It is the first day of the new year. 2014. We are well into the teenage years of the new century before deciding what to call the first decade. Did we collectively decide on the aughts?
I wake to total darkness, unsure of the time. Thinking it’s the middle of the night, I reach for my phone and am pleasantly surprised when I see it is 5:30. I usually wake sometime around three. I notice a bluish light from the TV filtering through the crack in the bedroom door. My husband is not by my side. That’s good, we are planning to start the new year with a sunrise walk to the beach. I won’t have to convince him to get up. Not that I really need to do a lot of convincing for we have become those people, older people, who need less sleep and rise early. It’s not a bad thing.
He makes coffee, I check the weather. A 7:08 sunrise under cloudy skies. 72 degrees. We get dressed, chug our cup of joe, and head out the door at 6:30. It is no longer dark. The sky lightens before the sun lifts its head above the horizon. We hear the surf long before we arrive on the empty beach at 6:45. The seas are rough and wild, the tide is high.
I am full of hope and anticipation for the coming year. 2013 was a sea change for my family, a transformation. Like the high tide seeping across the sand, a measurable change has occurred to each and everyone of us. Every day has been an adventure, a challenge, sometimes difficult but most of the time rewarding and exhilarating. We are all living in a new place, the girls in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, my husband and I by the shore, under the palm trees of South Florida. From the landscape to the people to the weather, every thing is different. At 7:00 the sky to the east turns pink.
That damn illegal private sign mars my view. I make a resolution to not let it bother me in the new year. My second novel is about to be published in a matter of days. I am reaching for my own brass ring. My own private Idaho. A group of teenagers join us on the beach. They came across the Intracoastal bridge too. The only people on the beach as the new year dawns are trespassers. This makes me smile.
The birds that fly over my apartment on the Intracoastal have also joined us. They hover over the beach, facing the horizon, waiting for the official sunrise at 7:08. None of us will see the actual orb of the sun, it’s behind the clouds.
But as the first day of the new year dawns the clouds don’t get me down. I’ve had lots of cloudy days over the past fifty six years, some of them downright turbulent and stormy. But I am determined to live life my way, to never give up. I am chasing my dream. Clouds are a small obstacle, the sun still rises, the darkness gives way to the light.
You can’t get away from all of life’s problems by moving from one place to another but you can lighten your load. I couldn’t stand the thought of spending more years struggling to make ends meet, toiling away at work that didn’t challenge me in a cubicle that felt like a prison, my life moving faster and faster each passing year. As Hemingway wrote in The Sun Also Rises, “I didn’t care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was about.”
Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. The need to tell my stories and share them, for other people to reach out and say, I feel like that too, is as relentless as the passage of time. There is no stopping it.
Blogging is a strange thing sometimes. The blogger is sharing his or her private thoughts, triumphs, failures and ordinary, mundane days. The writer Thomas Beller has a blog called The Examined Life. We bloggers are reflecting on our lives in public, sharing our stories for anyone out there to read. Sometimes it feels like an invasion of privacy, other times it is a life line.
So stay tuned, my year is getting off to a quick start. Today or tomorrow I am uploading the edited version of The Reverse Commute. It is still an indie author’s first attempt at writing a novel without the aid of big time New York publishers and editors, but I think it’s much better. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Every artist was first an amateur.” He was certainly right about that.
By the weekend I hope to have decided on a cover for my second novel, Take Me Home. So many decisions to make on my own, where is Don Draper when I need him? The book should be available by the second week of January. Then I will open another blank page on my computer screen, for you see, another story is bubbling to the surface of my ever restless mind. At three a.m. each morning, before the sun rises, the stories float through my semi-conscious mind. As I said, once I started writing, I couldn’t stop.
Happy New Year everyone. Thanks for reading.