The last days of December are upon us; once more, we approach the annual threshold: Old year’s end, new year’s beginning.

            The end of a thing often breeds nostalgia; we turn to stare at the footprints stretching out behind us through rose-colored lenses (or perhaps a black-and-white lens would be better, so everything looks all Old Hollywood glamorous), romanticizing memories our minds have generously half-forgotten. Less sentimental types may observe the footprints from the bird’s-eye view of hindsight, discerning patterns in the movement that, before, they were to close to see. And those who are neither sentimental nor analytical may simply glance back with a “Yeah – good times, good times…”, then give their attention to their present or immediate future.

            On a typical day, I’ll probably end up being all three. Whether wistfully, critically, or just for fun, I enjoy “the act or process of recollecting past experiences or events”. So I figured now is as good a time as any to look back at the kind of year 2011 has been for me. With the help of my rosy hindsight glasses, I’ve been able to break it up into three roughly chronological categories. My 2011 has been:

A Year of Inspired Creation

            …Which I could just as easily rename “The Year of the Minstrels”.

            January was hot on the heels of my first NaNoWriMo, and Gant-o’-the-Lute, having once been released from my inner-brain’s confines to assist in the writing of “Ballad”, had only just played his prelude with a symphony to go. With his one-Tirzah cheerleading squad backing him up, Lute demanded the transcription of his early years, which resulted in a song-studded novella.

            While I was in Wilderhark mode, I finally finished the closing installment of the series, which had been languishing somewhere around page thirty for about a year. (As Lute would say, “Triumph!”)

            And in the meantime, I interrogated various characters through the infamous Anything and Everything Character Questionnaire and played with them in our immaterial Sherwood, which led to more stories, more songs, drawings galore, yet another minstrel protagonist, and – pulled straight from the mire of mental shenanigans – a full-length “Ballad” sequel. (Just goes to show how productive a so-called waste of time can be! The creative process is a curious thing.)

My minstrels and tailor, reimagined as alternate-universe superheroes. You never know how far a collection of inside jokes will take you...

A Year of Nerdy Entertainment

            My parents really went above and beyond in hooking up their fantasy-geek daughter, this past summer.

            My dearest mother made me my very own minstrel outfit – tunic, feathered beret, and that piece worn over the shoulders that Allyn-a-Dale tells me shall be known as a “swag”, all in blue. (I felt so Gant!) Mother and Father both took me to the Evenstar Faerie Festival, where magical fun was had by all, and visually chronicled here.

            Think that can’t be topped? Think again, for Daddy and I got to watch a screening of “The Fellowship of the Ring”, complete with the score played live by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! (A minstrel outfit wouldn’t have been quite appropriate. Fortunately, that’s what hooded brown cloaks are for.)

            And then, of course, there was the whole family’s traditional romp at the Bristol Renaissance Faire… where Robin Hood kissed my hand… thereby ending the summer on a note that really couldn’t be topped!

This shot was taken just before the kiss. I wouldn’t have had the wits to pose, after.


A Year of Unexpected Blessings

            Then came the autumn, and the birth of Ever On Word.

            I was initially leery of starting this blog, unsure whether I would find it at all enjoyable, or just another reputedly necessary writing-related chore. Well, readers, you probably haven’t been able to tell, given how remarkably subtle I am, but I’ve been having fun with you guys. I’ve traded words with some great folks, since September – read some grand posts, received some priceless encouragement… Yeah, I’d say this has most def been less than a total waste of time. (:

            Many of you will have been here for my NaNoWriMo-turned-PerGoSeeMo. I sure didn’t see that coming; but then, God is kind of a master of surprise. We had some special times, my Author and I, and we mean for it to be only the beginning.

            Speaking of the beginning, this month has set my personal publication ball rolling in a way that knocked me breathless. I’m giddy with excitement over where my words have gone, and am giddier still as I look with eager expectation to where I’ll go from here.

            After all, as lovely as a few moments spent in reminiscence can be, the future’s made of epic memories waiting to happen.

            And what of yourselves, readers mine? What were the highlights of your 2011?

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