What do you do when firsts feel like twelfths?

April Henry

Sometimes I feel like I’ve been around the block too many times. Like our theme this month is about “firsts.” But 2011 was a year of lasts for me: the last times I saw three close friends, the last time I took kajukenbo (a mixed martial art), even little lasts, like a restaurant I liked that abruptly closed.

This year my 12th and 13th books (Eyes of Justice and The Night She Disappeared) come out one week apart in April.  But I’m pretty sure I had two books come out close together a few years ago.  I’m working on a couple of new books, but I’ve already done that about 20 times.

I’m doing a bunch of out-of-state school visits in March, but in 2007 I visited several schools in Texas.

But we need firsts to keep us alive, at least in some figurative sense.

Here are some firsts I’m working on:
- Trying out some different restaurants instead of always going to the same old places we know and like.

- A few weeks ago I started taking kung fu. The class is all guys and I’m the oldest. I knew no one when I walked in the door. It seems a very different animal than kajukenbo, so all the stuff I know is not much help. Not much emphasis on forms or stances.  This class seems geared just to teaching you to fight. Anyone who knows me will say that my first, second and third reactions to fighting would be to run away.  I sparred (often scared spitless) in kajukenbo, but I think kung fu will really make me a fighter. (Note to anyone who knew me growing up: yes, we are talking about the same girl who got Cs in PE for not being able to dance to Winchester Cathedral, for sinking to the bottom of the pool again and again, for cowering in prison ball, and for being beaten in round robin tennis by everyone, including the mainstreamed developmentally disabled girl and the the girl who had juvenile arthritis so bad she couldn’t use one arm.)

- Writing something that is not a mystery or a thriller. Writing something that is not my “brand.”

- Truly acting like this is my one and only life, and that the things I am saving to eat, read, or do “later” or for a “special occasion,” need to be eaten, read, or done NOW. Or at least this year.


  1. I'm trying not to put things off this year either--I've spent far too long saying, "someday, I'll..." 2012 is the year to do those things!

    Thanks for your post!

  2. How cool that you're taking Kung Fu after doing a mixed martial art! Good luck with it!

    I wrote something outside my typical genre a couple of years ago, and I'm so happy I did. It was a lot of fun to write a contemporary story (something I never really thought I'd write) about a normal girl with a crazy family, when I'm so used to writing speculative fiction.

    Have fun this year! :D

  3. Love that last one, April--I need to do more of that myself!

  4. Being a kung fu fighter is much better than an A in PE any day!


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