It is about this time each year when I reflect on my past year’s accomplishments as an author.
My memoir pieces and personal essays have been in readers hands since my first publication, back in 2016. A lot has happened in that time as I continue to grow as a writer sharing my stories from my heart, and driven from my life experiences, both good and bad.
As of this time, I have twelve personal essays included in anthologies, two in literary journals, and two in a national magazine. That’s not counting the unpublished works I have shared. Most recently, in September, I wrote an essay which is in the Unbound Display with the Public Library in Cincinnati.
And of course, there is my debut book, Out of Chaos: A Memoir, published with Boyle & Dalton Publishers in August 2018. Last August, was the One-Year-Anniversary of it its release.
Recap of 2019
I have enjoyed meeting you in person and appreciate having been welcomed into a variety of rooms to share my writing and my book.
One of these rooms was in the historical Clifton House in Cincinnati. There, in January I shared with a reading from the last few pages of Part 1 in my debut book. I especially enjoyed the talent shared by other authors as well as area poets, storytellers, and even musicians who played 1920s jazz. A big thank you to Tracy Conner who hosted and invited me to this evening of entertainment.
In February, I participated in the annual V-Day event, locally hosted with Women Writing for (a) Change. I was one of eighteen presenters in an evening of spoken monologues in the fight against gender-based violence. Much appreciation goes to Laurie Hughes who brought us together as a community to make it happen.
A summer weekend found me at the Midwest Writing Workshop in Muncie, Indiana. There, I was especially honored to meet journalist, Michael McColly, as well as Matthew Clemens, one of the writers to bring the TV show, CSI, to its success. Reconnecting with industry leader, Jane Friedman gave me new insight to bring into my writing life and online presence. Ms. Jama Kehoe Bigger is one of the great smiles behind the event planning.
Come autumn, I was in the library rooms meeting readers and other authors. These included the Local Book Fair in Burlington, Kentucky, as well as the First Area Writers Festival and Book Fair with Clermont County Public Library in Ohio.
Last year, I was also an online guest, first with an interview for All Author, and then in a podcast with the editors for borrowed solace literary journal. While these online events are behind us, you can still read the interview and listen to the podcast. Links are available on my Events Page (link, below.)
Blogging my journey this past year has been fun for me. It also gives me ahaha moments of both reflection and inspiration, and I hope it does for you as well. A shout-out thank you goes to my blog followers, especially Justin Centers and Andrew Lutes.
2020 Writing Goals
I like to set goals for the upcoming year rather than making New Year’s resolutions. Some goals I achieve, some I set aside and some roll-over as renewed goals. I suppose that is how life rolls with anything planned. So long as we put in the action, then relabeling it from goal to renewed goal makes sense, at least to me. Whereas, if we had called it a resolution, that would set us up for a feeling of failure. And (I believe) action never leads to failure, but rather to an outcome, if not right away, then when the time comes.
My goals this year involve more writing and an even deeper involvement in my local area community. In my writing, I will continue in the research and craft for my next full-sized book. This is a critical biography of my maternal great-grandmother, Marie (1904-1987). More about Marie is on my Dedications Page (link, below). As I become more involved in my community—helping others, serving on boards, and growing through my writing, I can’t help but to think of this woman who greatly influenced my childhood. I admit it is a lengthy work to unfold. Therefore, my yearly goal is to complete a thorough rough draft.
Another book is also stirring in me to be written. This will be a novella length memoir (much shorter than my debut book.). In this, I will share a recent and current unfolding of events, as if a postscript to my first book. You see, our story never truly ends. There is always room for growth, for new understanding, for relationships to begin or be renewed. I will push forward in hopes to complete this book this year.
And I will continue to write bite-size personal essays to share with you, my readers.
2020 Community Goals
While writing can and often is a solitude-thing, community is as much a part of my life, bringing it full circle.
In my membership with Tri-State Freethinkers, I have accepted a board position, effective last month and to last two years. In this role, I will be responsible for writing a monthly group newsletter. I look forward to the difference I can make in this community involved, social, academic, and activist group for those in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
At the end of 2018, I ended my connection to Covington Writers Group. Professional advice following unrelenting cyber harassment prompted me to enter 2019 without them. This led to my participation with Not Your Grandma’s Writing Bootcamp, a local group which emphasizes creativity over craft.
And I’m excited to say I am on a steering committee, Gifted Writing Hands Collective, to bring a writing workshop to high-school students and community members. With the guidance of writing mentors, it is to encourage people from different backgrounds to share their perspectives as we bridge divides and allow for healing, both individually and communally. This event is modeled after the Community of Stories, which was an annual event through the School for Creative and Performing Arts, Cincinnati (2014-2018). Tentatively, our event will happen this April.
It is Our Journey
I will continue to share my journey with you in my blog and I hope to meet you at an upcoming event. Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts, your predictions and questions. I’m here for you and your comments are always welcome. Thank you all for being in my reading circle. Together we can continue to make life better, both individually and as a community.
Closing out this blog post, I have a Thank You Video to share with you. When you have a few minutes, I hope you pause in your day, reflect on your accomplishments and goals, breathe some fresh air, and find a quiet moment for this video.
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