Monday, January 07, 2008

Milestones: Marking An Important Occasion, or Two

As I sit to write this, I can’t help thinking about our tendency to mark special occasions, often to try to assign some meaning to our lives. As though, for example, being one day older is so much more significant because all the days have added up to a year. I mean, I understand children are excited because with age comes privilege.

But as adults, age comes with responsibility. And gray hair. These cheery thoughts brought to you today by the letter D, for Darlene, my older sister, who is officially another year older today. Perhaps wiser… but definitely older. (Hey, baby sisters take the shots they can get! And there’s something for my sister at the end that’s nice.)

Today is a significant day for me for another reason. It is officially one year ago today that my first book was published. It’s in thinking about that that I started to wonder what this particular milestone meant to me.

Truthfully? Not a whole lot. It’s a marker, a date to take stock of how far I’ve come in a given amount of time. I’m no wiser for having reached the one year anniversary of becoming an author.

I’m wiser for what I’ve learned from all the experiences between these points.

It isn’t that I don’t feel a sense of accomplishment. I do. But I also don’t feel it’s a good thing to rest on your laurels. I am more interested, at the moment, in looking ahead. I’ll have two books published this year. Accordingly, I made some double ARCs - not even two dozen, so they're like collectibles - which felt weird. Most of my edits for What Burns Within are done – all of the biggies. But I’m waiting on the galley copy to go over for those pesky typos. The official ARCs won’t be going out for a few more weeks.

Yet my special double book (produced with permission, of course) has already reached reviewers in the US and the UK.

I haven’t even seen a copy of it myself. This is when you hope ten pages in the middle aren’t somehow missing, and obsess about all those silly things you now have no control over. I’m fairly confident a few typos will still be in WBW – any authors are sympathizing because we know how many times we can go over our work and still miss things – but I’d bet all I own on there being typos in Frailty. Just nature of the beast, especially considering we haven’t even started those edits yet. (And I live in fear until I see Don’s notes.)

It’s going to be a busy year.

If you’d asked me a year ago where I’d be today, what would be going on in my life, I couldn’t have imagined what’s happened. And as bumpy as the past year has been, right now, I’m looking ahead to all the promise 2008 holds, and am so incredibly excited for how it’s taking shape.

That’s what I’m going to focus on. Savouring the moments, with an eye to the future and the other things to work on, other goals to reach, things to achieve. At least, career-wise.

On a personal note, just enjoying every single day. It looks like big changes are on the horizon for me, and I’m thrilled. Nothing I can go on the record about just yet…

But life is very, very good.

And today is significant for another reason. The first day to officially talk about the first episode of season 5 of The Wire.

And now, a little something for my sister. Through the wonders of YouTube, we can indulge in some of the greatest moments in the history of sport… I will be the stereotype and prove myself Canadian by posting Shae Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, for many years the Canadian ice dance champions, former world champions as well.

My goodness, I think I’m proving myself female as well by admitting my love of figure skating.

There are so many of Bourne and Kraatz’s performances on YouTube – their hydroplaning performance to Pink Floyd, their world championship gold medal performance, Return To Innocence…we could be here all day - it could be hard to choose, but Darlene (and I) both like Riverdance (yes, I am a girl) so Riverdance it is.

Even if you don’t enjoy figure skating, writers should appreciate this. Ice dance has very specific rules about the moves, to separate it from pairs competitions where they toss those tiny girls in the air and lift them over their heads and do jumps. In ice dance, it is about precision, unison. Lifts are not to be over the head, they are body lifts. And that requires enormous control. No jumps, but footwork sections. Speed is important, as well as changing pace.

As I think about it, it reminds me of writing.

Another thing I’m mindful of is the discipline it takes, to get up every day and train for the moment when you’ll step on the ice and give it your all. In sports, injuries and cold bugs can wreak havoc. Shae Lynn had one or two knee surgeries, if I’m not mistaken.

I’m also thinking of the fact that, in a sport decades old, Bourne and Kraatz conquered Canada and stepped on to the world stage and earned a place in history, and they took things and made them their own. Specifically, hydroblading. Proving it’s possible to work within the boundaries of your discipline and still be innovative.

You put yourself on display and hope things work out. Some will love you. And some won’t.

I’m especially mindful of that as the early review copies start making their way out there.

(And watching these two do their incredibly difficult footwork sequences that they make look so easy, I’m reminded of just how wonderful it can be to be completely in sinc with someone.)


Evil Kev said...

It has been a very difficult year for you but you got through it with the strength of character and will that few people are willing to credit you with. I know that this year will be your breakthrough and on January 7 2009, you will be celebrating many more personal and professional milestones.

angie said...

I can't wait to read 'em! It's been a long, crazy year for you, no doubt.

And while I'm not big on ice skating (er, 'dancing'), that was pretty amazing.

Chris said...

Okay, the double ARC is very freakin' cool, and I'm glad to hear there are more good haps on the horizon. I hope this year kicks more ass than Chuck Norris on meth at a nudist colony.

Does Chuck Norris take meth? Nah -- meth takes Chuck Norris.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Ha Chris! Careful, though. He might sue...

Angie, I hope they live up to your expectations!

Few people will ever credit you with the strength and goodness of heart required for you to let me go, and to not only accept I'm happy but to be glad for me. I got here because of you, and no matter what problems we've faced, I'm never going to forget that.

And I hope for you that you will be as happy as I am. You do deserve that.

Chris said...

Great. Evil Kev begins with a sweet, touching sentiment. I follow with Chuck Norris. Ah, the perils of the lag-time before comments appear!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Nah Chris, no big deal. And I'm glad Kevin will still comment sometimes. Proof that people can get divorced and still be friends.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Looking back on it, it's odd how few things have the impact you expect them to have. It's the other stuff that grabs you by the throat or heart.

Anonymous said...

That was my favourite blog to date. The best thing about being at the bottom is you can only look upwards! It's not relevant really, what is, is how you get back on top. The route you take and your attitude towards the whole journey.

I love that someone who is going through a divorce can still think about that feeling of Union in love and life.

I never saw the riverdance on ice before, i was all watery eyed..(don't tell anyone)

chel x

JD Rhoades said...

Happy Anniversary, Sandra!

Daniel Hatadi said...

See that long arm reaching over the horizon? See that spooky, large hand attached to it? That's me, patting you on the back. Keep up the good work, Sandra Dee.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Patti, I think you hit the nail on the head.

Chel, don't worry, I won't tell. ;)

Thanks JD!

Daniel, you are trouble!

Daniel Hatadi said...

Whoops, had too much green tea again. I'll go back into my box now.