As the year closes and the world keeps spinning

Reflection time…

Where did the year go? So many moments on which I can look back and cherish from 2014, starting with the lovely group of friends who joined me last New Year’s Eve for a dinner party at my apartment. Is each year a chapter or a page? A page if you skip the details perhaps, a chapter with its own narrative arc if you are a writer and well, that’s me I suppose.

What can I look back upon with gratitude? Here is my list which of course will not capture every one of the small moments, those that truly color my world, but will note the milestones most visible.

Another visit to Laramie to see Shannon in the spring.

Throwing a surprise birthday party for my friend Paul and managing to keep it quiet but at the same time reach some of his long time friends in far away places. The pleasure on his face when he saw them was worth the struggle to keep myself mum for six weeks of secrecy.

A long delayed trip to London, my first, and a once in a lifetime opportunity to share that experience with my daughter who was studying in France this summer. Nine days, six with her, and packed full of some of those secret and understated dreams come true.

The turning of the decade for my eldest sister who will lead the rest of us, as she has always led us, into the awaiting future. My turn is coming. I often think the last year of a decade is far more important than the first of a new one, and this year has proved that true.

Watching my eldest daughter take the lead in her first featured role at Luna Stage in The Widow of Tom’s Hill. Not only was she brilliant, but she has blossomed as an actor and as a big-hearted adult of whom I am so very proud.

The completion of the manuscript for my non-fiction work, the agreement with a publisher, the selection of which was made easy by the desire to place the first finished copy into the hands of its heroine, Imbi, who lived this incredible story and allowed me to write it.

The launch event for the book, If I Could Paint the Moon Black, at Watchung Booksellers which was attended by Imbi and hosted by my good friend Ilmar Vanderer who introduced me to her in 2008. Gratitude to my supportive friends and family who shared that evening with me.

Sharing many fleeting moments with my Vassar daughter who devotes so much time to her study of philosophy, to her job canvassing for environmental causes, to teaching dance and to dance itself. She is back in Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre this year and is as graceful and beautiful inside as she is on stage.

The opportunity to teach 4 classes this year at Montclair State, the last two of which became my experiment in asking young adults to have a candid conversation about racial tensions in our country. These yielded some enlightening and enlightened essays and responses to recent events in Ferguson and New York City and some self-reflection by the students on white privilege.

I have reconnected with some old friends this year. Kendra Murray LaVigne, Shirley Li, to name two. Through them and some of my old standbys and new members of my group of ‘usual suspects’ I have reconnected to my own heart too.

The Irish are superstitious. They fear counting their blessing lest the devil overhear them and take some of them away. I sure hope he doesn’t subscribe to this blog!

Looking ahead I anticipate starting the fifth draft of a novel I began long before I earned my MFA in 2011. A break from teaching will allow me the time for this. My work arrangements have reached a stable point and this allows me to focus for 2015. A graduation from Vassar in May, another trip perhaps Who knows what awaits?

Merry Christmas is my traditional Holiday greeting. For all my friends who celebrate different winter holidays, Hanukkah and Kwanza, solstice observances, or just Buddhist gratitude, I wish you the same Happiness and, of course,  Joy in the New Year.




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