Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: The Year That Was (And Is, For Five More Hours) ...

This year, by every metric I can conceive, was better than last year.

And that's saying a lot.

Surely 2013 was the nadir. Or the realization of the pendulum swinging as far as possible into bleakness. Not that I'm trying to tempt fate to prove me wrong, mind you. I just mean to say that 2013 sucked. Really, truly, awfully, painfully sucked.

So 2014 was bound to be better.

And it was.

I took on some wonderful clients. (I am so pleased to be a part of Michele Woodward's team.) And I took on – and then dropped – and then took on again – and then dropped again a not-so-wonderful client. The people were nice. The work did not suit me. But the on-again, off-again process taught me to trust my instincts the first time around. You know: for the next time.

I helped a lovely doctor with the best name in the world – Starla Fitch – bring her book into the world. What began as a technical exercise morphed into much, much more. I appreciated her faith in me as we tackled some new ground for both of us. I may not know everything from the get go, but I'm a quick study. And my goal was only ever to make her look good, and on that front, we succeeded. Editors are very anonymous that way: If we do our jobs well, no one can tell that we're doing our jobs.

At long, long, long, long last, I met the delightful and charming David Leite. We snuck in brunch at Dillman's right before Brendan Sodikoff shuttered the joint to turn it into Cocello. Happily, though, in recent days the news has surfaced that Dillman's will be back in 2015. Finally, a place to get good deli. Good deli is ridiculously hard to find.

And speaking of Cocello, I was pleased to have dinner there with the only person in my life who may like octopus as much as me. Or maybe I like it as much as him. In any event, it's good to have an octopus friend.

I hatched a plan this summer to publish a wee e-book – a weeebook – or an ebook(let) – of cookie tips. I've been baking for so many years, it seemed like a good idea to gather all the bits of information in my head and commit them to virtual paper. And, remarkably, I actually published it, earlier this month. As I've mentioned to friends, it is the publishing equivalent of wading into the shallow end of the pool and putting my face in the water before mustering up the courage to drift into the deep end and feel the floor disappear underneath me. In real life, though, I've always been a fan of the deep end. It'll be good to return to it in the coming year, metaphorically speaking.

Because now that I've published my ebook(let), I'm more inclined to write and publish again. For as much as I rail against e-readers, though, I really rather like electronic publishing. It suits my impatience.

The aforementioned David sold his memoir this year, which I am very eager to read, as David is a spectacular writer. It's scheduled to be published in 2016 or 2017. I marvel at that. I'm glad to be able to maintain interest in a project for a week. I don't know if I have the constitution to marshal a book through a process that takes years.

Working for myself suits me. And while I'm still getting the knack of the hustle required to find new projects and keep things humming, I am enormously grateful for the freedom this life affords me. Sometimes, it takes me a while to get a message, but I finally have. (Thanks for not hiring me, Mark. Truly. It was absolutely the right decision for both of us. I just didn't realize it at the time.)

I've had some clients return to me and recommend me to others, which is both lovely reinforcement and endorsement. I look forward to building on that foundation and planting new seeds in the coming year (to mix metaphors).

And I am very much looking forward to singing – and recording – in the coming year, too. I've been pondering a return to the voice class I've taken in the past, to get back into the swing of things, so to speak. And was very, very saddened to learn of the recent passing of the woman who taught the class. Gwen was just the teacher I needed when I embarked on taking classes and I'm so sorry that I won't have the privilege of studying with her again. But her passing has only strengthened my resolve to sing and record and maybe even – gasp! – perform. I feel like I owe it to her as well as to myself.

As this particular decade of my life speeds along, I realize every day the truth of "Life begins at 40." For 2015, I decided to choose a word as a touchstone of sorts for the year. I chose the word "become."

The process is already underway, of course. It began the day I arrived on this pale blue dot. But I am more aware of the process now and more ready than ever to steer when I can steer and to let go when I should let go and see where it all leads me.

May 2015 be all that you hope it to be(come).


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