Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New

I’ll admit that 2012 was not a good year in my household, so I’m looking forward to what 2013 may bring. The turning over of the calendar from one year to the next is a pretty arbitrary thing; tomorrow morning will dawn much like this morning did. Still, it’s a good time to pause and spend some time to reflect. What have I made it through? Where am I now? Where would I like to be?

When it comes to resolutions, I tend to be the kind of person who makes several, follows through for about two weeks, and then sinks back into my usual patterns. It can be discouraging. So this year, I decided that instead of making a resolution, I’d choose something I wanted to learn–and then take a class. This appealed to me for a couple of reasons. My husband’s ill health keeps me home most of the time, and a class would get me out of the house. Also, there’s much greater motivation to follow through on something that you’ve paid for. Finally, it’s been a long time since I went out of my way to learn something in the context of a group of people, and doing so seemed like fun.

So I started thinking. Initially, I came up with three main ideas:

  • A physical activity. Most of my exercise these days comes in the form of taking walks. So I was thinking that something like yoga or Pilates (a new studio just opened a couple of blocks from my house) might be a good addition. My daughter does Crossfit and loves it, but I don’t think I’m ready for that. :)
  • A musical instrument. I took piano lessons as a child, abandoned them, started playing on my own when I was in high school, and then stopped again in college. We don’t have a piano, but I do have an electronic keyboard. I wondered how quickly I could learn to play again.
  • A language. I love studying languages. I used to have decent intermediate-level French, and I have a friend who takes French conversation classes. I’d also like to learn German (which my husband speaks) or Italian (largely due to my opera obsession). And ever since starting Deadtown I’ve wanted to learn Welsh, although I think I might have a tough time finding a Welsh class in central NY.

Those were my first three thoughts. All of them are appealing to me. But in the end I signed up for something completely different: a writing workshop. I saw one advertised in my local weekly. It’s called Writing Through the Rough Spots, and it seemed like it might be a good way to process some of the changes and challenges that have been happening in my life. One of my goals for 2013 is to expand my writing repertoire. Of course, I’ll be writing Deadtown 6 and (hopefully) a sequel to my mystery, Peace, Love, and Murder. (People have been asking for that long enough!) But I have other stories to tell and other voices to let speak. A workshop seemed like a good way to open up to those stories and voices. I’m not taking it for therapy (although writing can be therapeutic). I’m not taking it with the intent to write something publishable (although who knows what stories might emerge). I’m taking it to flex my writing muscles and explore new possibilities in my writing. And I’ve committed ten weeks to doing that. It’s the best resolution I can think of.

Happy New Year to you! Whether you make resolutions, set goals, or simply go with the flow, I hope you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013!

About nancyholzner


9 responses to “Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New

  • Keith Pyeatt

    Happy New Year, Nancy. Hopes for a better year ahead for you and yours. The workshop sounds fun and might just unleash all sorts of good things. Always glad to learn of more Deadtown in the works, and I’m one of those rooting for a sequel to PL&M. Since I’ve already pestered you about that sequel enough to have become a nuisance, just let me say, with quiet emphasis, yay.

    Happy writing, happy times, and happy results in 2013.

    Happily (feels like I’ve got a theme going here),
    Keith

    • nancyholzner

      Thanks so much, Keith! I’m hoping 2013 will be a good writing year for me. I’m excited about the workshop. I taught writing for years, now I want my turn on the other side of the desk. :)

      And a very, very happy new year to you and Jack!

  • deborahblake1

    That workshop sounds great! I can’t wait to hear what you come up with :-) I hope 2013 is a LOT easier than 2013. As Jenny Crusie says: nothing but good times ahead.

    • nancyholzner

      Thanks, Deb! I’m hoping the workshop will give me a chance to explore beyond some self-imposed boundaries, so I’m interested to see what I’ll come up with, too. :) Thanks also for your good wishes. I hope 2013 will be a banner year for you!

  • MelanieL

    I have about a farts worth of time to read your blog, so I’m going to skip a little right now, send the link to my phone for later, and just say HAPPY NEW YEAR to you!!

    It’s been a very rough year here as well. With five kids, my disabled mother (heart attack and stroke years ago) and disabled husband (cancer and COPD), since Jan 01, 2012 there’s barely been a month that someone wasn’t at the hospital. (One of my kidlets had tonsil/hearing issues, another was diagnosed with asthma and hospitalized for five days).

    The last month though has been the hardest. As much as my poor husband has gone through in the last 6 years with everything, he woke on the morning of Nov. 28th and said to me, “My legs are so sore. It feels like I ran a mile.”

    I thought it was odd but shrugged it off. Around 6pm that night, we were working on dinner dishes when he suddenly cried out, turned gray and began pouring sweat. I called 911 thinking he was having a heart attack. He said it was his legs. He almost collapsed but we made it to his computer chair and waited. It wasn’t a heart attack. Got him to the hospital. After three days at the hospital it was discovered, thanks to me (though I don’t feel thanks is appropriate since it took so long for the light bulb to flash on above my head) that he had multiple blood clots in both of his legs.

    Yeah. I mentioned blood clots to the doctor and he said, “That was ruled out in the ER.” I said, “nope, it wasn’t. I was there. They did not do an ultrasound at all.” He replied, with a tone of awww-cute-wifey. “I believe they did but I’ll check the chart and if they didn’t we will get it done today.”

    Yeah, cute-wifey knows her stuff, especially considering her husband had a DVT and PE already about 6 years ago! (Which was told to the ER and the fact that he has a massive scary family history of blood clots along with a mutated gene that causes blood clotting issues. Ugh, doctors!)

    Well, yeah, I talk a lot and now you know the truth of why I’m finishing reading your blog later. LOL.

    Anyway, he spent 6 days in the hospital this time and has been on bed rest at home (physical not capable of walking more than 10 feet due to pain and weakness in legs) for almost a month now.

    So… whew. Yeah. Rough rough rough month! Makes me hope, seriously, that we’ll be blessed with no issues in 2013. I do have to be true to my Pollyanna nature though and be thankful that with all the problems, we’ve still got each other, alive and if not doing great, we’re on the way to recovery.

    So looking forward to your next book! The last one was one of the books that helped push me through 2012!

    • nancyholzner

      Hi Melanie,

      I sympathize with your medical travails. My husband is dealing with complications of diabetes, and I sometimes feel that I know more about the disease than some of the doctors he’s dealt with. For them, it’s a normal day’s work; for us, it’s life and death.

      I hope that your husband makes progress quickly, and I hope you’ll keep your Pollyanna nature! Finding things to be thankful for and keeping an optimistic outlook can make life bearable when everything is going so badly.

      Best wishes for 2013!

  • sharonstogner

    you know you can do TWO things add the yoga. Once you get comfortable with it you won’t want to do without it and it is an activity that will introduce you to a whole different type of people you can use in your writing
    Hope you have a safe and productive 2013, and what the hell, throw in happy too :)

    • nancyholzner

      Thanks, Sharon–we could definitely use some happy! Wishing you and your family much happiness in this new year, as well.

      I might try yoga after the writing workshop ends. Ithaca is the kind of town that has tons of yoga studios, so I can ask around for recommendations. In the meantime, I do have some yoga DVDs I could dust off. I did like it when I used to practice regularly.

      Again, Happy New Year!

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