My 2016 in First Posts

After a disastrous previous year’s attempt to use the first sentence of the first post of every month to give me an overview of the year that had gone by, and a marginally more successful version in 2015 , my attempt for 2016 simply did not do justice to what has been a tumultuous year. Very different from what I  (or anyone else) expected. So I ‘cheated’ a bit and went on to second or third posts of the month, picking out more relevant sentences. A sort of ‘found poetry’ attempt, accompanied by ‘found photos’.

What struck me was how much I am obsessed by my failure to write this year. Once again.  I’m probably not the only one who felt overwhelmed and overtaken by worldwide and personal events, temporarily forgetting about the soothing power of writing. I’m certainly not the only one who turned to poetry rather than prose for solace and trying to understand myself and the people around me. But I feel guilty about that novel that still languishes unfinished in my notebooks and on my desktop. I know I need to be kind to myself when all the world around me is being smashed with a wrecking-ball, but… tick-tock! tick-tock! How much longer can I afford to not write?

wp_20160809_12_23_02_pro_li2016 is going to be a good year for you, for me, for the world more generally – 6 is my lucky number and I am willing it to be so. (Besides, the world and I are due a good one after the last few grim ones.)

Why did no one warn me that writing a synopsis is so difficult?

I ‘accidentally’ attended a poetry workshop run by the wonderful Naomi Shihab Nye and suddenly the words were gushing out of me, after a twenty-year absence from poetry, and nearly as many years of not really taking writing of any kind seriously enough.

I will risk boring you this week with no less than three posts about Quais du Polar in Lyon.

wp_20160816_11_28_23_proA little twitter conversation with the delightful Janet Emson (if you haven’t discovered her blog yet, it’s highly recommended, not just by me) had me uttering the words: ‘Dammit, Janet, I love you!’

I’m already suffering from homesickness before I’ve even left this region.

wp_20161027_12_09_08_proWhy would you ever not have a spiral staircase or a ladder if you have a large home library?

‘You do have a lot of books…’ sighed the removal men (and I don’t think it was wistfulness I detected in their voices).

It’s not the move (or, to use corporate terminology, the international relocation). It’s not the scrabbling around trying to find the financial paperwork…  It’s not even the lack of internet or … when your devices conspire to let you down all at once.

wp_20161020_08_02_22_proHenley Literary Festival is virtually on my doorstep, and it was the first literary event I attended, back in 2009. I met the dynamic and very accessible, friendly duo Nicci Gerrard and Sean French (better known as Nicci French) there, we discussed the Moomins and the Martin Beck series, and the rest is history. In other words, my passion for reading and writing was rekindled.

I was going to finish my novel and send it to my mentor for structural edits. But that was based on the flawed assumption I made back in early June that I would have spent a total of 5 weeks on the novel by now. Needless to say, that did not happen between July and October. I wrote precisely zero words since mid-June.


P. S. I know it’s a bit early to wrap up the year, but I anticipate an early end to this year’s blogging. From 17th December onwards, it will be all about off-line wrangling of thoughts, feelings and activities.

P.P.S. Word of warning: 7 is my unlucky number, so goodness knows what 2017 will be like…

9 thoughts on “My 2016 in First Posts”

  1. It’s absolutely fascinating to see how much just one sentence can reveal about us, Marina Sofia. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Isn’t it odd thinking back that at the beginning of this year, we thought last year was bad?? Next year must surely be better – the year you finish your book… 🙂

  3. So 6 isn’t actually your lucky number? It’s a good thing since 2016 turned out pretty poorly in some big ways. I hope you are right and 7 is your lucky number 🙂

    1. Well, 6 was supposed to be my lucky number, and 7 was my unlucky one when I was a child. But clearly things have moved on since. Or maybe it’s time to stop being superstitious, as I always am proved wrong!

  4. What a neat idea. I like seeing the openings of your posts all in one place, whether first, second, or third. “Found sentences” that reflect your year, blog style. Very cool.

  5. Now the cheering word which jumped out at me from your post when I thought about the year (gloom, doom, getting more so) was MOOMINS. A world cannot be all awful when someone in it created Moomins. You know what, I think Snufkin would have been a WONDERFUL President Elect. I would be feeling much happier about the world if Obama were to hand over to someone who plays ‘All small creatures have bows in their tails” and has a singular talent for making people feel that the world is a better place, for their presence. Not only does the PE have no ability to compose and play ASCHBITT, but, most importantly, lacks the ability to make people feel the world is a better place for their presence

    1. Yes, exactly! Snufkin is my favourite character (and Moominmamma) and that song is something I used to sing with my children when they were small (I invented a tune for it!). Of course, A Comet in Moominland is perhaps a timely read for this period. Certainly, when Tove Jansson wrote it, she was in terrible fear and gloom about the world.

Do share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.