Many, many months ago I met a reader who commented that I never seemed to write on my blog. I said all kinds of bad things were happening and I was dealing with difficult people. He seemed to think I could find something else to write about. I think if you're struggling to keep your head above water you can't think about anything else.
A long time ago my ex's mother had breast cancer. That is, it had been in remission and came back. The thing I remember about Norma is that she never talked about it, never complained.
One problem with dealing with difficult people is that it takes up a lot of energy. It's hard to force yourself to do more than tackle immediate problems. But in late summer/early autumn I forced myself to write some applications - one for a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, one for a Stipendium in Berlin for writers in a language other than German, one for a grant from the Society of Authors.
It looks as though I didn't get the stipendium (the announcements were to go out in December). The Radcliffe fellowships won't be announced until March. But today, when I came in from doing a load of laundry, I found a letter from the Society of Authors and a cheque - they'd given me a grant which will let me replace my ailing MacBook. (Its keyboard died in July 2016; I've been nursing it along with an external keyboard every since.)
So that's the good news for the year, because I was wondering what I should do. I could definitely cut costs by switching to a PC - it's not nearly as worrying if a $300 laptop suddenly has to be replaced. And it's not as though I'm a fan of Macs - I loathe Apple with every fibre of my being. But it would limit the kinds of book I could write. I would have to leave all my Mellel documents behind. I had the feeling that it would be bad to sit down and try to think of a book that did not require X, Y and Z, and talk myself into it.
So now I don't have to make that decision. Thank you, Society of Authors!