2015 - the things I have loved

Do you ever get to the end of a year and find you've run out of words? I'm feeling a bit that way today. It's been a day of doing, not thinking or writing. I was at the beach before 8am, the sky gloriously high and blue, the dog racing through cool salty water. At home I made French toast thick with egg, slathered it with honey, washed it down with strong Lavazza coffee. I've washed sheets and jumpers. I've cleaned the floors. Set my house in order. These are some of the things I love to do.

Later tonight, my love and I will have a drink at the Earl of Leicester before heading to Namaste, our third new year's eve visit to this Nepalese restaurant in a leafy inner suburub of Adelaide. The food is exquisite, the service impeccable. We'll be home before 9pm so we can hang with the dog out the back under newly installed fairy lights. We'll unscrew an old coffee jar which I've decorated with coloured paper, and is  crammed with scraps of notepaper. On each piece is scribbled a highlight from the year. We'll read each little scrap, reminisce, and talk about some of the joys and happiness of 2015. We'll chat about friends, family, us, money, dreams, sex, holidays, the dog - all the good stuff. We'll make each other laugh, maybe have a cry; reflect on the year that was and our damn good luck in this life. The air will be hot. I hope the sky will settle into a deep wine-colour. Planes will fly low over our house and I will wonder at the sheer volume of people in this world, with so many of them on the move. I'll be amazed that there aren't more air traffic accidents.

What I haven't written on the scraps of paper is the number of women who have astonished me this year, with their ideas and feelings, with the gifts they have as writers. Some are women I teach, some are friends, others are authors I've never met - some dead, some still alive. Some I've discovered for the first time, others I've delved into deeper. Here is a list of my favourites for 2015:
Carson McCullers, The Member of the Wedding
Gillian Mears, The Grass Sister
Angela Carter, Wise Children
Emma Tennant, The Bad Sister, The Crack
Helen Garner, The Children's Bach
Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby
Fiona Wright, Small Acts of Disappearance
Dorothea Brande, Becoming a Writer
Threasa Meads, Mothsong

There are many more that I have on my bookshelf and look forward to reading in 2016.

As always, I am ever grateful to my friends and family of choice - you know who you are. Thank you. And thanks to my blood family - what a way to spend Boxing Day, eh? Thanks for your love and support. My love, dear Mr Anderson, who encourages me to shine every day, even when I'm feeling as dull as lead, thanks to you most of all. The last 10 years wouldn't have been possible without you. And thanks to apt literary journal for publishing my essay, Writing into Darkness, which is a retrospective on the past 10 years of my writing life.

My word for 2016 is simple and direct - WRITE. Write deeper and faster. Write, and finish. Write when you don't feel like it. Write when you do. I wrote a lot in 2015, had a few pieces published, but that wasn't my focus. My focus was to get better at writing, and I did. I also fell in love with writing all over again. I've discovered that for me, less is more. In 2016 I have two goals: Finish my first novel; get better at writing.  That's it. Have you set any writing goals?

Happy New Year.