At the bookstore where I work, we are always looking ahead, even as we are in the 'now' and even as we are thinking about the previous months and years, balancing, comparing, planning, plotting. How are sales now in comparison to this time last year? How do we hope to be doing next month? At holiday time we do a day by day sales comparison. With event planning and pitching to the publishers (one of my jobs), I am always looking to do more, do better, do the same but tweaked, do different. In business, you do not stand still.
There's a kind of vertigo that results from this sort of continual analysis and planning--you're in the now, marking your progression from the past, but you're also months ahead. I'd barely started ordering books for the holiday 2018 season yet when Valentine's Day titles began to slip into each publisher's catalogues and I had to create a collection on Edelweiss labeled Valentine's 2019. Tomorrow, three of us will sit down to plan store events for spring break. We'll chat about summer themes, too. We've got events on the calendar well on through May and beyond.
Always we are asking those questions: How are we doing? Where are headed? What didn't work? What can we do better? What do we want? How do we get there?
And so it is with my own year. About a decade ago, I started taking a written accounting, writing a letter to myself in late December or sometimes on New Year's Day. What's going on? How much of it was what I wanted? Where do I want to head? How am I going to get there?
2018 has been a mix for me, as I think it has for many of us. The endless, brutal news cycle doesn't help. I know I'm not the only one who has to get up very, very early while it's still quiet and dark to do my writing before tapping into what the world is doing.
I've struggled with a book that is finally, finally, getting done. Like seriously. I am almost ready to press send!! I love this book so much. Some day you will all read it!
I've struggled with balance-- of writing, home life, family life, friend life, personal stuff, the book store job (technically part time, but...) and my various teaching gigs and just life. I've felt less than and sometimes right on target and then less than again because the creative life does that to you, or at least it does it to me. I've tried not to compare myself to this one or that one and how their trajectories are going in the same one or two or three year period because there lie sea monsters, you know? Still. I do it anyway. Most of you reading this do it, too, even as we admonish ourselves not to.
And so it's December. As I type this it's starting to rain again outside. It has rained a lot here this year. The House of Pies that was supposed to open in May is now scheduled for some time next year because it's hard to build things when it's always raining. Even things that contain pie!
What do I want for 2019? To be working on a different project or two. To sell a book or two. To keep on with all the things I love-- my goofy, brave friends and my wacky family, and our crazy dog and life.
Did I mention we finally remodeled our bathroom this year? I love my new bathroom.
And okay, I'd like to go to Scotland. I really want to go to Scotland.
I'll let you know how it works out.
And when I finally get that House of Pies pie.