Northern Michigan winters are not something I take lightly. Yes, there are places where winter is worse and/or more persistent. But this is nothing to be sneezed at. Unless you have the flu on top of being trapped in your own house and really we all should have just gotten flu shots. No, I'm not completely cut off from civilization -- see, I have the internet, I have all the civilization I need -- but when your means of getting to the grocery store or anywhere else in town is a tiny compact car, you reevaluate your ability to fight the terror in white.
And damn if road slush didn't nearly do me in the other day. It wasn't even snow! Or ice! Just the goofy slush! Argh.
So I don't travel between Christmas and the start of March. Not if I can help it and certainly not for any distance.
The cupboard shall not run bare (aka, keep your pantry from streaking).
Last year the weather forecasts were dead on. Then again it seemed like we got 2-5" every day last winter, so I guess it's not that hard to predict. But this year they predict 3" we get none. They predict 6" we get none. They predict 5" we get 12." Sigh. And even when a mild 5" fell earlier this week, and I had diligently shoveled out all the requisite paths -- clear sidewalk for school kids, clear steps for mail man, clear driveway for me to get the car out -- I slipped and slid all over the place courtesy of aforementioned slush. So I try to stay off the roads the day of snowfall if I can. (A home office is a brilliant thing.) But if it snows for three days . . . I'm screwed. Or at least stranded.
Which is fine. Because I prepare.
I like to have enough on hand that I could, if needed, wait it out for a week until a clear day afforded me passage to the market that did not land me in the ditch or making new friends and acquaintances of the let's trade insurance information variety. At the very least I can stretch things out by eating rice and kimchi until I realize that I'm not Korean enough -- even in my own mind -- to eat kimchi with every meal. (It should be noted that technically I'm not Korean at all, I just watch too much K-drama and it's been rubbing off on me.)
But be certain that I keep the kitchen stocked this time of year. Freezer and cupboard are ready for battle, sir!
My great-grandmother canned food because it could get the family through the winter when there wasn't much in the way of produce. My grandmother canned food because it was cheaper than store-bought. I admit getting into canning very small batches of apple sauce, peppers, and freezer jam out of a mixture of artisnal snobbery, reclaiming my heritage, and a desire to eat better food -- there is absolutely no reason why jam and sauce made from ripe fruit should have sugar added to it. Just sayin. But now it's proving a useful part of my hibernation strategy.
Did I get everything done pre-hibernation?
But what really kills me are the items that continually reappear on each list. Not items like laundry where the task reappears because it has to be re-done regularly, but tasks that just keep getting pushed down the road. I'd only have to do them once, but I just can't get around to them. They're killing me. Not the actual task, but the task's undoneness -- that's what's killing me. Chipping away little pieces of my soul, pieces I think are grains of confidence. And shoring up the damage is going to take more than a tube of toothpaste and some matching touch-up paint. More like plaster and a gallon to recover the whole wall.
Most (but definitely not all) of my editing projects got done this year.
Most (but not entirely all) of my writing projects are nowhere near done. They're so not-done they're practically raw.
I hired four Assistant Editors to work with me on World Weaver Press and its imprint Red Moon Romance. The application and interview process went for about six weeks. And they started work just before the end of the year. They're keeping me busier day-to-day but in a way that I hope will be great for the press because it will mean more content for readers and a faster editing process for authors. And maybe, just maybe, I can get some writing done.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree...
Each item crossed off the list brings me closer. But it's still a damn long list.
My biggest dream for 2015 -- whether it's a fanciful opium dream of a poem never to be remembered in full or not -- is to complete some of my own writing projects. Revise short stories that have been sitting for several years and perhaps plow through the first draft of the novel that's also been incubating for a . . . um . . . almost five years.
I don't want these projects to turn into my own "Kubla Khan." A vision in a dream. A fragment. Oh, no. I want, need, desire greater than anything to find the edges of the thing, to seek the flesh of it, and give it shape and life and purpose.
Coleridge blamed the opium when he accepted that he would never finish what, admittedly, became a rather famous poem. But I'm not sure I could live like that.
For starters, I'm not big on opium.