New Year, new adventure

Yesterday our older son, Will, headed home to freezing Minnesota, and our younger son, Felix, went back to work (currently making cow proof fences so salamanders won't get squashed.) All the holiday decorations are put away. One last birthday cake to make -- my husband's birthday is tomorrow -- and then life returns to ... well, not normal exactly. To my new adventure.

In a few days I leave for freezing Vermont. (Notice a theme here with the cold?) I've taken a job teaching at Vermont College in the MFA Writing for Children and Young Adults Program. I am incredibly excited. I've never taught in an organized program before, though I've done all the pieces (lectures, critiquing, encouraging, mentoring.) Being used to mild California weather, I sent ahead a box of warmness -- a down quilt, flannel sheets, snow boots and a teapot.

My year started off with a treat. Last summer we had an amazing Boston Globe-Horn Book award evening, with all the winners giving speeches. The Horn Book people have graciously put links to all of them on their site. Here's my Boston Globe-Horn Book speech for Marching for Freedom. It's partly about writing the book, and partly about why I write and what inspires me.

And with a time-consuming new adventure coinciding with a new year, I've come up with a New Year's resolution: prioritize. This is always a weakness with me in the best of times. So with more demands on my time, I'm going to see if I can be more mindful. I've written prioritize on a slip of paper and stuck it to the bottom of my computer screen.

What will you be doing more mindfully this year?