I’m coming back to a draft of this post, almost two weeks after I sat down to write it: two weeks into the new year. To say I’m not quite ready to let go of the Year of the Water Dragon is possibly the understatement of the last 13 months.
I washed up on the shores of The Year of the Dragon, burned out, disillusioned, without confidence or trust in my abilities as a writer. 2011 was my annus horribilis. I wasn’t sure what would come next, only that I didn’t want to go back to where I’d been.
In the end I decided I wanted to fall in love with writing again. I wanted the deep immersive transportation to another place, to completely inhabit another person’s skin. I wanted the experience of writing when I was 17 and juggling a novel with completing the HSC.
From a business perspective it was time to tidy up loose ends, to stop being a serial starter, to get over the addictive buzz of the new and finally clear the decks.
A YEAR OF FALLING IN LOVE aka THE YEAR OF WRITING DANGEROUSLY
Love is always a bit of a gamble. So I paired my year of falling in love with the Write Anything call to write dangerously… to get out of the comfort zone. For me, the comfort zone had been for too long, about doing nothing.
Post Marked: Piper’s Reach provided the heady infatuation that grew into something big and wonderful and amazing…and around it my writing flourished. Working with Adam has been a dream, a blessing, a ride full of laughs intersected with moments of serious introspection, inquiries about the colour of toast, planned spontaneity and a ping-pong return of ideas and music. It is proof it only takes on person who believes in you, your abilities and crazy ideas to lead you back to the core of believing in yourself.
From Piper’s Reach came the first flowerings of brand new short fiction. From my shift in focus and routine came the space to write. From tackling unfinished publishing projects came the impetus to return to unfinished pieces of my own writing and complete them.
Did I fall in love? Yes I did…at that deep level, where the world dissolves and disappears, where you find yourself with your heart caught in your throat, heart pounding, holding your breath in anticipation.
I also managed to push just about every boundary in my writing in terms of what I had done in the past and what I was prepared to have a crack at.
In thirteen months, I:
- wrote and had published my first vignette Intersected. It went on to be re-published in Vine Leaves Literary Journal, best of printed anthology (it was pulled from the opening story of my failed 2011 NaNoWriMo campaign).
- wrote 29 very bad haikus for the February haiku challenge.
- participated in almost a third of Form and Genre Challenges (my favourites What I Left to Forget, Thirty-Eight Degrees South and Birthed)
- finally got a chance to participate in a Rabbit Hole weekend literary adventure
- completed and published a novella (ELYORA at the start of June was 5000 words of an unfinished short begun in 2011 by December it was a published novella with Review of Australian Fiction).
- completed my first two short film adaptation (Lily Mulholland’s Grey, Like Stone and Dan Powell’s Driver and The Beautiful Highway)
- wrote close to 30,000 words on Post-Marked: Piper’s Reach
- wrote and published with Adam the Post-Marked: Piper’s Reach Christmas Special – a collection of six vignettes set in 1991.
- wrote my pledged 24 articles for Write Anything, and a few other guest articles around the traps.
- had my first science fiction story accepted for publication here in Australia, in Fablecroft’s ONE SMALL STEP (Firefly Epilogue is another unfinished piece from 2011).
As an editor and publisher, I:
- sat on my first con panel at Conflux and then later on a GenreCon panel in Sydney.
- had a real life bookstore release of FROM STAGE DOOR SHADOWS at Smith’s Alternate Bookstore, along with four other authors, with Jack Dann presiding as MC.
- completed and released DECK THE HALLS: tales of festive fear and cheer.
- mentored eP’s first QUT intern.
- kicked off the LMT movie project alongside Devin Watson.
- trialed the community publishing partnerships program, resulting in the publication of BEST OF FRIDAY FLASH: Volume Two and BEST OF VINE LEAVES LITERARY JOURNAL 2012 and the installation of it as part of eP’s yearly publishing schedule.
- learned the subtle art of saying no.
WITH A LITTLE HELP
These things don’t happen in isolation. I’d like to thank the following people (in no particular order) for the support, the helpful shoves, the investments in my work and help they gave so generously in 2012 (many of them without even realising!):
Dan Powell, Stacey Larner, Tom Dullemond, Alan Baxter, Laura Meyer, Josh Londero, Jessica Bell, Tiggy Johnson, Daniel Simpson, Benjamin Solah, Melanie Selemedis, everyone in the Sub-Committee Facebook group, Paul Anderson, Peter Ball, Alex Adsett, Paul Landymore, Aimée Lindorff, Meg Vann, Nicky Strickland-Cavalchini, Damon Cavalchini, Jason Nahrung, Andrew McKiernan, Kate Eltham, Lesley Halm, Matthew Lamb, Amy Stephenson, Rowena Specht-Whyte, Tehani Wessely, the literary Mix Tapes authors, Jon Strother, Devin Watson, Dale Challener Roe, Jen Brubacher, Zena Shapter, Lily Mulholland, Nicole Murphy, Jane Virgo, Jack Dann, Janeen Webb, Paul Phillips, Jo McClelland, Susan Talbot, Amanda Roche, The Elyora Brains Trust, the readers of Piper’s Reach, Rus Vanwestervelt, everyone who bought an eP publication, Ty Dawson, Erica Blythe, Greg McQueen, Ron Cleghorn, Leanne Cleghorn, Kate Campbell… and three very special guys:
Adam Byatt, Dave Harris and my Mr D.
This concludes transmissions for 2012 and the Year of the Water Dragon. Thank you for giving me back my passion, my grounding and my will to write again. Roll on the Year of the Water Serpent!