My “Toni Morrison Year”

black women writing collective

As it usually happens, last week I began to think about my upcoming birthday, which is today if you’re reading this post on November 24th. Being a not-Christian, it didn’t occur to me that 33 was my “Christ year” until it was about halfway over. I’m sure I reflected on what all-important significant thing I would do or mark I would make, but I was in my first year in a new city. I’m certain the one good thing that came of that time period was finding WisCon.

In the year I finally moved away from home and came to Madison, things quickly became stagnant. I found little pockets of community here and there, but as things continued to deteriorate, I couldn’t bring myself to get involved anymore. So each year found my retreating more and more into the company of my solitude inside an apartment whose possession drives my entire existence right now.

But in the sense of the Christ year, that number doesn’t mean much me. Yet, I’m still the type to look for significance in numbers. So it hit me that I’m turning 39. This is the age one of my literary heroes, Toni Morrison, was when she published her first book. I also know that she’s only ever had one short story published, so in a twisted way I feel a little less a failure in the overall scheme of things since I’ve had not one short story traditionally published yet.

However, I’ve decided this should be my kind of “Christ year.” What that means is I’m hoping that this is the year I finally get at least one piece of fiction published. I have a good chance at a short story submission right now, and I’m really anxious about this finally being the beginning. Also, instead of calling it a “Christ year,” I’m calling this my “Toni Morrison year.” I want to direct my actions toward that, doing whatever I can to finally get published and earn that title writer.

I’m also hoping to get around to doing a fictional podcast series, but I’d be writing, voicing, and recording it alone, so I have to look at and determine how much time I can devote to it so that I release each episode at a consistent rate.

I’ve also worked on other ways of keeping myself accountable and writing consistently. I finished the first draft of the first chapter of a WIP and typed what I have so far. I also sent it to a couple of friends because I know that if someone else knows I have work in progress, I’m more inclined to keep working on it at a quicker pace. (And by the time this is posted, I will probably also have made it bonus content for my Patreon subscribers as well.) I’m planning to print each chapter as I go along so editing can be a more efficient process later as well.

So, yes, I’m putting this all in motion. I’m still working on getting already finished work published with independent, small presses if possible. So let’s just hope we can finally get it together this year. We’ll see.