My office is super cozy today. It's minus 23 celsius outdoors, my driveway has become a snow tunnel, and I find myself turning around periodically to lay a freezing hand or cold toe on the ceramic heater that has become my pet, of sorts, since I drag it from room to room in search of warmth as I go about my days in this northern wasteland called Canada. (I might name the heater. Its cord is like a leash. I talk to it. Why not?)
Last time I turned back around to the computer, my eyes landed on my office walls. Since film school in 2008, which I attended as a mature student (the hardest and likely the most courageous thing I have ever done in my life - but that's a topic for another blog), these walls have begun to bloom with posters of films and activities I've been involved in. Most make it to the walls, some (on other walls, not seen here) get framed, and some eventually get removed as time marches inexorably on. This time of year, January 2nd, is always meant for reflection. My walls tell my story - not just of the past year, but of the past few years as well.
Like most of you, today I took time to reflect. After a morning of fighting with external hard drives that weren't doing what they were supposed to, I went for a drive to the food temple (as my partner Steve calls the grocery store) and then to the local drive-thru for an iced mocha (I'm sorely addicted, even at minus 23). After fighting with Tribby's frozen car window, which refused to surrender to my touch and lower itself, I opened the door to pay for my coffee and had a chat with Jen, a sweet gal who always tries to make me a delicious mocha but whom, today, was stationed, shivering, at the cash register instead of the espresso machine. I drove away feeling grateful for her friendly smile on a cold afternoon, in the midst of a day when I've been working all by my lonesome fighting with technology and constantly laying my hand on a portable heater for warmth (Ralph. I think I'll call my heater Ralph. It looks like a Ralph…somehow…).
As sugar coursed through my veins (What is it the barista says to Jessie? Coffee with your chocolate?), I was thinking about the past year. What a year - self-published three ebooks and their print counterparts, wrote a fourth in that series (which I never seem to have time to edit), enjoyed great reviews for that series as well as for the short story excerpt from another novel I eventually want to publish, finished shooting a Feature Documentary (hence the hard drive battle - I'm upgrading so as to speed up the video editing process), worked at a local high school with grade tens to create a short film and a music video (almost finished), took on a part time job at a local theatre box office (I spend way too much time alone), won the Kobo Social Savvy Author Contest (twitter finally makes sense!), took two trips to Vancouver to see my son, spent some time by a campfire at our new trailer on the beach, kayaked, bicycled, played in the waves, started Pilates, did my first play - Calendar Girls (I had a small part), posed semi-nude in the Calendar Girls' calendar (!!! Best picture of me EVER, and I am 47…), and then ended the year by getting a much bigger part in a new play, which I am BEYOND EXCITED about.
I'm sure I've done more than that but hey, those are the highlights. Even more specifically? BEST ever was going to the Electric Owl in Vancouver and enjoying a Corona with lime while my son's band Rebel On A Mountain played live. Unbelievably one of the best moments of the year, not just seeing the band and hearing their awesome tunes live, but also watching my son loving his life with great friends and good music that he co-wrote and arranged. He is sucking the marrow out of life, that boy, and despite his distance from me I am very grateful that he is so happy, both in work and in his band.
So I would say that overall 2013 was a very good year for me. 2014 promises to be even better. I am so excited about the new play (Laundry and Bourbon), and I have three novels to finish (more, if I can sell more books and make the time). I have a feature doc to finish editing and then send around to some networks and festivals. I've already started talks with a local community about partnering on a feature film, but that's stalled a bit…too busy last fall to consider doing much on that project. But I need to revisit that, because that's the next dream for me.
In my home life? Well, I just want to enjoy Steve and my parents and nieces who live locally. I know that what counts - what really, truly counts - is time with family and friends. This weekend I will be snuggled up in the stands at the local rink watching my youngest niece skate for the first time in a Synchro competition (figure skating). Some of my best memories are from the days when I skated as an adult with the Peterborough Amazing Blades! Just today I stumbled upon old medals when I went downstairs to 'Sector Three' (as Steve calls it) to fight with an ethernet cable and modem. The tinkling of the medals was like the universe saying 'see? You've done a lot in your lifetime. And there's more to come. Well done, Mzzz Rodgers.'
As time goes on will I remember how frustrated I was this morning trying to sort out 'permissions' on a hard drive? Nah. I'll remember things like this:
Life rocks. If you let it.