#Manifest20 · Personal

End of Year Reflections

Are you ready for what’s coming? I’m happy to wrap this decade up and move on to the next one. As #Manifest20 comes to a close, I’m feeling hopeful about the new year. I’ve slipped behind on my posts over the holidays so this is a quick catch up. I’ll reply to the rest of the prompts tomorrow. Feel free to respond to any of the questions in the comments section or link to your own blog post/ response.

  1. Where did you feel safest this year? Describe the person, place or thing that made you feel safe in 2019.
  2. Who did you meet?
  3. Happy Solstice! Today is the longest night of the year, and the light will begin returning from tomorrow. How do the seasons affect your creative life? What new projects do you have planned for 2020?
  4. A picture is worth a 1,000 words.  Share a photo which sums up a significant event from the past year, or give us 1,000 words about a pivotal moment in 2019. 
  5. How did you feel at the peak moments last year?
  6. Food: Write about your culinary experiences. Whether you’ve invented a new dish, improved an old favorite, discovered an inspiring cookbook, or enjoyed dining out, tell us what food nourished you over the past year.
  7. Share an image from this holiday season which you will cherish in years to come.
  8. List the ways you’ve expressed your creativity over the last year. Do you have plans to start new projects in 2020?
  9. Five words: #2019in5words is trending on Twitter. What are yours?
Safety

Home is where I feel safest, as described here.

Introductions

Every year I look forward to attending literary festivals. Over the last 20 years I’ve met some of my favorite authors. This past year I attended talks by Kit de Waal, Donal Ryan, Sinéad Gleeson, and Joseph O’Connor among others.

A friend of mine introduced me to Mr. O’ Connor and his wife after his talk. (I happened to see him twice this year, once when he was in conversation with Sarah Perry, discussing the Gothic novel.) They seemed to be a charming, down to earth couple. Shadowplay is on my list of books to be read in the coming year.

I am THRILLED because the well known American author Roxane Gay is coming to my small, rural Irish town this summer! I haven’t been this excited since I met Margaret Atwood and Elizabeth Strout in 2018. Ever since Bad Feminist was published I’ve been a massive fan. Other people might become star struck when they go to a concert and see their favorite musician perform, or meet celebrity actors and actresses. I do admire performing artists, of course, but above all I’m a word nerd. Roxane Gay’s intelligence, astute insights, and the magic she works with a pen are a big inspiration to me. I can already tell 2020 is going to be a great year!

Winter Solstice

The seasons have a huge affect on me. We’ve gained 10 minutes of daylight since the winter solstice on December 21st. I’m so glad the days are beginning to get longer! Although I appreciate aspects of winter, I struggle with the lack of sunlight. It’s natural to slow down and hibernate during the cold, dark months. Generally it’s a time for reflecting, reading, and planning for me. I find myself going inward more an more. My dreams have become intense and I’m not exactly sure what they’re trying to tell me. I have a birthday coming up soon and plan to buy a couple of dream interpretation books that were recommended by someone I trust.

In 2020 I’m planning to enroll in a 6 week online writing course. I’ve enjoyed blogging over the last few months and would like to develop as a writer. I’d like to focus on other creative non-fiction projects in the coming year. This both excites and terrifies me! That means I should definitely do it, right?

Thailand: A Trip to Remember

Many of my peak moments occurred while traveling last spring. I felt stimulated by new experiences and enjoyed meeting all sorts of people along the way. Whether relaxing at the beach, hiking in the jungle, or sightseeing in Bangkok, I was filled with gratitude each day. The wildlife, food, and natural beauty surprised me day after day. I loved waking up each morning with a sense of adventure. It made me feel truly alive.

Culinary Experiences

Food features large in my life, and this subject deserves a post of its own. Over the last week I’ve created my own leaven for sourdough bread. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to bake it yet. I’ll share the recipe and photos of the process soon in case you’d like to make your own. It’s time consuming but worth it I hope!

Reindeer Spotting
Creativity

I spent the last quarter of the year blogging and also rediscovered my love of crafting. I’ve enjoyed knitting gifts for my family over the last couple of months. The next project I plan to do is a pretty shawl for myself which should be perfect for the spring. Recently my partner fixed my sewing machine so I’d also like to complete colorful bunting I started making a while ago. As mentioned earlier in this post, I’m also planning to start other writing projects this coming year.

Five Words

I’m still breasting my toddler.

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