Long Time Gone

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Christmas. New Year’s. The shroud that is winter has descended the mountain flanks and into the city. It’s a quieter time. A time of stark contrasts. A time to reset before spring whispers.

Before spring dances.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

What remains of the Clark Fork River these days.
Photo: CA Hawthorne

This seems a good time to return to the blog. I’ve been a long time gone in more ways than one. And I have been gone, for the most part, since late October except for posting poetry. The exact reasons for my absence I’ll address in a different blog, but not today.
Today is about recapping…

Baby steps, Christina, baby steps.

The time that is now, is right for my return. Well, as right as it’ll ever be for the substantial changes coming to my life. Today, though, the topic is recounting the primary events that dominated my life at year’s end.

As I was considering back in October, I did participate in NaNoWriMo through November and finished the story I was working on, my word count far exceeding the amount required to win. I’m still not certain if the story is worth salvaging, but it did for me what I desired. It shook up my writing life and breathed new life into it. I learned that when I apply myself to my writing I can produce an amazing amount of work.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

As with all the pictures please click to enlarge.
Photo: CA Hawthorne

The quality was debatable, but given that I didn’t decide to participate until after my last trick-or-treater on October 31st, I’m satisfied.

For the first time in more years than I can remember I wrote a story that had nothing to do with fantasy. That was strange. As an experiment I wanted to strip away the fantasy trappings and force myself to focus on characters and plot. Because there wasn’t any planning, for the first couple of weeks I was outlining and developing characters in the morning before writing in the afternoon and evening. In the end my chaotic methods taught me a deeper appreciation for starting prepared. Another lesson learned.

Although winning at NaNoWriMo requires 50,000 words, my goal from the outset was to complete the story no matter how many words that required. My amazingly accurate guess set my personal goal at 60-65K and influenced my output from the first day. I finished with 61,824. I’ll admit, though, that I put less thought into the ending then it deserved because I couldn’t bare to work on the story another day.

Still, I’m satisfied with the result and if I should ever choose to return to the story I know I can easily rework the ending.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

The holidays brought decorations, new shoes, and an awkward pose.
Photo: CA Hawthorne

That was November.

The bigger story, and the one I’ve been reflecting upon since autumn, is where I’m going as an author. When it comes to fiction I still see myself as a fantasy writer. I can’t help myself. Yet, it isn’t lost on me that the vast majority of folks who visit here do so to read my blog and poetry.

Let me assure you all that I appreciate those who visit. What connects with those who visit is what connects with them. If someone comes here and reads a post that means something to them then I’m pleased. That’s what being a writer is all about. The blog is free. Read. Enjoy.

And then there’s the poetry…

Photo: CA Hawthorne

It includes the best of my poetry from 2011-14 and all of it was re-edited for the book. There are 87 poems spread over 4 parts with many topics, but the primary theme, which dictates the parts, covers what it’s like to battle abuse and depression—and then learning to heal.
Photo: CA Hawthorne

Have I mentioned lately that I have a book of poetry available on Amazon? Yes, that’s a plug for The Renaissance Cycle, which I published in May, 2014. You can find out more in the sidebar or visit HERE.

More than anything, 2014 was about finding a home and from that standpoint I’ve been successful, but upon shedding the ties that bound me I discovered that I need to find myself again. Missoula has changed and freed me in ways I hadn’t anticipated (it was almost exactly one year ago that I visited Missoula and found an apartment). Time and distance does that. That’s the journey that awaits in 2015 as I seek the path that best suits me or tweak the one I’m already on.

My suspicion is that the path that awaits will draw more upon the truth of who I am, the person who’s more apparent in these blog posts and certainly in my poetry. Time will tell. I thank you all for accompanying me and for your patience and understanding the past couple of months.

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