Farewell The Dragon!

dragonI’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:

As an editor and publisher, I:

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!

Commencify the Decomposition

Adam's Apple by dimitri_c via StockXchng

The title of this blog post alone must have you scratching your head. After all… it’s a brand new year. What the hell is this decomposition you speak of?

For half a decade I’ve been running my New Year counter to most of those around me. I start my business and creative year with the Chinese New Year (the second new moon after the solstice). This now is what I’ve called “The Pause”… the four to six weeks of tidying up unfinished projects, reflecting, releasing, plotting and planning for the coming year.

December is a particularly bad month for doing any of that.

If I needed any additional confirmation I’m doing (and have been doing) the right thing, New Years Day rolled around yesterday and I felt anything but revived, focused or ready to attack everything. In fact, it was the complete opposite. I started to wind down and take stock of everything left to complete.

The Year of the Water Serpent

This coming year–The year of the Water Serpent–kicks off on 11th February. Serpent years, under the Taoist philosophy, are considered years of introspection, planning and seeking answers. A time to ponder and think before acting. It’s a year of good taste and elegance.

When combined with my own sign it’s meant to be a great year… a time of opportunity, expansion, good luck and growth. I’m not sure where else I read it, but it’s also a slower year, one where there’s less busyness of mind going on. The ability to stop and focus on one thing at a time.

No Resolutions Here

I’m still searching out my theme and intention to bless the year with. Like running my year left-of-centre, I gave up making resolutions around the same time and began to theme my year. As I wrote back in 2008:

While New Years Resolutions are a good guide or map as to the direction in which you want to travel in the following year, they are often so discrete that they don’t give much room to move. You’re either ‘doing it’ or you’re ‘not doing it’ … in which case often before the end of January the gym membership is already gathering cobwebs in your wallet/purse, the fridge is full of chocolate again, or in a weak moment you’ve had a cigarette/fought with your sibling … you get the gist.

I’ve always liked to set intentions that could be built on over time, some that were achievable in the immediate term, some in the short term, others in the long term. After all – you don’t just build a house … foundations need to be laid, a structure erected so and so forth. Small victories lead in to larger ones further down the track.

Five years on I couldn’t agree more.

I’d like an intention or a theme that fits with the energy of the year as well as what I’m angling to achieve. Last year’s “Year of Falling in Love With Writing” and the “Year of Writing Dangerously” fit nicely with the slightly reckless undercurrent of the Year of the Water Dragon. It was a year that returned bounties I could barely have imagined or hoped for when it year  (a break down of all the year was in a few weeks).

I think I can dare to think The Year of the Water Serpent will be as good, or better!

What does your New Year herald for you?

Image: Adam’s Apple by dimitri_c via stockXchng