In keeping with beginning a new year, I've taken down the trappings of Christmas and packed them away, or tried to. There will be a few unnoticed shiny reminders that show up unexpectedly over the next few weeks to bring back flashes of good times, the memories aren't packed.
Christmas week, we drove north on the old Hwy 99 from Eugene to Corvallis for an afternoon concert and to deliver grandchildren gifts. We've made the winter trip often and have occasionally seen the wild swans from the north settled in the fields. Never as many or as near the road as on this trip. South of Junction City, I was thrilled to be able to see the large flock close enough to watch as they moved around. I could even see some were muddy. Impressive, beautiful birds and a very special sighting for me.
That drive north, the middle school performance, a visit with excited young people and the drive back, after dark, through a countryside brought to life by the lighted farmhouses scattered along the road, was the real beginning of our season. We added cheerful family gatherings, time and greetings from good friends, lots of music and immense love. A wonderful way to end a year and take the beginning steps into a new one.
My web page has been updated with a new essay and a partial listing of upcoming events. A couple are readings of What Next, Ms. Elliott? Another pair are workshops, Wade into Writing, geared toward beginning writers of any age. (A new project I'd like to go farther with) I'll add more as my calendar fills. I've written new columns for the Creswell Chronicle, easy to read from the link on my web page, the newspaper itself or on the Chronicle web site. Between the other writing projects and normal family life, I've been working on the next novel, Marge, Back on Track, and find myself almost satisfied.
Now I'm beginning to think toward other goals. Inspiration is high on my list and not terribley difficult to search out. Toward the end of the month I'll be attending the Writers By the Sea workshop in Yachats where I'm hoping John Reed, novelist and instructor, will help me turn the inspiration into improved story telling skills. Possibly a new direction.
One of my goals is trying to find ways to keep in touch with readers during the long spell between book publications. This newsletter is an experiment to see if it is of interest and if it's something I can keep up.