I've been very quiet here. What have I missed? The last thing I told you about was the Facebook release party. Since then, there was the arrival of my beautiful brother and sister-in-law, and their two amazing girls. We are all staying together in one house/outbuilding cluster, which makes eleven of us, which makes party. Especially when Uncle Matty is here and he dances a lot. And starts Nerf wars.
Then there was Christmas. We had our annual Christmas Eve dinner at Shekina Garden, the second one we've done in Pai (in Goa they celebrated the eighth at Shekina Community there.) It was beautiful and big- full of people, lots of kids. There were beautiful carols and lots of dessert.
And I had a beautiful little release party for my book. My dear friends got together and put a lot of love into an evening at Art in Chai, a local tea shop that we all love. It's the same place that I sometimes read poetry on their Spoken Words nights, so it felt familiar to stand there and read. There was a rangoli, and Chinua sang beautiful music. Leaf sang a song, and Ro led the evening. Naomi made everything beautiful and brought amazing snacks. And there were children everywhere, including lots of traveling babies, which seemed appropriate.
I did have a fair bit of anxiety leading up to the release party. I've carefully practiced so many of the social events in my life, until they are so familiar that they are no longer scary. But a release party for my very own book, one that would reveal me as a novel writer in my own town, (it has always been rather secret) took my breath away. I was terrified, without reason, and that is the way of anxiety, so that also was familiar, though unwanted. I very nearly canceled the whole thing, but I'm glad I didn't, because the love was amazing, given and received. When I am in crazy town, everything seems scary, but things are rarely as scary as they appear.
To prepare, I drove. I threw myself into the hills, where the leaves are turning red and dropping. I imagined that I was a bird, flying over those hills, landing on branches. Everything is drying out, turning dusty, red, and gold. I don't want to be myself. I want to be something more magical, more free. I suppose this is why I write.
And now I am looking forward, into a bright, sparkling year with no mistakes in it yet, as Anne of Green Gables says. I often disappoint myself if I set up resolutions that are too rigid, so I will just say that I want to be more giving, to draw more and dance more. I would like to be a good mother to my almost three year old. Three is familiar and terrifying, just as thirteen is unfamiliar and terrifying, but in a good way, in the way that is all health and beauty and being present and being stretched. (Ah! Three! How you have tormented me and loved me five years over!)
I will release three books this year. Looking back, I see that I have accomplished things I have longed to do for years. I have begun drawing and painting again. I have begun writing the fantasy series I have always longed to write. I am living in a community with some of the best people I know, forming a space for introduction to my beautiful Master, a Jesus devotional community. There are more things that I want to be, more areas that are lacking. But step by step, they can change. So I look forward with hope that I will have many days to practice my craft of writing, and art, and mothering, and being a servant of Christ in this world. I want to follow the thread, to respond to the invitations that Jesus gives, to see a person who needs an ear, or to offer peace or hospitality.
I want to throw myself into the year, like those hills, with all the leaves turning red. Or like an egret, tucking its head into its wings and flying low over the fields. There are so many beautiful things to come.