Looking Back, Looking Forward | author’s note

It’s a good moment to look behind and ahead, at the turning of the year. Accomplishments, failures, lessons learned, goals achieved — and new goals and hopes for the months to come. I’ve never really made New Year’s resolutions, but from the time of the solstice to the changing of the calendar, it does seem like a great opportunity to take stock of where you’ve been and where you want to go. And, of course, where you are now.

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My grandmother and me in 2011. She was a fan of my books, and would have loved to see them published.

This year gave me a huge gift: the chance to self-publish six of my books on Kindle, to achieve a lifelong dream of being a published writer. It also presented me with lots of challenges and changes. I got divorced in 2012, officially, and moved out of the apartment where I’d lived for 11 years, getting rid of at least a third of my belongings in the process. I wrote an eighth book, and edited the seven I’d written before. I went to the ocean three times and to the mountains once, read countless books, watched all of “The Sopranos.” I deepened some relationships and drifted away from others. I found new levels of intimacy and friendship and love with my partner. I lost my last grandparent, to whom I was very close.

So as 2012 ends and 2013 begins, with threatened tax hikes and global tragedies to recover from and another holiday season passing, I take stock of my life. A friend taught me to choose words each year for the year ending and the year beginning. My word for 2012 is release. And for 2013, it’s clarity.

I look ahead with optimism and excitement to the coming months of work, play, saving, spending, learning, trying, loving, losing and gaining. On February 1 my seventh book will be released on Amazon, and one of my goals is to build local media contacts to get the word out. I’ll be taking this ongoing project with me into the new year, along with many other things — and I also get to decide what I want to leave behind.

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Taken on a wonderful trip to Santa Cruz, CA, in August.

What else will happen in 2013? Will I write another book — add to the Sliding Sideways series, or begin a new one? Which stranger will become a new friend? What new places will I see, what familiar places will I return to? And, strangest of all to imagine, how will I change, and how won’t I?

It’s a big open blank canvas, just like an empty page waiting to have a story typed onto it. No doubt there will be as much unexpected joy and sorrow, transition and growth, laughter and pain as 2012 brought me. But I have, as always, high hopes for what will come.

Wishing everyone a very joyful, thriving and peaceful New Year.
– Emily

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