At the end of 2012, I wrote, “it’s been a great year. I feel I am a million miles away from the place I was in this time last year — phew! I am also extremely excited about 2013 and all that it holds for me. I plan to finish my PhD, put together my first full-length poetry collection (at last!), get more tattoos (yeah!), and start work on a ton of exciting new projects. Wish me luck!” Did I manage all those things? I freaking well did! Check it out!
In 2013, I…
* began a year of mentoring sessions with Sarah Ream, poetry ed at Polygon and total and utter superhero, funded by the Scottish Book Trust. With help from Sarah, I began taking nervous little baby steps towards creating a first collection MS.
* spent a very cold few days in and around gorgeous Oslo in the new year: negotiating several feet of snow, discovering the incredible TV show Borgen (and becoming totally hooked!), and writing plenty of poems.
* baked a lot of stuff.
* celebrated my 27th birthday: there was snow! In March!
* celebrated my first veganniversary by pledging to continue to eat as much delicious cruelty-free dessert as I can find. Win!
* repeatedly apologised to everyone for not doing more poetry gigs… when actually, when I look back, I did quite a lot.
* spent Easter in beautiful, deliciously warm Barcelona: revisiting all my favourite vegan restaurants, sunbathing in parks and on rooftops, and again, writing lots of poems. Hooray!
* became suddenly able to afford to buy a house with Lovely Boyfriend. Began immediately and excitedly house-hunting!
* spent over nine hours under the needle to have my Oliver No. 9 typewriter half-sleeve tattooed. It is so lush! (Scroll down!)
* escaped one heck of an evil manager, and immediately boosted my self-esteem, by negotiating a transfer to teach at a different campus. (He’s since been demoted and is no longer anyone’s manager. Thanks, karma!)
* went out filming with the brilliant media co-op and our gorgeous groups of Making It Home women. I learned all about how hard film-making is (needless to say, the women were all flippin’ geniuses at it), held lots of things, and ran around with coats keeping our actresses warm!
* I went to lovely London for a few days and discovered Foyles. HOW HAD I NEVER BEEN TO THIS MAGICAL PLACE BEFORE?! (I bought so many books. So many.)
* successfully negotiated the purchase of our new house, a sweet two-bed semi off Inverleith Row (no less)…
* …and immediately began the process of completely re-vamping this never-modernised house. The phrase “no idea what we were getting into” doesn’t even start to cover it!
* learned how to work a belt-sander, learned how to plaster, and wielded a sledgehammer (oh hell yeah!) for the first time ever, thanks to the above!
* finally drew a line under three-and-a-half years of study, and submitted my PhD.
* started the serious work of putting together my manuscript.
* was selected for the Contemporary Women’s Writing Skills Development programme, and attended the amazing first session at the University of Southampton.
* re-launched Edinburgh Vintage as a jewellery store and saw a fourfold increase in sales!
* successfully interviewed for, and accepted, a brilliant amazing fantastic wonderful new job (basically, my dream job, I’m serious) at Scottish Book Trust. I am now their Young Adult Project Co-Ordinator!
* spent four great days in beautiful Munich: eating vegan food, petting lots of kitties, and being constantly surrounded by pretty autumnal foliage. (We also visited the memorial camp at Dachau, which was exhausting, but I now believe that visiting a concentration camp is something every privileged human ought to do at some point.)
* completed a first draft of my first collection manuscript, and began test-driving poems from it at various events… including at Book Week Scotland!
* organised and judged the inaugural One Night Stanzas Poetry Contest! Have you read the winning poems yet?
* had a wood-burning stove put in as part of our new house renovations. Imagine how good that might be, then double it.
* finished building and renovation work on our living room only just in time for Christmas, and spent my first Christmas morning with Lovely Boyfriend — after four years of being together! Blissful.
The year in photos…
A storyboard from one of the amazing Making It Home films.
Sparkly stuff goes live at Edinburgh Vintage!
Wishes for 2014?
You know what? I am so freaking happy right now. In the past year, so many amazing things have happened — passing my PhD, buying my first house with my gorgeous man, landing my dream job. I feel greedy wishing for anything else, really. However, I do like to have goals, so here are one or two hopes for the year ahead…
*Shop my poetry MS around some cool publishers, and hopefully place it somewhere fantastic (I know, I know. Poetry is dismal right now, especially for first collections. But we can but try).
* Gather my strength to continue the great renovation and finish off the kitchen, tackle the bathroom and create a veggie garden!
* Adopt a dog… or two! Probably greyhounds!
That’s basically it. Oh, and write some good poems. That’d be nice, too.
I hope 2014 brings you everything you could possibly wish for, and more besides. Happy New Year!
Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!