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Looking back over 2022 and forward to 2023

During 2022 I have continued to blog at least weekly on Sue’s Trifles and weekly on Sue’s words and pictures. Once again I took part in the blogging from A to Z in April challenge and was privileged to have two guest posts on the official A to Z blog – A reverie on 21st April and (with help from J Lenni Dorner) #AtoZChallenge An Alphabet of Blog Tips on 2nd August 2022. My theme for the A to Z 2022 challenge was Christmas, with posts including links to Christmas carols.

I am now a reserve for the Association of Christian Writers’ More than Writers’ blog and have had four posts on it during the year:

Are you thinking of blogging?

Meandering along the writing path

Genealogy then and now

Problems Pantsers avoid

Annmarie Miles interviewed me about my poetry and my faith. The radio interview was aired in a programme on UCB Ireland – The Writer’s Trail and repeated on Sunday 19th June 2022 at 7am BST. It was subsequently available as a podcast.

On 23rd July two of my poems were published in Agape Review Multifaceted Light and Space and Time and on 14th August a 75-word story on Paragraph Planet.

After writing a post about books on nature and climate change, I added a page, Books about Nature and Climate Change, which I am keeping updated with new links.

Many of my posts are reviews of books of my own choice, which I have read and enjoyed. I was also invited to review a few other books including the following four:

Brisbane: A novel by Eugene Vodolazkin translated by Marian Schwartz

Book Review: Popcorn Poetry by Brendan Conboy

Book Review and author interview: The continued times of Isabella M Smugge by Ruth Leigh

Book review and author interview: The Wanderer Reborn by Natasha Woodcraft

I have continued to write poetry mainly from prompts issued for an online poetry group affiliated to the Association of Christian Writers. Not many of these poems have appeared online. Some of them are part of a project I have begun, writing poems about our 900-year-old church building. One previously unpublished poem written in 2021 featured in my post: A surprising event

Away from the world of social media I have attended committee meetings, choir practices, church services and done some voluntary work. At home I have enjoyed gardening, knitting and local walks.

My word for the year has been generosity. This follows on from previous words I have tried to focus on in earlier years.

For 2023 I have picked the word Listen. I write in the living room and concentrate on what I can see rather than what I hear. When the news is on the radio, I don’t concentrate on it for long. I need to pay more attention when people are speaking as well. There is also the question of ‘listening’ to what God might be telling me. I believe that God speaks through the Bible, through other people and angels, and sometimes directly as to the prophets. The prophet Isaiah exhorted the people to listen. In Isaiah 48 he was speaking to the people of Israel and Judah, and in Isaiah 49 to people of distant nations.

My regular readers will know that words fascinate me. My three words (20162017 and 2021)  have a progression of shared letters – ReST – TRuST; TrUSt – FocUS. My word for 2022, GenerOSity, and for 2023, LISTen, continue this trend.

My writing and blogging goals include finishing my poetry project and publishing it, taking part in the A to Z challenge again, reading and reviewing more books, including one I have been invited to review and have already read and enjoyed. This is Beneath the Tamarisk Tree by Rob Seabrook, which I’ll be reviewing at the beginning of February. On Sue’s words and pictures I intend to continue with Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge.

Thank you for reading. I am praying a New Year’s blessing on all my readers.

Photo of an orchid with hand-written text New Year Blessings
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A Christmas poem

Soon after I joined one of the Association of Christian Writers’ online genre* groups we were challenged to write something about the Christmas story. I shared one of my Advent poems, which may be heard on Soundcloud. (It is the third one.) The following poem has been published in ACW’s print magazine, Christian Writer. I read it in a concert of carols and readings in December 2021, but this is the first time the text has appeared online. It is the second of two poems on Soundcloud.

The poem is based on Luke 2:1-20

*The genre group is for Christian writers of historical and biblical fiction.

Christmas visitors 
 
Joseph (with Mary on a donkey) 
Arrived in Bethlehem 
And went to see 
If there was room for them. 
They had arrived too late! 
Cousins and uncles and a great aunt, 
Were quick to state, 
‘Stay here?’ ‘No chance!’ ‘You can’t!’ 
 
Joseph was downcast and asked, 
‘Is there no nook or cranny?’ 
A kinsman was tasked 
By a kind, friendly granny 
To show them the stable. 
It was warm and dry, 
So they were able 
To shelter. What’s that cry? 
 
Mary’s baby’s been born. 
Jesus is his name. 
He is lying on stalks of corn; 
Angels tell of his fame. 
 
Some shepherds came down 
From the fields, leaving sheep. 
They found the babe in the town. 
Was he fast asleep? 
The angels had told them, 
‘The Messiah is here. 
‘Go to Bethlehem. 
‘There is no need to fear!’ 
 
So they had left their sheep 
And gone to Bethlehem, 
Where the babe from sleep 
Blinked and gazed at them. 
They returned with great joy 
For they knew that they’d seen 
The most wonderful boy – 
A nativity scene! 
 
© Susan Sanderson 29 September 2021 
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A surprising event

Most of my blog posts this year have been book reviews. As a change (and because I have less time in Advent for reading – apart from my Quiet time and preparations for our Ladies’ Bible study group) I have decided to share some poetry news.

I was invited to join the eco-church team and have attended a few meetings. We staged an exhibition in the church after gaining our bronze award from A Rocha. One of my contributions to the exhibition was a printout of a poem about trees, which I had written for an online poetry group.

Later a volunteer climate change champion was organising an art exhibition to raise awareness of climate change. The eco-team leader suggested that I could enter my poem with some conker artwork. I hadn’t done any art for a few years, having my time filled in with writing, reading, knitting and music as well as activities outside my home. It was half term week, when many activities in this village take a break, so I found time to create a piece of amateur artwork around my poem.

A villanelle is a form of poem I learned about from Linda Kruschke’s paint chip prompts. I wrote one for a challenge last year.

I have included the text of the poem as well as a photo of my artwork.

A piece of watercolour paper hanging by string from a recycled garden stake with a second stake hanging below. The text of the poem in blue ink and a painting of two conkers in lower right-hand corner.
An eco-friendly way of displaying a picture

On Trees – A Villanelle

A conker is a great big seed
And yet it was a child’s plaything.
Trees make the oxygen we need.

Cutting down trees is due to greed.
Conkers may swing on lengths of string –
A conker is a great big seed.

Trees produce many sorts of seed
From fertilised flowers in spring.
Trees make the oxygen we need.

Trees mature at a slower speed
Than you and I and our offspring.
(A conker is a great big seed.)

To all the trees we must pay heed.
(To a strong branch attach a swing!)
Trees make the oxygen we need.

Respect for trees is what I plead;
Oneness with nature’s the best thing.
A conker is a great big seed.
Trees make the oxygen we need.

© Susan Sanderson 27 July 2021