Happy New Year!

Sydney fireworks with Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Hey, remember me? Your friendly neighborhood blogger who pretty much fell off the face of the earth in 2017? Well, fear not, I was actually just sitting in my car for most of the year. I had kids spread across 4 different schools in 4 different towns and between the driving and the admin (OMG, the admin!), I wound up with zero time to do anything else. (Seriously, do not ever do this. I have no idea how any of us survived!)

Mother driving lots of kids around

Actually, it’s not entirely true I did nothing but drive and precision-plan logistics on a military scale. I did chicken scratch my way through lots of poems. You know the type – lines jotted on the back of receipts at the grocery store, stanzas scribbled on medical brochures. I even won the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award, which was fun, as my work doesn’t usually dovetail so neatly into activism. I also did some blogging about things that got under my skin, and had a good handful of pieces accepted for publication in various Stateside journals.

Additionally, we moved house, my husband changed jobs, and I had a good ride on the rollercoaster that is autoimmune disease. At the moment, I’m in a Graves flare, which makes me feel like I’m in a video game climbing towers and leaping over ravines whilst being chased by flame-throwing zombies. On the plus side, since I no longer sleep, I now have plenty of time to read.

Woman scaling building

Here are 5 books I’ve gotten through since Christmas (in a Celtic Cross spread because I’ve been reading Tarot cards again, too). I enjoyed them all in different ways, with Counting by 7s being my favorite. After reading each, I then spent some time perusing reviews on Goodreads, which is something I’d recommend to other writers as I learned a lot about how different readers respond to voice and story. I also came to appreciate just how much personal bias affects the way readers perceive something eg. most of the criticism levelled against The Thing About Jellyfish was sadly because a secondary character happened to be gay, rather than because people disliked the book itself.

Books - Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, The Things I Didn't Say by Kylie Fornasier, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler and Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

 

The Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti with Barbara Moore

So what does 2018 look like at WordMothers? Well, I have some new resources pages coming. The existing ones get a lot of use from visitors and I thought it would be helpful to add some more. I’m planning to write up some tips gleaned from the 300+ interviews I did (here’s a teaser: yes, you really, really must have an author page on Facebook!) and I’m also toying with the idea of doing some reviews.

Please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see on this blog, and best wishes to you for peace and productivity in the year to come! (And presents! Why call it quits just because Christmas has come and gone and the tree died in a heat wave weeks before, amiright?)

Christmas tree with presents beneath

Cheers,

Nicole

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16 thoughts on “Happy New Year!

  1. Fab to see you back, Nicole, we need some stories from the driving please, and hope the mania settles in all facets. But, as mum, you’ll manage anyway. That’s what mums do. Sucks sometimes. But then there’s joy. Wishing you loads of joy in 2018. xxFi

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    • So lovely to hear from you, Fiona! I already feel the mania settling – school holidays are the best! Hope you had a relaxing holiday and best of luck with both of your careers in the new year! xo

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  2. Welcome back! Good to hear things are settling down for you again. Juggling life as a mum and living your dream is always a balancing act. One you handled and survived, you superhero! Well done. Stories about the drives, the juggling act, raising kids and staying sane – sometimes the best stories and lessons come from every day life. Hope you have some time to rest this year and all the best for 2018.

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    • Hi, Juanita! Great to hear from you. Yes, so much to balance and I find it all comes and goes in cycles. I did nothing at all on my novel this year as I couldn’t maintain any focus, but frenzy has always been very good for my poetry. I just hope to get a bit more time at my desk next year as there is only so much you can do when you never get near a computer. I hope the year has been kind to you and you’ve had a nice holiday break in preparation for 2018! Thanks for reading. x

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  3. Delighted to see you back Nicole! And congrats on all your multitasking skills- the driving in particular and of course poetry. Marvelous! Wishing you all best of everything for 2018! Love to see book reviews on your site. Xx

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    • Hi! So nice of you to pop in. I am not sure I should be congratulated on my driving skills, but at least we mostly got where we needed to go! I am just hoping to be a little less destination-driven this year! As for the reviews, I’ve held off to date as I don’t get a lot of time to read during term and I’m also wary of criticizing books when I appreciate how much blood, sweat, and tears go into making them, but I also find myself falling in love with characters and voices and stories and it would be nice to open up the opportunity to share that with my readers. So I’ll have to see if I can come up with a considered approach to make it work. Anyway, thanks for saying hello and I hope your year gets off to a great start! x N

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  4. Hi Nicole. Congrats on your winning poem which I enjoyed very much. An empathetic pat on the back for driving 4 ways daily..really hope this improves in 2018. I too had been running around like a turkey in 2017, a good year for me, however I did wonder where your inspiring Wordmothers was hiding. Keep up your awesome support for women and writing.
    Adrienne

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    • Hi Adrienne, I was actually just thinking about you the other day…and here you are! Sorry to hear your year was a bit manic as well — part of that would be the high school transition for sure. Hope it went well for you guys and here’s to 2018 being more routine all around! Thanks for saying hello. x

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    • Thank you, Pamela! I’m going to spend some time this holiday thinking about which direction I want to take with the blog, so hopefully once the kids go back to school, I’ll be back at it. Hope everything is going well in your world!

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  5. Gosh, you remind me of me a few years ago. I used to say that I have no idea how our youngest learnt to walk, because he spent his early years strapped in a car seat while I drove his older siblings hither and thither. I get quite wistful about those days now that my kids are older, but reading your post has reminded me that I’m just wearing the rose-coloured glasses of memory. No doubt, you will, too, one day! 😉
    I loved ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ when I read it for book club. So intelligently done and really made me think.
    Happy New Year to you, and best wishes for 2018! 🙂

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    • Hi Louise! My only real complaint about all the driving is that it’s 4 hours a day that I can’t do anything else. I do appreciate your nostalgia because there is definitely something to be said for having all your kids in one place and being able to spend that much time together talking through each day. As for the book, I spoiled the surprise by reading something I shouldn’t have beforehand, but it was definitely a piece that made me think (and expand my vocabulary!) and I found the voice really unique. Anyway, thanks for popping in to say hello and all good things to you this year! 🙂

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