Dec. 31, 2015. Suddenly, the year is over and I'm sitting down with a cup of coffee to complete my annual review, the 12th since I became my own boss at the end of 2003. This isn't a Christmas letter reviewing our personal joys and sorrows. It's my form of public accountability to myself, justifying my choice of the art life over employment and fending off the sleepy temptations of retirement.
Overall, 2015 was a year of fierce energy and a couple notable accomplishments.
In 2008 I adopted a manifesto that boils down to: "TELL STUNNING STORIES. Dial up the volume of my voice; take risks; make it impeccable." To that end, I finally published THE SUDDEN SILENCE, a hefty suspense novel that I began in 1990 (see background and progress reports). Getting a novel out in print and ebook forms, adhering to high standards of book design, and working like hell to make it read fast and smooth definitely lets me tick the "achieved" box this year. Only time will tell how "stunning" my audience finds the story.
Having three books published makes me feel more like an "author" and spurs my ambition. In addition to THE SUDDEN SILENCE, I grappled with a couple false starts on an new novel intended to explore the soul of art (in a stunning way, of course) but I never did come up with a strong plot. My web entries here are peppered with articles about the subject, two of which I published on Medium: The Spirit in Things and The Collector. They made nary a ripple on the ocean of social media.
Meanwhile, I reignited two old projects: THE UNDERGROUND ATHLETIC CLUB and a memoir/traveler's tale about our Central Asia adventure in 1992. The UAC has a pretty strong plot and the needed revisions are obvious, so I'm hoping for a Kindle edition early in 2016. (Did I just make that commitment?) The traveler's tale was published here as a journal shortly after our return from Asia. It needs a story "spine" and the insights of looking back. What was it I learned? What demons was I fighting? (Or what angels did I unleash?)
I had a goal of revving up the Mad In Pursuit website here to support my marketing efforts -- even souped up my important web pages with mobile-friendly bootstrap components and cleaned up my Facebook page to act as a better portal for my pearls of wisdom. But my progress on web entries ever since has been dismal, I hate to report.
To make a long story short, I have moved my studio from our woodsy townhouse in suburban Rochester to a log cabin on Lake Ontario -- the "lodge.". This was an inspired decision during a spring period of fierce energy, which I wrote about in a 6-part series.
This sizzling energy also extended to collections management and collectibles sales, which I had been ignoring for about 18 months. Since this is part of my "job," I get points for obligations met and customers satisfied. But miles to go here...
On our vacation to Santa Fe in October 2014, I brought along a stack of hand-dyed cloth and began a stitching project. This became the "Red Project." This endeavor, plus my foray into natural dyes, got sidetracked by the big move to the lake and my summer fling with gardening. But I began working on it again in the fall, hand-quilting it patch by patch. Slow work but I'm nearing the edges, so there is an end in sight.
The Red Project became so vast that everything has taken a backseat to it, so I'll be relieved when it's done and I can dig into something else. My dyeing and stitching "lab" are all set up here at the lodge, waiting...
Living on Lake Ontario, with its summer sunsets and autumn stars, turned me into a photography nut. This is "art," of course, but it is also playing and procrastination. I guess either way, I'm happy.
I started 2015 by sinking into a plant-based eating lifestyle. During our quiet and frigid January, we cooked and we ate simple, energizing food. My spirit went deep and got focused. I meditated. I did yoga. I flossed my teeth. My mind opened. Every morning brought new possibilities. Who can say that swearing off cheese and stoking up on beans changes everything? But for me, it became the discipline that fueled the fierce energy of 2015.
THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.
TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) Time after time, Mary asks herself: Do I go or do I stay? She finds her power in her ancestors: Smart women turn discontent into action. An illustrated memoir in paperback and Kindle editions.
PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.
All pages in this website by Susan Barrett Price are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. [The snowstorm image at the top of this page came from Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons license.]