Looking 2013 in the eye

Ah, 2012. Memorable? Yes. Fun? Sometimes. Challenging? Always. On balance, though, I’m really not sad to see it go.

2012 was great but exhausting.

A friend of mine chooses a word at the beginning of each new year that she hopes will encapsulate the year to come. That sounded like an interesting idea to me, so I tried it at the beginning of 2012. I chose the word perspective, thinking that was something I was going to need when my book came out and reviews started coming in. It was an aspirational word in some ways, a recognition of how hard it was going to be to keep my feet on the ground, of the effort I would have to exert to keep from getting overwhelmed by everything.

It turned out that perspective was important, but not exactly as I expected. I thought perspective was something I already possessed, something I had to maintain, but that was only partly true. Perspective is also something to be gained, a broadening of vision and a new understanding. That’s sometimes a painful and harrowing process, however worthwhile.

What should this year’s word be? I wanted something that included ideas of healing and restoration, as well as openness and optimism. I need all those things right now, but that’s a lot of weight to put on a single word.

Unless the word is art. I believe that’s my word for 2013. Let’s see how it goes.

And happy new year to you and yours!



Io Saturnalia!

We celebrated Saturnalia on Sunday, ourselves, because the weekend was the most convenient time to open presents and prepare our Roman feast. This year it was leg of lamb, lentils, cucumber salad, barley, and our old favourite olive relish. Mmmmm. Olive relish. I could just scoop that stuff into my mouth with a shovel, and I don’t even like olives particularly. That’s the wonder of Saturnalia.

I’m sure you’ve got celebrations of your own up and coming, or already celebrated. Best wishes for a joyful season to you all! I, for one, am seriously ready for the days to start getting longer again, but even the anticipation has cheered me up immensely. We’re almost around that corner, and winter in Vancouver is only ever a prelude to spring, really.

Seraphina got a lovely mention on an NPR best-of list today. My heartfelt thanks to Maggie Stiefvater for that.

Last but not least, a favourite bit of never-fail seasonal cheer, whippet style:

Dear friends

A number of you have asked me very specific questions in the comments recently. I just wanted to pop in and apologize for being slow to answer. I was in bed all weekend with what appears to be the Actual Flu, hoping for my first fever-free day today. I’ll get to you soon. I just need a few more naps.

Thanks for your patience! Here, enjoy a little “pocket bassoon” music while you wait:

All hail the glorious rackett, prince of wind instruments!

Like the noble whack-a-mole

…she pops up again! Fetch the hammer! Seraphina is back on the NYT bestseller list at number… er… hang on, I need to use my toes.

#12! Brava!

So ok, it helps that they’ve newly separated out MG from YA, to say nothing of adding an extension at the end there. But we’ll take it!


Morris Award Finalist!

Seraphina is a Morris Award Finalist, as you probably gleaned from the title of this post! You’re super clever that way, I realize. Here’s the official announcement from YALSA. I am so very honoured and excited, I can’t even tell you.

To celebrate, let’s join Metsatöll in Finland! That’s a great idea!

Play it Lauri! And the little conductor dude is adorable. Ah, I’d have loved to have been there.

This is just to remind myself

Last week a friend told me an interesting idea about art, and I think I need to write it down. She’d told me before and it fell right out of my head. Clearly, there’s too much in my head if stuff this interesting is falling out, but the blog is just going to have to be my auxiliary brain for the moment.

The idea, most simply put, is that art is medicine.

It doesn’t sound so earth-shattering put that way,  though. And what does that even mean? Art therapy? That’s not a new idea.

Art therapy tends to focus on doing art, though, which can indeed be a very healing activity. My friend’s angle was slightly different: when we make art we are not just healing ourselves, we are facilitating other people’s healing. It can take so many different forms: a blanket around someone’s shoulders; a forceful blow to the diaphragm that will dislodge airway obstructions; a strengthening elixir.

(Note: this is not the only thing art can do, and not all art does it. But it’s an interesting reason to make art, I think, and an interesting by-product sometimes when you think you’re doing something else)

Whatever we’re suffering, someone else is suffering too, has suffered before, will suffer again. We think we’re isolated and alone and unrelatable, but we’re not. We’re non-unique in the best possible way (to paraphrase John Green in An Abundance of Katherines)(My favourite John Green book for precisely this reason: Colin and I have suffered many of the same doubts and revelations).

Anyway. Just laying that out there to remind me, because this is something I’ve forgotten before. If it jogs an idea loose in you as well, hooray, and welcome.

Fan art Monday!

Hm. I guess if I wanted to be alliterative, I’d have waited til Friday. I know from experience, though, that waiting begets procrastinating, which begets forgetting, which begets embarrassment, which begets more procrastinating, etc. It never ends. The time for fan art is NOW! I have proclaimed it thus, and thus mote it be!

Two lovely pictures after the fold. The second image is possibly spoilery. You have been warned.

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