Sometime between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, I remove my annual list of goals from the inside of my desk door. I review two categories, Personal and Professional, and wonder again who suggested this beneficial ritual.
For twenty-some years I’ve attempted to visualize the woman’s face or recall her name. To do so would quell a nagging dread of dementia. I pray my brain is more like my grandmother’s than my mother’s.
Throughout the year, I scan what my goals want to accomplish and gauge my progress, or cross off those no longer viable due to decisions out of my control.
On occasion, I lose interest in a goal, such as practicing my dulcimer. It’s a harsh defeat to write NO next to #3 under the Personal heading of 2019. I adore Sweetheart, hoped I could justify the practice time to master her four strings and make her sing.
However, in January my back rebelled against lifting heavy boxes of books and claimed 2019 as The Year of Sciatica Pain. My first chiropractor visit in my life coincided with my seventieth birthday in February.
They say only a strong mind and spirit overcome sudden and chronic decrepitude, and those nights I collapse at the dinner table and crawl into bed at 8 p.m., I feel nothing like a winner.
Yet, God comforts us where we rest, lifts His cup from the fountain of everlasting joy to our lips. In the midst of another L4 and L5 relapse this past July, my Heavenly Muse whispered the title of my first novella.
Year after year, this is what I want most–to drink from the Lord’s hand and listen to His Muse–to write beautiful and wonderful words of life.
Without my bidding, the Muse came from the little ghost town of my birth, Matewan, West Virginia. She spoke in the voice I’ve come to know and trust, granted me sight to see the story about the folk in the Matewan Garden Club.
Her timing is impeccable for my 2020 vision. After five years’ work, I’ve accomplished #4 in my Professional category for 2019. This means I’ve completed my childhood food memoir titled Milk, Honey & Chocolate Gravy and am seeking an agent for representation. Meanwhile, I return to Matewan, listen to the characters and learn what they believe, the fears and desires of their hearts.
What do they want most for their precious town carved between mountains? What do they suffer and overcome? Who, what opposes their dreams?
Dear Reader, in this second decade of what is no longer a newborn millennium, there’s much goodness, hope, and truth to seek and find. The Muse awaits our ear and hand to submit to her voice.
I encourage you to consider and write what you want most in 2020. Begin with one list, five to ten goals. Post them in a place you frequent. Nurture them with your affection and time throughout the year.
See what you and the Muse can do.
Email Iris at