We’ve all heard that 2016 was a bad year. However, like most sweeping generalisations, if we label something as big as a year as simply bad or good, we miss the ebbs and flows of life, the complexities and nuances of the rhythms that enrich our days.
The end of every year is a time for reflection on all of this, but, for me, it is a time to celebrate and express gratitude for the challenges accepted, overcome, and even for those that were insurmountable.
Here are my 2016 Highlights:
- Acting as a chair and panelist at the Ruapehu Writers Festival, and meeting a plethora of writers and others involved in the publishing business, including Anna Jackson, Helen Rickerby, Martin Edmond, Elizabeth Knox, Tina Shaw, Emily Perkins, Bianca Zander, Fiona Kidman, Merrilyn George, Fergus Barrowman, Ken Arkind, . . .
- Seeing my short story, Aukati, published in Landfall 231
- Learning my short story, Fishing the Pungapunga, was accepted for publication in the upcoming edition of Antipodes. This story won the 2014 Heartland short story competition.
- Winning 2nd prize in the 2016 Surrey Hotel Steve Braunias Memorial Writers Residency in Association with The Spinoff Award including hearing it announced by RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan.
- Completing more than half of the first draft for my 4th novel
- Being interviewed by Wellington poet, Tim Jones
- Writing an essay for the Landfall essay competition.
- Completing my Weekend Name Drop blog series, featuring 52 creative people I have encountered.
- Writing my 100th blog post
- Writing a guest blog post, Two Tūrangawaewae, for Headland
- Reviewing Christodolous Moisa‘s The Hour of the Grey Wolf for Crime Watch
- Attending sessions in Massey University’s Off the Page series and meeting writers, Jess Richards, Thom Conroy, Tony Chapelle, Tim Upperton, Tim Jones, David Hill, Fleur Beale, and Anna Mackenzie
- Running a writing and publishing workshop with Nix Whittaker
- Completing another challenging and enlightening year of teaching at Taumarunui High School, including co-editing a collection of students’ short stories to be published next year, hosting guest speakers, Nicky Hager and Bianca Begovich and hearing Mike King speak to our students about depression.
- Reading reviews for my new novel, The Chain, including this one which captured much of the book’s essence.
- Working with artist, Leanne Reynolds, to design new book covers for Redeeming Brother Murrihy and Te Kauhanga. These will be released early in 2017:
- Watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- Reading Bruce Springsteen’s memoir, Born to Run
- Cycling the Mountain Sash and Door track near National Park
- Seeing my son finish his degree in Marketing and Communication and add to his growing collection of brilliant songs he’s written and performed
- Travelling back to Nova Scotia with my daughter, including a short visit to Los Angeles, reuniting with heaps of family, seeing a Crushers hockey game with my brother, Thanksgiving, and more. I’ve written an essay about part of this experience to be published on Canadian Writers Abroad in January.
- Continuing my child-free life at home with my wonderful and supportive wife, in which we learned that child-free does not mean parenting-free.
If you’ve read this far, thank you for your support this year. Happy New Year – I wish you well for all the ebbs and flows and challenges that 2017 will bring.