Sunday January 9th, 2011

The exercise:

Alright, it's finally time for me to take a look back at 2010. Your job? Share with us one of your favorite memories from the past year.

All of the baseboards are finally attached to the walls. I had a glass of wine with my dinner tonight in order to celebrate.


Let us begin at the beginning: January. I started off the year by finally finishing the first draft of A Fighting Chance. I was so inspired by my initial NaNoWriMo success that I thought I would try to apply the same technique to my first story and it worked very nicely.

One day I will get around to the edits and revisions.

I also spent a good portion of the month putting labels on all of my archived posts. This has helped me tremendously in avoiding unintentionally repeating prompts.

February brought the Winter Olympics to Vancouver. Kat and I escaped to the island to visit my parents and generally did our best to avoid all the hassle. Canada winning the men's hockey gold medal on the final day was pretty fantastic though.

I got to meet up with Nick, the founder of Protagonize, and a few other members of the site for the first time. It was a very fun night at the pub and it was great to finally see them all in person.

March saw us buy a car in preparation for the move from the big city (and all of its transit options) to the small town. Kat also finished her yoga teacher training program while I was going through miserably boring training at work. It was made all the worse by the knowledge that I would be quitting in June.

April was pretty uneventful, up until my appendix had to be removed on the 24th. I could have done with a more boring conclusion to the month, myself.

In May I had the pleasure of meeting Greg in person for the first time. It was so nice, I did it twice. And I finally made it back to work after my surgery. Not that I was in any great hurry.

June, the month we had been looking forward to for so, so long. Kat and I quit our secure, stable, soul destroying jobs, packed up, and headed for Osoyoos. This here blog also hit the two year mark and I had my bachelor party as well. T'was a good month.

July played host to our wedding day. And a whole lot of garden work. There were several trips to the Penticton Farmers Market to sell our veggies as well. Another good month.

In August we took our first of two honeymoons, this one up in Naramata. We're looking forward to the second one in less than three weeks, to Jamaica. Lots of successful farmer markets this month too.

September saw us start our renovations on the cabin. I am currently appreciating every inch of work we accomplished.

October was a month of renovations and winding down at the farmers market. We had our final day for the season and I have to say our first full year of doing it went really, really well.

November was all about The Jester's Journey, my second NaNoWriMo novel. Managed to write over 60,000 words in the month... without finishing the story. I will eventually though. I have this strange feeling my life depends on it. Also... more renovations.

December brought the year to a close, and with it came the decision to move into the cabin to start this year off right. We're still working on the finishing touches, but it's really starting to feel like home now.

It was a hell of a year. As wonderful as it was, I hope to never have another one like it.


morganna said...

That was quite a year, Marc. Mine had some milestones in it too, although not quite as big as, say, a wedding. :)

In April, we drove across the country (4000 miles one way) to visit my husband's ailing grandfather and other family along the way. Quite an experience doing that when neither my husband nor I had ever really driven a lot on interstate highways. And did I mention the two toddlers with us?

In August, I sent my kids to school for the first time (just preschool, but still ...)

In September, my son officially graduated from speech therapy. He had been in one therapy or another since infancy, so this was really great news that he was all done!

In December, despite some last minute glitches, my husband officially finished his doctorate after 5 years of work.

Greg said...

@Morganna: you might not have had any weddings but it certainly sounds like an eventful year! The driving alone sounds like a task and a half. Congratulations though, on both your son graduating speech therapy and your husband graduating :)

@Marc: Everything you've reviewed I think you've mentioned on the blog at some point or another, but somehow I'd not realised that it all happened in the same year -- it seems like enough for two years. Next year's bound to be calmer though, you've already had your appendix removed so it can't be removed again!

Last year was a Canadian year, I managed to visit both the East and West coasts, plus Québec, and almost all of it was for work. I discovered that east-coasters really do say "aboot," and that before I laugh at them I need to live in -30C temperatures for a while. I learned that Québec is the sex-shop capital of Canada after I remarked in passing that I'd only seen so many in Paris before. And I discovered that Vancouver not only lives up to its reputation well and truly, but that it's also in a rain-forest. That startled me.
I got a couple of days furlough while in Vancouver though, due to there being a gap between work tasks and it being (much) cheaper to keep me a hotel for two days than fly me there and back again. Somewhere in that time I met a semi-invalid with an authorial bent -- hi Marc! -- and his gorgeous fiancée. I'm not sure I made that great an impression on them as they've since fled Vancouver to the middle of nowhere, but I tried.
I also bought a dog, a little Chihuahua-Miniature Pinscher cross who has been nothing but joy ever since.

Heather said...

Marc- What a wonderful adventure (minus the appendix) you've had!

Morgana- There is little harder to do than relinquish little ones into someone else's influence. As far as that car trip you mentioned, my husband has proposed the same thing this Spring. I plan on flying :)

Greg- Canada has a lot of striking countryside. We use to visit the-middle-of-nowhere-and-call-it-camping frequently when I was younger. I've never made from ocean to ocean though. I'd like to, at some point, and preferably in the summer. Dogs can be a joy (and a burden). Love yours unconditionally.

Favorite memories, I wouldn't know what to write. But there are some that are more deeply etched than others.

For the first time in too many years, my husband, anything other than romantic and easily clued in, took me on a week long trip for my birthday. Exotic location it was not, but we had a blast all the same.

My son started kindergarten this year, a surprising development. I had intended on homeschooling until a dual-immersion program opened up just down the street (literally three blocks away). The little smarty already knows more Spanish than I do.

My daughter started preschool. It was far more emotional than I expected. My baby bird is learning to fly and I am sitting in the nest.

My own blog reached a full year. My other, two years. And, I won a few writing contests.

summerfield said...

marc, what greg said. plus congratulations on finally finishing the major jobs on the house. remember that to me, you are superman, or something close.

morganna, i love driving. in fact last year i drove down to chicago three times, the last time i made it in 8 hours from chicago to toronto - i tend to drive 19 km over the speed limit.

congratulations on your family's achievements.

greg, i would like to meet you someday soon. if you find yourself in toronto, just let me know. dinner's on me. and of course, it's no secret, i love reading your posts.

heather, i enjoyed reading your blog the few times i've moseyed on down there. i should try to visit more often.

In January, in an attempt to re-capture my writing muse, I started following this blog. Although I had modest success in that I started to write something meaningful, I almost abandoned writing. This was because in the spring, a very good friend, also a writer, told me that my stories had no "kick" in them, no real conflicts in them, which made for uninteresting read. I felt so disappointed and I decided to not write anymore or strive to get published. I very much respect this friend and her opinions.

During the summer, we had a family crisis, in that my son's marriage fell apart and he came to live with me while he tried to fix his life. He has two boys and they stayed with him at my house four days every week the whole summer. The care of these children fell on me and I used this as an excuse not to do any writing.

But I still found myself writing snippets almost everyday, especialy after spending time with the boys, listening to them, doing things with them. There was one day when the eldest during one of our conversations said "they killed my dreams". The sadness that gripped me was unexplainable listening to that being said by an eight-year old child. That's the inspiration for my take on the prompt "the interview" . Paragraphs 12 to 22 were a variation of that conversation one beautiful Saturday afternoon as we sat at the park.

There are some people who like my writing and have been following my blog and had wondered why I seldom posted. Then I remembered what my boss in my first job told me one day when I told her my teacher in high school once told me I can never be a writer because "my essays were flat". Antonia, my boss, who was educated as a journalist and came from a family of writers and scholars in the Philippines, said, "Just because one person say you're no good, doesn't mean you are. Everyone has an opinion. So I say now, you're good, and if you keep at it, you will become very good. That's my opinion. Will you take heed?"

So I kept on writing, posting on my blog every now and then. And when my other friend, Writer's Block, came and visit, I'd dash over to Daily-Writing Practice and take on the prompts. And I even started writing poems again, and learned to write 'haiku'. Of course, I have met you, guys, albeit online (for now).

My goal for 2011? For now, I strive to write at least 1,000 words everyday. And before the holidays, I looked at my old files, more specifically, the novel I had been working on and damnit I want to get at it and finish it. And maybe NaNoWriMo in November?

Watermark said...

Marc: Many congratulations on the adventures of the year - taking the plunge and leaving the city, the wedding and finishing then moving in to the cabin :)

Morganna: Congratulations to you too! Driving across the country sounds like one big adventure so well done!

Greg: I would love to visit Canada someday too :)

Heather: I've enjoyed your blog too and should visit it more often :)

Summerfield: I can relate to your ups and down with writing so well! I really do enjoy your postings so do keep writing :)

My year was quite big. I travelled to England and went back to being a full-time student. It felt very strange not having to wake up in a ritualistic manner everyday to go to work.

I experienced the big freeze in England for the first time (getting snowed in and having the heating stop working was something I will never forget!) I continued meeting different people who were almost ten years younger who challenged my perspectives and I learned many things.

I revamped my blog and started writing again in February. I also started reading a whole lot more.

I finished my course in June and I spent the summer and autumn travelling. UK, Italy, Spain, Egypt and UAE.

In November I took part in NanoWriMo for the first time and finished my first novel.

In December I finished editing the second draft of my Nano novel. It was also when I decided to quit my nomadic lifestyle and I moved back to Sydney permanently.

Marc said...

Morganna - sounds like you had an eventful year as well. Congrats on the major milestones :)

Greg - if they find a way to put it back in so that they can remove it again, I'll be very upset.

'... a semi-invalid with an authorial bent...' hmmph. :P

Heather - two kids starting school in the same year? Sounds pretty memorable to me. And it sounds like there's some hope for your husband yet! :D

Summerfield - don't encourage me too much, or I'll start jumping off the roof of the house thinking I can fly.

Although it's sad that you lost your way from writing for a while, I'm very glad you found your way back. And I think your goals for the year sound great - best of luck with them!

Watermark - a very eventful year for you as well! So much travel - a younger me would be very envious. The old me... still a little jealous ;)

Zhongming said...


June - I started a blog after reading "Writing down the bones by Natalie Goldberg". Which eventually led me to this wonderful Daily Writing Practice blog. I can honestly tell you that writing daily has bring my attention of self awareness and seriously put my intellect into test. It pushes my limits whenever I'm in a slump or feel demotivated although mostly overly-emotional but I think that's me. June 2010 is the most eventful period of my life as I keep struggling to keep up with my job and writing daily. The challenge I faced includes time-management. So I've benefitted from all areas and I am so thankful to god that I found this blog which just keep on nurturing me. Best is that the folks here are extrememly friendly with their comment and kind with their words and not to mention that you guys just keep increasing the difficulty level everytime you all write something. It's so challenging and enchanting just to read these wonderful writings! 

Marc said...

Zhongming - that book was actually the inspiration for this blog :)

I'm glad you found your way here and that you continue to share your writings with us. It wouldn't be the same without you.