Monday, December 17, 2012

Highlights of 2012: A NovelMatters Roundtable

I can't believe this year is almost over. I say the same thing every December, but it feels as though momentum is picking up and the world is spinning faster than ever. And going mad, to boot. We're all reeling in shock from the horrific events that occured in Connecticut on Friday. There are no words, no words, to express the deep sorrow I feel for the families of the victims.

That said, as I look back on my year as it pertains to NovelMatters, there are many highlights. Topping the list is the friendship I share with Bonnie, Debbie, Katy, Latayne and Patti. I thank the Lord continually for the idea planted in the minds of our agents to bring us together. What a God-thing that turned out to be. The connection and comraderie we share is really unique. I wish you could sit in on one of our marathon phone conferences. They're a whole lot of fun, and a little bit of work. We do eventually manage to get around to the agenda, but just barely. If I haven't told you girls before -- and I know I have -- I LOVE YOU! You, collectively and individually, are one of my greatest gifts. I also enjoyed getting to know our guest authors on a deeper level, which was something new for NM this year. I appreciate the time they took to share themselves and their work with our audience. I hope it was equally beneficial for them. And I also enjoyed getting to know each of you better. Every time you contribute to the dialogue, you contribute to our friendship. Thank you. But the star on the top of the tree for me this year was the visit from Megan Sayer. What fun it was getting to know Megan! Lunch in Old Sac with Debbie, Katy, Megan and me was a blast. As it happens, Megan is as much a Mentalist fan as I am, and I showed her the bridge that's in most of the episodes. It was right there next to our restaurant. Of course, she took photos. And don't even talk to me about donuts. I can never think about donuts now without laughing. I only wish Bonnie, Latayne and Patti could have been there too. Then to bring her back to my house, where she, Katy and I had a girls' night only visit, was so much fun. As we wrap up the year, I look forward to what 2013 holds, but hold onto the blessings of 2012.

Megan's visit was a highlight for me, too. We were truly honored that she would come to see us, and she was a delight.

I've also felt privileged - strange as this may sound - to share in what has been an emotional and often difficult year for all of us. The triumphs struggles with writing, and with publishing what we write, the health and financial difficulties, the soul-searching. I think it has been a holy time, the true nature of which will surely become more clear over time. These ladies are my heroes - and so, dear readers, are many of you.

Katy, it has been a holy time, 2012. And Sharon, friendships have been made more dear by all that's happened. Eternity stepped closer. Courage grew in barren soil. And I am no longer afraid. Looking forward to 2013, I anticipate learning even more, some things delightfully delicious and some bitter. But nothing that can stand against the love of Christ.

I feel like I'm about 10.5 months pregnant with a story, so I'm READY to write. I'll be publishing my own book in March, so I sense my big challenge for the year will be balancing Patti the storyteller and Patti the marketing executive with one client. Definitely, self-discipline is part of my growth plan.

I'm completely gobsmacked by the friendships I've developed here. For my family who doesn't "do" social media, it takes a little explaining that you all ARE my friends, that there are people on the other side of the dateline who share my passion for story, faith, and friendship who I love spending time with. 2013 looks promising--doesn't it?--with all that in common? Love to all.

Dear ones, As this post proves, I still can't get text to wrap around my photo (so Bonnie did it.). So maybe next year.This is the year that God did impossible things. But this was also the year that my life felt like an audiobook on iTunes that I keep trying to play without knowing the "shuffle" button is activated.I am so, so grateful for these marvelous women on NovelMatters, and for all the people who read, interact, and bless us with their insights. Love you all, and Merry Christmas.

 We did have a wonderful time with Megan, didn't we? I'll never look at pumpkins the same way again. I think the highlight for me was to see the abundant Christian life lived out before me. It has been a difficult year for each of us in different ways, and to witness my friends facing life's problems and uncertainties with the grace that only God can give has been inspiring. It has been a privilege to share and pray with Bonnie, Patti, Latayne, Sharon and Katy this year, and I eagerly look forward to the next.
I love those "Best of 2012" lists. But I'm terrible at creating them. And Megan didn't come to my house, so that's out. Some highlights of the year on the blog were John Blase's guest post back in April when he talked about why fiction matters. His article included his original poem Review for Dad-O which made me think about my little girl and growing up and I guess I trembled a bit too. I enjoyed hearing from 10 different writers throughout the year, each sharing with us a piece of their writing journey, and answering the question Why does the Novel Matter? (Come back before New Years for a recap of all of those answers--I promise you'll be inspired!) Happily, we discovered there is no one right answer. 
I loved interviewing Joy Jordan-Lake, the phone conversation with her was as joyful as her name. 
It was a rough year in many ways for me, and for my blogging friends--but the good thing about rough times is you get to see mercy pressed up close to your face like a downtown shop window at Christmas when you're six years old. It feels just like that, too. Both so near, and so untouchable. 

What was a highlight for you in 2012--either as a writer, or a reader, or a human being walking around on the planet? We love to hear from you. 


5 comments:

Megan Sayer said...

Well, in more ways than I can explain you guys have made my night! Thank you. It's been such a privilege standing and praying for you all this year, and I'm totally, totally blessed to have been able to meet (some of) you in person. Reading this made me so happy! I was lying in bed unable to sleep at 3am with a big weight on my mind (it's now 4.30am...still can't sleep), and getting up and reading this felt like the kiss of God. You guys have absolutely been God's gift to my life (yeah I'm gushing. Shut up. It's 4.30am. I refuse to edit!) and God has used you all so much, and I'm so incredibly grateful and blessed by you all. Novel Matters has gone beyond a blog...it's more a...a...lifestyle :)
Oh, and Sharon...I SAW THE BRIDGE!! AND THE RESTAURANT!!!!! I think it was episode 6 (?) of this season...I've watched nine since I've been back and I've only seen it once, but I nearly burst out of my chair with excitement! I WENT SOMEWHERE ON THE TELLY!!!

I have one more thing to say, and because you are my dear friends, and because God has used you at ungodly hours of the morning to show me (again) I'm not alone, I will ask you a favour: could you pray for me today please?
I have one of the hardest things to do that I may ever have to do. 9am my time...2pm California time. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you. Love you all heaps. Thank you.

Susie Finkbeiner said...

Oh man. This year has been FULL of highlights.

My husband got a job after 9 months of God really carrying us financially.

A week later, I got a book contract with WhiteFire.

Megan Sayer came to my house for a 6 day slumber party!!!

Happy Highlights for sure!

SharonK Souza said...

Megan, I just saw your comment. I'm praying, dear friend. God is so able to meet the need. Love you.

Susie: I celebrate your good news with you.

Henrietta Frankensee said...

Merry Christmas everyone! I love this unique community! There is so much love and grace, encouragement and inspiration and deep fellowship with the emphasis on 'fellow'. I am blessed in knowing there are people like me all over the world, deeply involved, hurting and putting one foot and one word in front of another.
My writing has improved in my year of study here and I am excited to enroll for another year.
God Bless all who read this!

SharonK Souza said...

Henrietta, you've enriched us as well. Merry Christmas and happy new year!