Posted by: jeannineatkins | December 31, 2009

Happy New Year, Dear Friends!

One of my best Christmas presents came from my brother-in-law. What could hold more hope than a six pack of yellow notepads? I laughed when I unwrapped them with a flash of happy recognition that grew when Bruce said he remembered me using those. I change what I work on, and for the last few years it’s been the backs of old work. These soft and smooth pads make me feel ready for a new start.

Like many writers, I look backward for inspiration, and the losses I see there can hurt. I try to balance that, Janus-like, with the shine of empty pages. Here’s wishing you such bright hope for the coming year: good, wise, and happy children, staying out of hospitals, books that land in caring hands, homes that stay clean with little effort, cats that don’t shed, dogs that pee in proper places, no dropped stitches in your knitting, and lots and lots of sunny days. But if you don’t get it all, I wish you can sometimes look out the window and smile as I did this morning. It’s good to look, and it’s good to stock the birdfeeder. My husband took this picture of a chubby cardinal.



  1. Aw. 🙂 What a great brother-in-law!

  2. This post made my heart swell. It makes me so happy someone in your life is paying that kind of attention to your writing and wants to contribute to it. Your hopes and dreams for all of us made me smile and feel teary at the same time. I’m so glad we’ve become friends and look forward to the day we meet in person. Happy, happy 2010 to you and yours.

  3. What a thoughtful, lovely gift. Happy New Year!

  4. Love those yellow tablets and the cardinal! And I love your wishes for us. Happy New Year, Jeannine!

  5. Every writer should be blessed with a Bruce in the family! Have a great new year, Tammi!

  6. Thank you, Tracy. I was lucky to marry into a creative family: my husband’s mom was a librarian, and the four kids fill or filled their lives with art, music, and writing. Kindred souls all.
    I too look forward to meeting you in person, and love knowing you here. May you have much to celebrate in 2010!

  7. Have a wonderful new year!

  8. Jama, wishing you a new year of many more perfect words. And a few cupcakes.

  9. To me, cardinals are one of the most amazing things in the world. I’ve only seen one or two in my life–at my sister’s house in Illinois. SO red. As bright and hopeful as those yellow notebooks! Happy New Year, Jeannine. 🙂

  10. Oooh, I love that cardinal photograph! So beautiful, that crimson red, against the greenery and snow.
    And like Tracy, I’m so happy that your brother-in-law gave you a gift that feeds your creative spirit.

  11. What a lovely cardinal photo – and what a wonderful gift!

  12. Those yellow legal pads are like steroids for idea making! I look forward to seeing what brilliance you come up with next!
    Happy New Year!

  13. Oh, those legal pads make me want to set down and whip out a pen! What a lovely gift. As are your new year’s wishes to all of us.
    I wish I could restore all those losses, or at least heal them somehow, but I’ll have to content myself with wishing you every good thing under the sun. Happy New Year!

  14. Happy New Year, Jeannine–and love your Fugitree!

  15. What a sweet and thoughtful gift. And I’m so looking forward to hearing about your process/progress of filling them! 🙂
    Happy new year, Jeannine.

  16. I don’t take cardinals for granted, but don’t think of them as that rare either, so I love having your west coast perspective to welcome them even more! This is going to be a great year, Becky. Glad to share in the hope and joy with you!

  17. Melodye, thank you for your sweet thoughts. I am looking forward to sharing joy with you this coming year, appreciating all you’ve shared.

  18. It’s so fun to know people who see a blank yellow notebook and sigh in a good way. I’m looking forward to more of your good words in 2010, Kelly.

  19. Whoa! Yellow legal pad steroids! That’s some pressure, but of the sweetest kind really. Best wishes for your new year too — lots and lots of inspiration!

  20. My brother in law Bruce should be feeling good about his present choices! And yes I am inspired. A nice stack of six — some of those words are bound to be worth saving!
    Thank you for all your gifts of words, which I treasure.

  21. Laura, thank you! I think we will have to take down the fugitree soon — but I will miss the glitter and tree-smell in the house. I just set out a few new paperwhite bulbs, which should smell good in February. Ah, patience.

  22. Thank, you Lorraine, and I’m sending you good wishes for the new year, too. It’s strange to be starting a new project right at the new year — since the calendar is not something I pay so much attention to. But I’m glad to be embracing possibility and her sister, my good friend, the goddess of mistakes.

  23. Love your post! Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

  24. Thanks, Vivian, and I hope your new year is great, too. And that I might see you at ALA in Boston!

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