31 Dec 2014: My Year in Review
It’s that time of year again!
NIGHTMARE OF THE YEAR
Anything to do with Icelandic politics. It has been one blow after another after another to those of us who believe in honesty and integrity and keeping promises and sticking up for those who need it most. The government has worked diligently to erode the infrastructure of Icelandic society and appears to be succeeding spectacularly. At the close of the year, Icelandic doctors are still on strike in protest of their working conditions and wages, while the Progressive Party (the one in power) has no problem creating new ministerial positions for their own people, and appointed a new Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources on the last day of the year. Judging by what we have seen of her so far, she will be doing Icelandic nature no favours. Like someone remarked on Facebook: “When will we wake up from this nightmare?” Alas, I fear that won’t happen for another two-and-a-half years.
CORK-POPPER OF THE YEAR
My graduation from university. Three years ago I set out to finish my undergraduate degree which, for various reasons I had never finished. At the time I was interested in a job that required me to have a degree, and being rather pissed off at being forced through the social-conformity pressure cooker that was academia, I set out to do the easiest degree possible. My choice was “English”, and I didn’t expect to actually get into it very much, but somewhere along the way I actually started to enjoy the process and decided to alter my course by doing a minor in Ethnology. I also happened to lose interest in the job, which I essentially only wanted because it would allow me time to write. Long story short, I now have a BA in English, with a minor in Ethnology and am devoting myself to what I wanted to be doing all along: WRITING.
PUBLISHING MOGUL OF THE YEAR
Apropos. I published a book this year, sort of a follow-up to my Little Book of the Icelanders, but about the Icelanders in the Old Days. Due to a rather serious breach-of-trust between myself and the publisher of the first Little Book, I decided to go indie on this one (plus I am a huge enthusiast of indie publishing, as per last year’s review). It was a sh*tload of work and required me to do stuff that a regular publisher has people in several departments taking care of (writing, marketing, producing, distributing, accounting, fielding queries, negotiating with translators, etc.) but boy, it has been amazingly rewarding and fun. I worked with a brilliant illustrator and a wonderful designer (my husband, hehe), had the book printed in Poland and shipped to me here in Iceland. I then hit the road with stacks of boxes in the back of my car, first driving around the West Fjords with my husband, then the Ring Road with my daughter, meeting retailers and distributing the book. It was a fantastic experience, I got to meet some amazing people and generally had a fabulous time. I have just signed deals to have the book translated into French and German, plus I’ve got another book ready to launch this spring. Also, there has been lots of interest in translations of my first Little Book, and it will soon appear in Czech and Polish in addition to the French and German already out, and possibly some other languages as well. Unraveled is also currently being translated into Spanish, although we still don’t know what will happen with that. All this being said, as the administration is becoming correspondingly more complicated, I’m now working on finding someone to take on the distribution and accounting for me so I can devote myself to what I really wanted to be doing all along: WRITING.
PROUD MAMA AND STEPMAMA OF THE YEAR
I’m so proud of my daughter and stepdaughters, who are all forging ahead with gusto in their respective professions, and working to create the life they want for themselves. My eldest stepdaughter, Ásthildur, moved to Sweden in March with her partner and their two little boys, to do her specialization as an MD in family medicine. My middle stepdaughter, Ólöf, began the year working as a teacher but got head-hunted by Iceland’s hottest start-up Plain Vanilla (maker of QuizUp) last summer and is doing brilliant work for them. My youngest stepdaughter, Ragnheiður, beat out literally hundreds of applicants from all over the world to be one of eight people accepted into the production programme at the prestigious National Film and Television School in London. And my daughter, Aldís, continued to grow and develop as a performer at Iceland’s National Theatre School, regularly putting me in awe of her talent and surprising me with facets of her character that I had never seen before. Not to mention that she landed one of Iceland’s most coveted jobs, being one of around 100 people hired as an Icelandair flight attendant for which about 1,200 people applied.
GRATITUDE OF THE YEAR
Is for all the people who supported my writing career this year and purchased one of my books, reviewed one or more of my books, acted as beta readers for my new book, donated to my Indiegogo fundraising campaign, sent me messages saying how much they liked my book(s), offered to translate my books, joined the conversation on Facebook, encouraged others to join the conversation on Facebook, tweeted about my books, retweeted my tweets and generally helped me along on my journey. I feel so blessed.
And on that note … HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE and may all your dreams and wishes come true in 2015!