2018, I decided to claw myself out a little more, and a steampunk adventure was just the foothold I needed. Thanks to my writing group and my family for supporting me.
Mental health-wise: But I can only swim for so long. Exhaustion overwhelmed me. I bared my soul in Liptember and raised some money to help raise awareness of mental health issues.
For the past five months, I’ve been fighting with the Black Dog, pushed further down by unseasonal dust storms, recent heat waves (I hate summer) and nearby bushfires. I’ve been a virtual prisoner for weeks, shut inside to avoid the dust and smoke.
But finally things are looking up. The bushfires missed the in-laws vineyard, the local bushfires are finally under control, after more than ten days. The air quality has finally dropped back down to ‘safe’ (for me) levels. And I can breathe a bit better (hoping I won’t get bronchitis this time round). My hubby is helping me do the front room/writing office clean out. I’ve written a new short story and have two more to write and submit to anthologies.
Steampunk-wise: This was a big year! We finally made it to New Zealand. We did the Lord of the Rings tour, visited sites used to film a favourite tv show of mine, visited friends, met new ones, and – most exciting of all – attended the Oamaru steampunk Festival. (There’s one off my bucket list). I even donated a copy of The Department of Curiosities, to the local library.
Our local steampunk festival is growing, and looks to be even bigger next year. I can’t wait!
More recently, I’ve started a local Tea Scout troop and have been working on a new steampunk outfit suitable for a ‘uniform’. Best of all, it’s (about 95% likely) we’re heading off to Lincoln Assylum next year (crossing fingers for hubby’s holidays) and hoping to meet up with fellow steampunks and Scribbler Denizens while I’m there.
2019 promised adventures – and it delivered. It also let the Black Dog off its chain – and for that, it will never be forgiven. The Twenties is in sight, whispering new promises in my ear. And I need to believe her. I hold my breath, hoping for the weight to lift off my shoulders. I’m sure you can feel it too.
Like the roaring 1920s, the world has pulled itself through so much trauma (economical, cultural, and ecological) and needs something to boast morale. We need a break, something to celebrate. Some small relief in sight. Something frivilous, no matter how small, to lighten our spirits, to ease our souls, so we can try to ignore that deep ache in the pit of our stomach, warning us, making us wary of the next ghastly catastrophe to decend.
So I wave good bye to 2019, with glee in my eye, and hope 2020 keeps her promises. My advice? Be brave, and kind. But, mostly, be kind.
Happy New Year.