The Crowded Room
I feel really privileged to put the cherry on the top of the First Annual RomFan Reviews Holiday Blog Hop, especially when the last few days of the year have a very special place in my heart. It’s been great to share this fabulous time of year with so many wonderful writers and bloggers, and to make some new friends in the process. You all rock! Annette Stone, a special thanks to you for making it all happen. And now, I’d like to tell everyone just why the last few days of the year, the last week, to be exact.
It’s that time of year again. It’s time to wax slightly nostalgic and do a little navel gazing and reflecting. The last week of the year has always fascinated me. It’s not like the rest of the year. It’s almost like there are really only fifty-one weeks in the year, then there’s the crowded room of a space tacked on to the end, a place not unlike my grandmother’s living room was, all crowded full of the bits and pieces and memorabilia of eighty-three years of living.
The last week of the year is a mini version of that living room that happens anew every year, a mental version, a room that everyone has in their head. It doesn’t matter how expansive or how crazy the previous fifty-one weeks have been, this final week is the tiny space into which we crowd everything that has happened, and for those last seven days of the year, we reflect and remember.
At the front of that crowded room is a big picture window looking back onto all of the past years of experiences. During this last week of 2011, we’ll go inside that room, shut the door behind us, knowing we’ll never go back through that door again. There we’ll settle in to the one comfy chair, the only space that isn’t avalanching with memories and emotions and experiences, and we’ll reflect. Occasionally we’ll stop for a long stare out the window into the years past to try and make out how it all fits together. I often write a massive journal entry at the year’s end. I settle in with wine and chocolate and good coffee and all my favourite things and write. The entry is always full of reflections and memories and plans for the future, all done during the time spent in that crowded room that’s the last week of the year. I wager I’m in good company in that endeavor.
I used to ask my grandmother who was in this old photo or that, or where she got this porcelain doll or that china figurine. Every item in her living room had a story. It was a gift from someone, or a souvenir from some marked event in her life, or something someone had made for her or she had made for herself. My grandmother’s living room was a book full of stories I only ever experienced through her eyes, stories that were lost in the mist to anyone but her and the few of her older friends who still remained, all with story book living rooms of their own.
This time of year, in this last week, we all sit in our mental story book living rooms and tell ourselves one last time the stories that have been our life for the past fifty-one weeks. We laugh at our joys, we mourn our losses, thankful that they’re now passed and we nod our heads in satisfaction at our successes, promising they’ll be even bigger next year.
My grandmother lived to be eighty-three. There was a finality about her over-crowded living room. That last-week-of-the-year room we all occupy right now has its own finality. After midnight tomorrow, we can crowd no more into that room. We leave it as it is, papers strewn, boxes open, bed unmade, cup of tea half finished. Mind you, some of us spend our last hours in that room frantically trying to crowd just a little more into it. That’s me, sitting in the recliner madly tapping away at the laptop trying to get another chapter written, another short story out before I have to leave this room and lock the door behind me.
And it’s been a good year, a wild rambunctious year crowded with laughter and tears and the celebration of two new novels, a challenging Coast to Coast walk across England, conferences, readings, vegetables planted and eaten. I have lots of pictures in my year’s mental photo album, I have lots of triumphs and losses, and lots of time spent with wonderful friends and loved ones. Hold it! I’ll stop right now because once I get going, I’ll give you the whole inventory, and you, no doubt have your own crowded room to inventory.
It doesn’t matter though, if we’re sitting reflecting on all that fills this room, or if we’re frantically trying to fill it fuller before the clock strikes. At midnight tomorrow night, we’ll all take a deep breath, open the door and walk out into the empty room waiting for us, the empty room that’s 2012. All we’ll take with us is our memories of the room we left and our hopes and plans for how we’ll fill this bright new room that stretches promisingly before us. Some of us make New Years resolutions, some of us just plow in without a plan of action, but one thing is for certain, this time next year, if we live that long, we’ll be sitting in the full room again reflecting on how the experiences of 2012 have shaped us, anticipating how we’ll take the experiences into the next empty room. And that’s all we’ll be allowed to take with us, our experiences, our memories,
My wish for you all is that your reflections in your crowded room will be good ones, satisfying ones. And at the stroke of midnight, that you’ll enter that bright new empty room of 2012 with hope and joy and anticipation of how wonderfully you’ll fill it up.
I’d like to help you heat up your empty room by offering a choice of either of a PDF version of either of my novels, The Initiation of Ms Holly or The Pet Shop. Winner’s choice. Leave a comment to be included in the drawing for the giveaway. All the best in the New Year!