I ran into a glitch with my newsletter software, so this is coming to you a couple days late. The good news is that I was able to update this with my authentic "first day of January" journal page photo. May all our mistakes work out so well in 2023.
This month I have for you a brief essay on celebrating the new year, a bunch of new stuff on in website and podcast arenas, and a new bit of fiction.
The Blank Page
I love celebrating New Year’s Day, but not in any of the ways typically associated with celebrating New Year’s Day. My style is to do pretty much everything opposite of what most people do: On New Year’s Eve I stay at home, usually alone, go to sleep early, and wake up early the next day. I write a journal entry on a fresh, empty page. I begin a new media log. I start rounding up my lists of my favorite things in the past year. Often a nice long walk is called for. Sometimes I go to a movie theater. For me, the new year comes in ways that center quiet, restoration, and solitude, and so not only do I always look forward to it, but I am also always present with it.
I used to celebrate New Year’s in more traditional ways. Loud bars, restless drinking, staying up late. Not that a party can’t be fun, and everyone has their own ways of going about celebration—but one of the more liberating results of growing older is that you care less about how cool your habits are, or that you have habits at all. So now on New Year’s Eve, I happily tuck myself into bed before nine and wake up when the new year is just dawned, silent and still.
I’ve written before about my love of lists, reflection, and intention. I love New Year’s because it’s made of all these things. Of course the date is arbitrary. Isn’t everything. I persist in believing there is value in taking stock and creating hope, and this is as good a time as any to do so.
And so every year, I wake up early and sit down with my notebook. I write the new date at the top and look at the rest of the blank page. You fill it like you fill any other page: One word at a time. Take your time and choose the right ones.
Over at my website, I posted one round-up of book/film/music/etc. recommendations:
This has been a quiet year for me on the published writing front, but, in the spirit of the time of year, I put together a 2022 Writing Report. I do have a bit of flash fiction that will be published in February and a few other completed and almost-completed stories that I hope to find homes for this year. Also, there's a new short story on my website (more on that later).
I also restored my old newsletter essay archive. I sent out a weekly newsletter called Modern Adventuress from 2014 to 2021 and for the first few years, each edition had its own essay. I collected all the essays separate from the newsletters for easier reading at their own website, and after a bit of time offline, the website is back. So feel free to explore. (Note: I've also begun posting the essays in this current newsletter as separate pieces at the Writing page on my website.)
On the photography front, I posted some new photos to my website:
Over on my little horror film podcast, Quiet Little Horrors, we wrapped up the year with a month of found footage discussion:
I'm still working on my year-end lists, so watch for those links next month.
Kacey from the double-wide down the road hears it first. She comes to my porch one autumn morning, mismatched pajamas and muddy running shoes, dark circles and pale cheeks. She looks even more exhausted than a new mother should look. My mind jumps to the worst. “Is the baby all right?”
There is a new short story up on my website, a brief piece of weird fiction called "The Wind Chimes." I wrote it a couple of years ago and recently realized I still liked it enough to give it a home here.
Happy new year, friends.