Tag Archives: owls

In which I do not manage to summarize 2012

I started writing up some great state of the year post yesterday. I stopped when an owl came to visit. In the last week, the snow has finally arrived. There are tracks running through the backyard–dog, fox, children–and the leaves we didn’t rake are now hidden away.

The skies have been gray as well, and against such a background–dull silver and the black of branches–a flying owl stands out clearly. She landed in one of the pines and stayed there for much of the afternoon. During the winter, when the nights are so silent, owl calls carry a long way. It’s how I’ve come to think of winter nights since moving here fifteen years ago, a time of moonlight on snow and great echoing voices.

The owl came to usher 2012 out. The sun is here to welcome in 2013.

I’m not sure what to say about 2012. If I take a simple arithmetic approach, it had many pluses. It was a year in which I had seven stories published, completely overshadowing 2011’s two. There was a brief giddy period in the spring in which I sold every story I had available to sell, and I suddenly felt like a WRITER.

What I discovered is that I am very much in my adolescence as a writer. I’m tripping over my own feet everywhere I go, and stressing over the unruly state of my hair in the morning. At some point I will grow out of it, know who I am and where I am going.

But…but there is power in adolescence too. There is freedom in not yet knowing it all, in testing and trying and rushing into places that maturity would dictate foolish.

There is fun.

The thing about writerhood is that there is no clear graduation date. I’ve passed most of my arbitrary markers at this point. I sold my first story. I made my first professional sale. I earned my SFWA membership. I received an invitation to submit. I made it on to paper and into the library. I have an agent.

I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing.

Both my children are involved in wilderness skills classes. They have fire challenges regularly. Make a fire that …burns this long, this high, with these materials. Make your bow drill, find your tinder, work with wet logs.

The path to the fire varies. The fire itself still warms.

This is my 2013 goal. Keep learning. Find those challenges and test my skills. Learn to keep my feet under me, learn that unruly hair has its own beauty. Listen to the owls on winter nights, enjoy the sun on my face on a January day.

Happy New Year to you all!


The desk

There’s a packet of sunflower seeds on my desk. For planting, not eating. They are surrounded by bills, and envelopes, and old cards, and embroidery floss (?), and spoons for stirring tea, and books I’ve not read, and notes, and a little clay tablet made by my son that says “Mom the book writer.” In case you are imagining a very large desk–it’s not. It’s that cluttered.

The walls around it are a bit better, but not much. A card from a former client, and one I bought myself because I liked the quote; a paper bag puppet strumming a guitar; some paintings from my daughter; a piece of blue paper neatly pinned up that once held a certificate, but the certificate fell behind the computer, and now I stare at the piece of blue paper; and the back section of an old pair of kid pants that have nice pockets for storing stamps and index cards and such.

Through the window in front of me I can see the big pines in the backyard. This time of day during this time of year, I can just make out their shadows. Come summer, I’ll be able to watch the young barred owls sitting on the branches, and hear their calls well into the night.

The sunflowers promise the summer will come again. The pines tell me that things continue, that sometimes you hunch beneath the weight of snow, and sometimes you risk a lightning strike, but much of the time you just live.

It’s a good place to sit.