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Sunday, December 31, 2000

This year that we've waited for all our lives, this year with no 19 in its name, this year that seems to have just started is over in a blink, gone in a whisper. Can it be a whole year ago that we witnessed the millennium celebrations from around the world? And now that the real millennium is here, it seems lessened somehow, as if today isn't even a real New Year's Eve.

And yet this was the year that I moved. Twice. The first time was my first move in twelve years. The second time (four months later) was a move next door, to the house of my dreams, my country cottage amongst the birds, bees, crickets and cats. Gophers, too, although I've never seen one. Just the trace evidence.

Moving to the Fortress of Solitude has been miraculous. I haven't had this much space anywhere I've lived. I've never been so close to nature. And I've never felt so free, in the sense that there's no one on the other side of any of my walls. I don't hear anyone else's stereo, and no one hears mine. I can belch as loudly as I please, and sing along with the theme from Malcolm in the Middle, and read Emily Dickinson aloud without embarrassment.

This is something I didn't even imagine a year ago. I knew I was outgrowing the cramped hovel I'd lived in for so long, but I couldn't have dreamed up a place as clearly perfect for me as where I eventually landed. Whatever other resolutions I might have had for this year, this is the bend in the road that I never saw coming.

The first entry in this journal was posted one year ago today. I'd been reading online journals for over two years before deciding to try it myself. I didn't expect to have many readers, and I didn't at first. It was quiet around here for the first few weeks, but I started getting mail from other journalers, and I was encouraged to keep going.

With the help early on of people like Saundra and Nancy, more readers found me, and some of them kept coming back. I'm honored by anyone who stops by here, however often. I still don't have a huge readership, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Prompted by Sasha, I started a notify list in April, so I know for a fact that some of the writers I respect most are gracing this page with their presence.

I love getting email. I didn't know when I started how important it would be to hear from my readers, but I treasure every bit of correspondence that comes in. And I've had mail from all over the world, a fact that astonishes me. When I started this endeavor, I couldn't have thought I'd make so many connections, and that I'd be blessed with the warmth that comes through the wires from some of you.

The journal has evolved somewhat, and I'm not entirely sure it's been for the better. The early entries were written strictly for myself, almost exactly the way I wrote in my paper journals for years. Some were reflections on events of the day, while in others I tried to figure out who I was and where I was going.

Some of my most intense entries were written from a dark place in my soul. And almost every time I wrote from that place, I felt afterwards as if a poison had been drained from my system. I began to see writing here as therapeutic, and writing honestly as cathartic.

On the other hand, there have been entries where I've explored some problem that's been bugging me, come up with a solution, and promptly failed to implement that solution. Remember the diet? Ha! What a joke.

I think I still write mostly for myself, but I'm also now aware of an audience. (No, really? We couldn't tell.) Some of what I write is affected by knowing that people are reading. I don't think there's anything to do about this, because it's a simple fact. But I think I'm going to try, in the coming year, to get back to deeper personal entries, at least some of the time.

I wanted to get out to the bookstore yesterday, but I ran out of energy and time before it happened. I wanted to fill up my shelves before my self-imposed ban on new purchases takes effect. This is really the only actual resolution I'm making, and it's strictly to keep me from spending so much money on books, CDs and DVDs, when I already have so many of them.

I own plenty of books I haven't read, and so many CDs that I couldn't possibly listen to them all in a year. I don't need any more. As for DVDs, well, I think I can go a year without buying any new ones. I do have 30 digital movie channels beamed into my home from outer space, after all.

But I spent an hour on line last night at various bookselling sites, stocking up. I especially wanted the rest of the Tillerman series by Cynthia Voigt; I've read the first two and haven't been able to find the rest. And of course while browsing the young adult sections I found a few other items I didn't think I could wait until 2002 to read.

To celebrate the new year, I've moved the notify list from the hated Yahoo/eGroups to Topica. Nothing would make me happier than to have a whole bunch of new subscribers. Anyone? Anyone?

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Latest recommendations:

Thanks to Sasha, for her recipe for drunken rumballs (and an excellent new year's entry).

And thanks to Nance, for her monkey balls.

Other recent recommendations can be found on the links page.
I update every day, at random times. If you subscribe to the notify list, I'll let you know when.

You're not the boss of me now, and you're not so big.
Life is unfair.