On this, the final day of 2015 (where did the year go?!), I am going to review my year. I’d like to thank all of the participants of this year’s review, it’s been my pleasure hosting you. And massive thanks to everyone who has read, shared and commented on the blog – it is so appreciated.
Here’s to a wonderful 2016 for you all!
2015 has been tremendously kind to me as a writer and writing tutor. In February this year, I joined members of Elementary Writers at Newcastle’s Literary and Philosophical Society to launch our anthology, Thrills ‘n’ Chills, which was published by Wild Wolf Publishing. It was a brilliant evening that saw members of the group read their work in a fantastic location.
In April, I attended my first wedding as a wedding writer which was a wonderful, moving experience. The couple, Becky and Fraser, invited me to share their special day with the family and friends and, hopefully, my story reflected what a beautiful day it was.
I’ve been lucky enough to judge two short story competitions this year, Story Tyne with North Tyneside Libraries and Jesmond Library’s inaugural short story competition. I ran three workshops for Creative Writing workshops with North Tyneside Libraries and they were very well attended. In July, members of Elementary Writers joined me and the lovely Dan Smith to launch Jesmond Library’s competition which was a lot of fun.
I finally managed to write an ending for a short story that has been hanging over me for a while as well as writing an entirely new short story which was a pleasant surprise for me as, since setting up my business in 2012, my writing has disappeared somewhat. Recently, I’ve been feeling like I want to go back to my unfinished novel ‘Fix Me Up’ and the feedback I’ve had from beta readers has been very good.
In general, 2015 has been a good year for me. For a belated birthday present, I went to London with The Boy Wonder to see ‘Ghost Stories’ the weekend before it closed, it was fabulous although pant-wettingly terrifying. I got a new car (finally!) and went on a lovely holiday to Sirmione in Italy with The Boy Wonder which was absolutely perfect. We also had a weekend break in Northumberland in September in a tiny village which was wonderful.
This may seem vain to many but my journey with Slimming World has made an incredible difference to my life. So far, I’ve lost over two and a half stone and it’s had such a positive impact on my life – I’m much more confident and have met some brilliant, supportive people.
I’ve read some excellent books this year and quite a variety of genres. A fellow writer, Kay Stewart, has made some great recommendations in 2015 including ‘Olive Kitteridge‘ by Elizabeth Strout which is a story told in a series of vignettes. When we were in Italy, I devoured ‘Defending Jacob‘ by William Landay. However, my favourite books this year were by Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess. The very clever Amazon algorithm determined from previous purchases that I’d like Jenny’s first memoir ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened‘ – and it was right! So much so that The Boy Wonder bought me her follow-up, ‘Furiously Happy‘, as he knew how much joy it would bring me. I cried laughing and in recognition when reading these books as there is so much more to them than humour.
I’ve been on a real retro vibe this year in terms of music and films. I downloaded the greatest hits of the Bee Gees, Chuck Berry, Rod Stewart, Nina Simone, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Fleetwood Mac. I did like ‘Downtown‘ by Macklemore though.
As for films, I really enjoyed ‘Whiplash‘ which was a surprise, I loved the soundtrack too. I saw ‘Blackboard Jungle‘ for the first time thanks to Whitley Bay Film Festival and I thought it was excellent. I was also introduced to ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s‘ during WBFF this year and I thought that was fabulous, too. On Boxing Day, I went to see ‘The Force Awakens‘ which I really enjoyed (although Kylo Ren made me chuckle quite a bit at times). And The Boy Wonder and I finally watched ‘Inside Out‘ earlier this week which was as wonderful as I hoped it would be.
I must point out that although I don’t usually ask participants, I have watched some cracking TV shows this year including ‘Master of None’, ‘Bob’s Burgers’, ‘River‘ and the last ‘Parks and Recreation‘.
There are a couple of really obvious downsides to 2015 for me – being admitted to hospital with pneumonia, pleurisy and a cracked rib being one. The other was the death of a much loved friend.
I’m not planning on making any resolutions really, I just want to try to be a good, kind person who has a positive impact on people. I’d love to hit my target weight but I am trying to be kinder to myself and apply less pressure. I’d also really love to write more regularly. I love doing my writing groups but I know that my writing is being sacrificed which is kinda sad.
For 2016, I’d genuinely love world peace. I’m pretty sure I say this every year but I will keep hoping until it happens.