out with the old

In case anyone was left hanging, we made it to Dublin in the end, with only two (!) flight cancellations and one elongated delay on the one that finally jetted us over, and festivities were subsequently had.  This was the first festive event - we had a celebratory browse around Claire's Accessories in the Manchester Airport departure lounge:  


Then there was the insane amount of snow in Dublin, more than I've ever seen before, which warranted a Christmas Day walk:


Later on, my nephew taught me what noise a pig makes (essential knowledge for 2011 - you should all be so informed) and then tried to steal his dad's Grown Up Drink. 


My niece kindly chopped me up scrap paper so that I'd have enough money to see me through to the New Year.  I brought it to TK Maxx but, after much deliberation, didn't buy this very fancy golden chair.


Good times. And now I'm back in Manchester and the sugar rush is almost over, so I'm going to waste your time, and my own, by reminiscing about the Year That's Been. 

2010 is probably the year I've had the least cash since, oh, 2004, the year I spent on the dole - and both of those years rank as maybe the most fun and game-changing years to date.  In 2004, I mooched around, wrote lots of terrible, terrible short film scripts, lived off crisps and popcorn, moved to the UK and got the job I'd stay in for the next five years.  In 2010, amongst other stuff, I did the second half of my second MA, mooched around, lived off crisps and popcorn, moved house (hell, I do that every year, but it always sounds dramatic), saw two of my best friends get hitched, celebrated my 30th birthday in Amsterdam, went on a fantastic writing retreat in Wales, bought shit-loads of books at the Hay Festival, worked two book-shop jobs, wrote most of a novel and loads of book reviews, slacked off on my short-story writing but got several excellent flash-fiction publications, and won the Bristol Prize.

Of all the major things that have happened to me in my still very short career as a writer, the Bristol Prize soars above them as the Biggest and Best - the one that's made a huge difference to the way I see myself as a writer - more than the MA, more than NaNoWriMo (which I finished for the first time this year), more than any other publication I've had to date, and some of those I've been hugely proud of.  I'm immensely grateful to Joe Melia and the rest of team who run the Prize for all their support and encouragement, which extended well beyond the prize ceremony itself and continues even now.  I've gotten to meet and chat with people like Tania Hershman, Sarah Salway, and the other shortlisted writers, and now I'm watching those same writers rake in more and more successes, and it feels like we've all gone through something brilliant together.  Is that soppy?  Sorry; I haven't had much chocolate yet today.  I'll snap out of it.

I've already posted about the excellent books I've read this year, and I've got a long list to see me through into 2011.  I like to end or start the year on a biggie, and I'm partway through Anna Karenina now - after that, I'm thinking maybe some Patrick Ness, Hilary Mantel, William Boyd, Nicola Barker... I'm getting over-excited.

Writing-wise, I've got to finish the novel as soon as possible, for my own sanity, and to that end it's perhaps convenient that Real Life is going to take over in a massive way by late springtime, giving me a huge deadline to work towards.  If you've seen me in recent weeks you might have guessed that I don't normally waddle so much: we'll be rearranging the teetering stacks of books in the flat to make room for a whole new tiny person in late April.  So as fantastic as 2010 has been (bike thefts aside!), I think 2011 will blow it out of the water.


12 comments:

kerryhudson said...

Ah congratulations Valerie that is wonderful news...you know if you bung a few cushions on the bottom bookshelf it's just like a crib? Didn't do me any harm...

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks, Kerry - and that's totally the best idea EVER!

Claire King said...

Aaaaaaaaagh OMG that's just brilliant news! Congratulations to you both, 2011 is going to be such an adventure for you! Hugs xxxxx

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks, Claire! What a year, eh? I'll be on tenterhooks for you, too! Novels! Children! Where does it end? :-)

kim mcgowan said...

happy new year to you and your bump! x

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks, Kim - and a happy new year to you, too!

Sherri said...

Congratulations on your wonderful year, Valerie, and on your latest WIP!

It was great to meet you at Bristol and I hope 2011 is just as good for you.

Valerie O'Riordan said...

And you, Sherri! Thanks and here's to an ace 2011!

Tania Hershman said...

Hey, I just read this, congratulations on the impending Small Person! Sounds like 2011 might beat 2010 in greatness, although perhaps not in sleep :)!

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks, Tania! Yeah, I'm trying to max out on sleep now, while I still can! That, and writing - though to be honest, sleep's totally winning ;-)

marthawilliams.org said...

Hi, just read your post, congrats on the baby - I'll be thinking of you (I've got one coming in May). Good luck with the novel, too. It looks like we'll be having a busy year! (ps like you, 2010 contained no money at all but lots of fun!)

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Hi Martha,

congrats to you too! I know - this year's going to be immense!

Valerie