That time of year

It’s that time of year when a blogger feels she ought to say something for the season. Some complaint about the rush and bustle and commercialization of Christmas perhaps, or some  contemplation of its real meaning, etc.etc. No sarcasm intended — I like a good rant or new insight as much as the next blogger — but I’ve not only slipped behind in posting, I have neither complaint nor contemplation to share. Same old, same old of the season, and not an original thought in my head, it seems. All I’ve really got  — and today’s is a personal report — is this sense of riding a huge wave of gratitude.

The other day, in fact, I told H. that I feel almost happier than I think I have a right to. Good health; warm, comfortable home;  loving husband and children (grown up!) and grandchildren; no one (that I can think of) I’d want to avoid if I saw them approaching; both of us involved in meaningful daily work.

My work, which takes up a good chunk of each day, is a writing project — a third novel — that I’m enjoying very much. I was recently awarded a Manitoba Arts Council grant  in the amount I’d applied for, to assist me through the next half year or so as I try to complete a near-to-ready draft of it. Not only is the financial support most welcome, but the commitment I’ve made through the application process and then its acceptance is a tremendous motivator. I’m entering this stage of the project with a rough first draft that’s lumbering and messy and full of holes. All I’ll say for a tease is that the novel has an odd uncle and an archivist in it. That may sound as dull as dust, but I think odd uncles and archivists quite fascinating, actually. — To Manitobans, whose tax dollars support the arts in this way, thank you, thank you!

My swell of gratitude also includes good news that came to me earlier this fall, namely that Turnstone Press, a great local literary house, has accepted a collection of my short stories for publication. They’re looking at a possible release date of fall 2012. The fifteen stories in this collection have gathered over time, some previously published, others new. Putting it together felt quite different from finishing a novel, but I’ll ruminate on the difference some other time. No firm title yet, for a tease.

I’m not sure how much happiness, actually, is anyone’s “right,” but I know many people struggle along without one or more of the blessings I mentioned on my list. I also know that levelled hills and smooth paths cannot be assumed or demanded on pilgrimage. But if able to to walk them a while, they’re a great gift. Not to mention the same old, same (wonderful) old of Christmas.

6 thoughts on “That time of year

  1. I have a feeling your same old, same old is pretty spectacular. And that your gratitude wells up under almost any circumstance.

    I’m so happy for your grant and new publications. This is wonderful news. Your productivity awes me.

    • Well thank you Shirley! How 15 stories piled up surprised me too, actually, if that’s what you mean by productivity, but it’s years… Hope your memoir work is going well, in between the wonders of grandbaby and New York!

  2. In Germany, in this time of the year, people gather in Weinachtsmarkts to drink gluhwein and visit with friends. No rushing around to malls. Just the enjoyment of fellowship. Would love to share some with you and H. Looking forward to novel 3. As you probably know, an archivist friend we have in common is facing some challenges. Hope the odd uncle is doing well.

    • That’s what friends R. and H. say about Austrian Advent too. Would love some gluhwein and visiting. — To echo Sue Sorensen about Mennonites in her new novel, no real archivists or odd uncles will be harmed in mine.

  3. Congratulations on the acceptance of your short stories. Can’t wait to read them.

    A blessed Christmas to you and Helmut.

    Marilyn

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