Thursday, January 15, 2009

Birthday Wishes for 2009

Today is officially my coldest birthday ever. It was 19 below zero last night, and today the high’s supposed to hit negative six, with a wind chill between 20 and 40 below zero. The kids are home from school because of the cold, and it’s likely school will be cancelled tomorrow as well. It’s supposed to go down to 21 below tonight, with wind chills as cold as 50 below zero. I could do without the arctic cold, but it’s nice to have my daughters home for my birthday. My 14-year-old has been experimenting with new frosting flavors for my birthday cupcakes (more opportunity to try out new frostings than with a cake). And my 16-year-old needed the extra day to prepare for final exams.

Since my birthday falls just after the start of the new calendar year, I tend do a lot of looking back, and looking ahead. January’s a good time for introspection. The world’s frozen solid, and I can manage a lot of philosophizing over a cup of hot herb tea (flavor of the moment, Bigelow Apple Cider). So much has happened this year. When my first book, Nature’s Pentacle, came out with Loose Id last February, I intended to keep my public and personal lives separate. But because it’s been an eventful year for my family, my life as an author hit a collision course with my private life, and I gave up trying to separate out the threads in my blogs, newsletters, and such.

Looking back, I’ve had three e-books and a novella released this year with Loose Id (one of them an EPPIE finalist). That’s a lot of writing. Looking ahead, I just turned in the manuscript for Blazing Pentacle, the third book in my Pentacle Series, and I’ve got lots more projects planned for 2009. I’m starting out the year with a NY targeted project; then I’ll go back and forth between writing erotic romance and other genres. That’s the current plan, in any case.

In the midst of all the writing I did this year, family life kicked out all sorts of events. In June, at our family’s solstice celebration, my older daughter came out of the closet to us, and my younger daughter followed not long after. Both of them came out at school in October (the older as lesbian, the younger as bi). I can’t begin to say how much I admire their courage and determination to be themselves. It was a rocky process, and teenage emotions ran high around here this fall. As a bi woman, I can’t begin to imagine having come out as young as they did. But the world’s changing, and Gay-Straight-Alliances at schools have gone a long way to provide a safer, more informed environment than when I was in school. This makes the top five of my “thank goodness” list for the year.

I finished the rough draft for Blazing Pentacle in early November, and soon after that, my younger daughter, who has Cystic Fibrosis, ended up in the hospital with pneumonia in both lungs. I put writing and promotion on hold for an entire month, focusing on family. My daughter’s doing great now. Her weight’s back up, and her lungs are clear. With incredible maturity for a 14-year-old, she’s been doing a lot of thinking about her future as a person with CF, asking important questions, and facing some of her fears.

Number one on my wish list for ’09 and every subsequent year--a cure for CF. Number two on my wish list--equal marriage rights across the US so my girls have the option to marry whoever they love, wherever they want, enjoying the same rights as any other American.

One of the best things about ’08 was that everyone in my family made new friends. It seems to me like that’s always an important goal for a year. I hope we’ll be able to say the same at the end of ’09. New things are important, but so is continuity. Like any other year, we watched the seasons parade through our backyard, from the soft greens of spring, to the explosion of color in our summer gardens, to the russet brown and deep burgundy of autumn. Now, the yard is covered in snow, and every day our bushes and trees fill with the movement of wings as birds dart back and forth, visiting the feeders.

With the world quiet and wrapped in snow, I’ll take a moment to make a few birthday wishes. In 2009, I wish all of you a world of success, a wealth of friendship, and just enough adventure to keep life interesting. I wish for financial security for those who are currently struggling in a difficult economy. I wish for peace where there’s now war. And I wish for discoveries and events filled with wonder and promise.

Happy 2009, everyone!