New Year’s Eve Musings

I was about to tweet a happy tweet and post a happy post about my happy year, when our washing machine broke down and our boiler stopped working.  It was eerily uncanny, as if the Fairy who stops you feeling too smug had flown into my house and sprinkled some of her glum magic over my life.  Andrew, my husband, fixed the washing machine in a flash (stick that, Fairy) but the boiler is a more complicated issue.  We are without central heating and instant hot water until at least Tuesday.  We’re living behind closed doors with plug-in heaters, like people living in bedsitters in a boarding house.  In fact, it reminds me of my bedsit days when I lived in rented rooms and piled coats and jumpers on top of my bedding before I went to sleep at night.  And sat up in bed to read and write, wearing scarves and hats and outdoor clothes.

Except that it’s nothing like those days because I no longer live alone, I no longer live in rented accommodation, and the lack of heat and hot water is temporary (and, in any case, Andrew has sorted out a way of providing us with hot water by heating the old immersion heater which, thankfully, we’ve always kept, even though it hasn’t been connected to the electricity).  So, back to my happy thoughts about 2017?

Yes, there are loads of good things that have happened to me and my immediate family this year.  Andrew’s health, for one thing.  There are still, and there always will be, issues to do with his prostatectomy, but he is currently cancer-free.  Our two children, now 18 and 16, did really well in their ‘A’ level and GCSE exams.  Our daughter is now studying for an English degree at Oxford University. Wow, wow, wow, we are all so bloomin’ proud of her.  Our son, after doing the absolute minimum amount of work (or so it seemed to me!) passed all ten of his GCSE exams, Grades C to A* (or the new variants of – don’t ask unless you’re up to date with the UK exam system which has had an update in recent years) and is now studying for a BTEC in Music at a local College.  He’s gigged with different bands at venues in Trowbridge, Frome, Bath and Bristol.  He’s written a song! Proud, proud, proud.

What about me?

  • I had an offer of publication from Nine Arches Press for my first full poetry collection
  • I’ve been invited to read at four different venues in 2018
  • I won a poetry comp
  • I had a poem shortlisted in another competition
  • I had a poem published in Butcher’s Dog magazine and at Ink, Sweat and Tears
  •  I read at Greenbelt Festival
  • the BBC got in touch, out of the blue, to say they’d like to repeat my radio play The Songs that Houses Sing on R4Extra in 2018
  • I got a job as Writer in Residence at a school in Bath, working one day a week for an academic year

So, hurray, hooray, hoorah, huzzah for me.  But, not so fast… the following is also true:

  • I entered loads of poetry competitions and came nowhere
  • I sent my work to lots of different magazines and it was all rejected
  • I applied for a part-time job in a library, got an interview,  failed the IT test (Oh, Mum! said my 16 year old.  Actually, he said something obscene and insulting but I don’t want to shatter the illusion of him I’ve given).
  • I applied for a residency and didn’t get an interview
  • I applied for ACE funds and got turned down
  • I applied for another residency, was shortlisted, interviewed, I handed over two pages of workshop ideas – and I got turned down
  • I applied to my local arts development agency to be included in a writers tour and didn’t even get a no thank you reply
  • I applied to a scheme looking for writers to work in schools and got turned down
  • I wrote to all of the schools in my local area offering writing workshops and didn’t get one reply

I could go on (and on) but perhaps this is enough honesty for one post.  And yet, in spite of this, or perhaps because I really do know that I am lucky, blessed, privileged, advantaged, I feel happy, satisfied, fulfilled, grateful, glad, at the year’s end.  That isn’t to say I haven’t had some sad days.  Being rejected, turned down, ignored, isn’t much fun.  I’ve had bitter, angry days.  I’m sure there will be more ahead.  I don’t know if the good has outweighed the bad for me this year.  Perhaps, because I’ve seen what is going on in our world, because that information is more readily available these days, I feel that my life is much happier than most.  My own personal circumstances are much better than they were in the past, that much I do know.

For now, that is my snapshot of my year.  I thought I’d share it with you, the good and the not so good.  And Happy New Year to you, when it comes.  I’m not thinking about any goals or resolutions just now but I am going to try to blog at least once a week, and probably on a Sunday.

27 thoughts on “New Year’s Eve Musings”

  1. Hi, Josephine. Thanks for an honest round-up of your year. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2018. I’m looking forward to your Nine Arches collection already (do come and feature at Leicester Shindig, which Jane Commane co-runs, if distance and time permits). Hope your boiler woes are soon remedied x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year Josephine and family. Lovely to read of your success and so heartening to read your shared woes because honesty and upfrontedness are pretty high on the list of humane qualities. I wish you the best in 2018. Your work ethic and steadfast keeping-it-all-together are inspiring. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Josephine – well done on the successes and thank you for including the things that didn’t work out. It gives us all some hope. The kids seem to be doing great and I am so pleased to hear that Andrew is well. All the best to you.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jo – happy new year to you and all your readers. I loved your balancing of successes with the relative failures and surely there ought to be more of this on social media to counteract its more pernicious effect – the impression that we all inevitably form that everybody else’s lives (and poetic careers) are blossoming so much more than . . . etc etc. More and more I come to think social media erects idols (ie. false realities) which – like the gods of old – slowly gain a life independent of all human input; they become “false gods whose supposed reality diminishes our possibilities as human beings”. Bit heavy for NYDay – but thanks to your blog

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cheers, Martyn. I think part of the problem is the restricted space on Twitter, for example, even with the extra characters. Then there’s the desire to sell magazines and books, I think that encourages people to only post praise and positive words. I would really like to read more balanced reviews and I’d like to learn to write them. Perhaps that’s something I’ll aim for this year. Happy New Year to you! – Josephine 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are welcomed

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.