In many ways, this is my favorite time of year. Not because of Thanksgiving or Christmas although both of those holidays allow us to celebrate two powerfully positive impulses-giving thanks and giving to others. This is my favorite time of year because it represents both a conclusion and a beginning. The end of the year for me is a time to slow down and take stock, a time to look back and look forward. I like to look back at what I was given in the year coming to an end and envision what I hope to manifest and receive and give in the new year. I will admit
that it is a challenge to give thanks for the challenges and it is very easy to give thanks for the blessings. I work hard to see the blessings in the challenges but I’m not an angel yet, so I have yet to master that.
My most meaningful end-of-the-year ritual is a Burning Bowl ceremony. I make a list of those experiences, beliefs, and attitudes that I want to release in the new year to make way for more fulfilling new experiences, beliefs, and attitudes. Then I burn the list in a fire-proof container, symbolically extinguishing its power. I write a
Letter to God claiming what I want in the new year and giving thanks in advance for its manifestation. That is my most important end-of-year ritual, what is yours?
I want to thank you for allowing me to take a small portion of your time with my emails and blogs. Thank you if in 2022 you enrolled in any of my workshops or classes, or if you enlisted me as a consultant on a writing project, or attended any of my Creative Conversations on Zoom. Thanks to all of you who chose to work with me, who trusted me with the narratives you worked so hard on. I learn something about writing and teaching and living from all your stories. Thank you for buying any of my books and telling your friends they should buy a copy too.
Clearly, you are a reader and or a writer. If you are a writer, we are members of the same tribe. If you are a reader, I am a member of that tribe too. Readers are crucial in determining what the work of writers means to them and in the world. Readers have given me not just book sales but a community that I value immensely.
This has been as they say a “banner year” for me with the release of new editions of my earlier books Saving Our Sons and A Woman’s Place, books written three decades ago that my publishers felt spoke to today’s readers. I continued presenting mental health workshops at Johns Hopkins Medical and for me most exciting, and scary of all I am writing a new novel. I am writing slowly, carefully, listening to the story, getting to know these characters who are new imaginary members of my family. My goal is to try to write something potentially beautiful and honest and true in each writing session, something that I will revise and revisit and learn how to write.
So as this year winds down I want to say special thanks to:
- My husband and soul mate Joe Murray my senior advisor in everything
- Romona Foster my social media and promotion guru and guide
- Abdul Ali, he knows all the reasons why
- My personal posse of writing friends, Tracy Chiles McGhee who co-taught with me our first-ever Eight-week Self -Publishing Intensive, Michelle Petties, and Dine Watson. The photo above is us getting in the spirit of the season at The Salamander Hotel in South West D.C. one of the city’s most luxurious hotels owned by A Black woman, Sheila Johnson.
- My hiking sisters
- My Zoom sisters – the writers and guests who made my Creative Conversations special
- The institutions and individuals who invited me to speak to their constituencies
- Brenda Knight of Mango Publishing
- Erica Vitale-Lazare of McSweeney’s
- Sherita Golden of Johns Hopkins Medical
My Books of the Year:
- Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey a bold and searing manifesto that charts a path to reclaiming not just rest but sanity and health from the grip of “grind culture.” If you have followed Hersey on Instagram you are familiar with her recipe for rest but this book is a radical introduction to how changing how we think about work and sleep will change society.
- The Trees a novel by Percival Everett. Imagine that the dead/alive body of Emmett Till returns to take revenge on his killers, igniting a nationwide reckoning as a zombie army of the spirits of those lynched in America from Wyoming to Chicago, settle the score. Then imagine a novel that is satirical, terrifying, sobering, redemptive, funny, haunting, and unforgettable.
Marita Golden is the author of 19 works of fiction and nonfiction. She is Co-founder and President Emerita of the Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Foundation. As a teacher of writing, she has served as a member of the faculties of the MFA Graduate Creative Writing Programs at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University and served as a Distinguished Visiting Writer in the MA Creative Writing Program at John Hopkins University, and at the University of the District of Columbia. She has taught writing workshops nationally and internationally to a variety of constituencies and is a writing coach, workshop presenter, and literary consultant.