Happy New Year and some plans for 2016
Yes, yes – I know.
Wishing my readers a happy new year over two weeks into the year is a little belated. Never mind.
In reality, I have been a little distracted lately. And not just with the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Over the last three weeks we have had a constant stream of visitors. These include our daughter home for a few weeks after teaching all year in Clare in the mid-north of South Australia. Then we have also had our son and his family over from Sydney, including our two grand children, ages 7 and 4. They are lively children and a challenge to keep occupied. Our swimming pool has had a good workout and in that context it is good that the weather has been very warm.
Included in our busy schedule in recent weeks have been two family gatherings. The first was on the farm where I grew up which is now operated by my nephew and his three sons. It was a time of reminiscing and catching up; those present included my niece over from Perth in Western Australia and my son and family from Sydney. More recently we had a few days staying with my sister-in-law and family in Peterborough in the mid-north of the state. Once again, it was planned as a family gathering. Despite the oppressive heat – around 44C (111F) – we had a great time with plenty of great food.
Now it is time for life to get back to a little bit of normality – I hope.
2015 in review
At this time of year it is normal to review the year just gone, and to look at the year ahead. So what were the highlights for me of the year 2015?
- Reading: I managed to read a significant number of books, including some quite long works. These included Richard Flanagan’s brilliant The narrow road to the deep north, Malala Yousafzai’s inspiring I am Malala (read my review here), and the confronting Rosanne Hawke novel The truth about peacock blue.
- More reading: with the acquisition of my first eReader I ventured into a whole new reading experience. Books read on my Kobo device was a pleasant experience, and included The kite runner (a wonderful book) and The girl with the dragon tattoo (a gruesome and quite disappointing book – read my review here).
- Writing: the last year has not been a great one for me regarding getting my writing published. I had just a handful of articles published and no success in competitions.
- Blogging: With over 430 blog posts over five sites I consider the year to be reasonably successful. (You can access these posts here on this site, as well as Trevor’s Birding, Trevor’s Travels and our church site here.)
- Health: Multiple health issues over the course of the year have been a major limiting factor. Thankfully, I am seeing some light at the end of the gloom in this area.
- Biggest disappointment for 2015: not getting any of my books published, including some as eBooks.
Plans for 2016:
I haven’t actually had the time so far to list some goals for this year, but they are sure to include the following:
- Reading: continue on my programme of reading significant works of literature. currently I am reading The people of the book by Geraldine Brooks. I recently read two other books written by her: The secret chord and Caleb’s crossing.
- Blogging: at least 500 blog posts over the various sites for which I write.
- Poems and stories: I plan to submit many poems and stories to competitions journals, and magazines.
- Novels: I am still debating about whether to send my novels to print publishers, or to self-publish them as eBooks. I am leaning towards the latter.
- Non-fiction: I have many ideas for non-fiction books to be published as eBooks. Stay tuned.
- Health: I am working on improving my general health, fitness and well-being this year – with some help from my doctor and physiotherapist. I’ve already started losing weight.
Writing prompt: visiting family
Over the last year my wife and I have probably travelled long distances more often than normal to visit family in different parts of our state, interstate and even overseas (when we went to Ethiopia to visit our daughter who was teaching there).
Family visits can be interesting times – from very pleasant through to totally forgettable. Some are necessary, some are overdue and others sadly generate renewed friction. On three occasions this year already we have travelled long distances to spend time with our two grandchildren (age 4 and 1). These are times of delight as we bond with them, get to know their developing characters and play with them. It can be a bitter/sweet time as well – especially when we say goodbye because we need to travel home again. Skype is a great blessing, but you can’t give hugs over the internet.
Today’s writing prompt: write about your last visit to a family member, either close-by or far away. Describe how it went and what happened. Was it an enjoyable occasion? Or a visit to forget?
PS: I must apologise for the long gap since my last post here. I have been very busy with my lecturing commitments, as well as being very ill over the last two months. I think I’ve turned the corner as far as my health is concerned, and the semester at university is drawing to a close. Stay tuned for more frequent and regular posts here on this site.