Every year, I write a year in review post about my writing. It's my annual check-in. How's it going? What did I hope to accomplish? What did I accomplish? As usual, I didn't accomplish as much as I hoped, but I still had some good things happen.
First, I started my Hat Project blog. I really underestimated the time it would take to not only take pictures of the hats as I wore them, but write the little essays that go with them. I also underestimated my desire for new hats! When I started, I thought it would take a year, since I knew I had somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 hats. However, not only have I bought a few more since I started, people have given more to me, with the result that I'm going to be blogging about hats longer than I expected. However, unless I go crazy buying hats or get given a vast collection, I should be finished this year.
It's been a very interesting experience. I set out to write an autobiography in hats, and that has meant revisiting happy, funny, and painful episodes in my life. I've also worn many hats out and about, some I'd always meant to wear (my grandmother's hats, for example) and some that I never imagined wearing in public (hello, green feathered hat!). The blog has sapped some of my time and energy away from my fiction, but I have enjoyed the process (except for constantly looking at pictures of myself). And I really enjoy publishing the little essays myself, without having to submit them to journals. Instant gratification and hats! What could be more fun?
I did have some fiction published this year, including one story that was nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and one that had a very long road to publication after the first journal that accepted it folded before publishing it:
I also had an essay that was very close to my heart published and read on the radio, "Tracking Every Spoonful," in The Dirty Spoon. As the essay was very close to my heart, hearing it read on the radio was a wrenching and wonderful experience, and I feel lucky that my work was chosen.
I didn't accomplish everything I set out to do this year. I revised the opening of my novel but have yet to start sending it out again. I made fewer short story and essay submissions than I usually do. However, I did write some stories, including a new project that may end up being a story chapbook or full collection. Time will tell!
Thanks for reading my work this year. I really appreciate your support!
Ann Hillesland writes fiction and essays. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Bayou, The Laurel Review, and Sou’wester.
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