December is a weird month.
In the Catholic calendar, last Sunday (December 2) was the first Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent marks the beginning of a new calendar year in the church. In a way, this means I’m at a beginning, much like January is the beginning of a new calendar year and September always feels like the start of something new because it’s a new school year.
But December is also The End. Father Time with his long, white beard is getting ready to hand things off to a brand-new Baby New Year (if you’ve seen the old Rudolph special from Rankin & Bass you’ll have a visual to go with those words). Snow covers the ground. Mother Nature is in hibernation. It feels like the perfect time to cuddle up with a book and a blanket, to look back at the year to see what’s been accomplished, what’s left to do, and what might be done better next year.
Hello, dichotomy anyone?
2017 was the year the universe reminded me this writing gig is a long haul. After so much success in 2016, I went 1 for 6 on submissions for the year. Humbling, ain’t it? Yet at the same time, I’d say the stories I wrote this year were better than some I’ve written previously. I have a number of lovely rejections from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine to show for it. I could let those rejections be “the end,” but I choose to view them more of a “not yet.”
The Girl (my 17-year-old daughter) is also feeling this “beginning-end” tug of war. In a couple weeks, she should receive a decision on her application to her college of choice. An acceptance means the beginning of a new phase in her life and education. At the same time, senior year is The End–the end of high school, prom, curfews, and the ability to rely on parents for all your meals and clean laundry.
So where am I?
Well, some things are definitely ending. After searching for an agent for two years, it’s time to consider other paths to publication. That’s an end…and a beginning. It’s time to close the book on some stories (at least for the time begin) and start new ones, something I’ve already done.
Maybe there is no beginning or end. Maybe time is more like the infinity symbol: looping and twisting, sometimes going up and sometimes dragging you down. Maybe this concept of “beginning and end” is just a human conceit.
See? December is a weird month!
But here’s a definite beginning! We’ve got exciting new things coming to Mysteristas in 2018 and we’re kicking off the year with a contest? You’ve seen our “peeping girl” icon (top of the page at the right). We’ve decided she needs a name and who better to name her than our readership? And we’re giving away a Kindle Paperwhite to the winner!
Here’s how to enter: Comment on this blog, or on our Facebook page, with your suggested name and a contact email address. The contest will be open for the entire month of December and over our scheduled holiday break. It will close at midnight on January 6. We will contact the winner and announce upon our return in January 2018.
And stay tuned for more awesome beginnings next year!