Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Greetings

On Friday I posted my Christmas cards to the friends and relatives who've shared my path in life, and now I'd like to extend greetings to my loyal readers.

For more than twenty years my friends and relatives have received a summation of my year each December, and chastise me if it fails to arrive. (Sometimes it arrives in January as a New Year greeting.) I intend to adopt that 'annual review' tradition for my readers as well, with a focus on the writing aspects of my life. So here goes.

Writing can be quite a lonely and solitary existence, especially when you live alone, and writers often take the woes of the world on their shoulders. Since this year has been a tough and uncertain one internationally, I've been adopting the 'glass-half-full' principle. I'm aiming to stay optimistic about the year ahead too, even though my degree is in Economics, the dismal science. My sister Stephanie (I have three younger sisters) often talks about 'practising gratitude', another meaningful way of coping with our present circumstances. I know that whenever I'm overseas I'm always grateful that my forebears came to this country so long ago, beginning in 1788, and that I'm an Australian. It's always good to come home to our unique landscapes and our well-organised society.

The year just ending has seen me very busy with family commitments, for almost six months in total. My Sydney-based mother had a very bad fall and my Hong Kong-based daughter needed some help too, as she has two sets of twins, aged 5 and 4. In the time remaining, having become a total workaholic, I've finished the drafting of two more books which I hope will see the light of day during 2012. One deals with another Hawkesbury settler, Charles Homer Martin, and the other is a biography of the botanical artist Margaret Flockton. My website  will keep you posted on those developments.

I've also 'floated' among my friends my first 'romance' novel, and am looking to publish that as an e-book in 2012. Writing for the romance market is so liberating after the meticulous and unbelievably time-consuming work involved in writing non-fiction family history. I have a special pen name in mind. All will be revealed next year.

Having said 'no' to Facebook for years, for the last few weeks I've been trying to get to grips with social media. Facebook is a real challenge for me, being all about the 'here and now', while my world for so long has been all about the 'done and dusted' (people born before 1900, my cut-off point for family history subjects).  I'm slowly learning about Facebook 'friends' and posting messages to my 'wall'. If you're on Facebook, please let me know! Will you be my friend? I'm trying to spread the word about my books. There must be many more Forrester and Bushell and Dennis and Pierssené descendants out there, and the ripple effect is needed to reach them.

Lots of people have contacted me via email and telephone this year, and it's always good to hear from those who've been touched by the information about their ancestors found within my books. I try to answer everyone in a timely fashion. It certainly helps to keep my nose to the grindstone when I know that my work is adding meaning to the lives of others.

That's all for now, folks. I hope that you have a happy Christmas with your friends and family, some opportunity for rest and recuperation over the holidays, and every good fortune in the coming year.

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