Steel Rails

I’ve been spending a lot of time on trains lately. A lot. Might-as-well-just-install-a-bed level time. And I can work on trains a bit, but it’s admittedly a touch difficult to concentrate when the four-year old in the seat behind you is playing some kind of piano simulator on a tablet at high volume, and their dad is catching up on the football on his phone at equally high volume. So mostly I look out of the window when I can.

(Don’t judge me: that particular journey started at 6.30am with 4 hours sleep, 3 changes and the joy of paying £3.50 for a cup of tea when I finally cracked and decided that if I didn’t have one Something Bad was likely to happen. I was a joy that morning.)

But – noise and, you know, humans, aside – I quite like trains. I like being able to watch the world slide past the windows; because it always feels like it’s the world passing by rather than you passing through. Maybe it’s something to do with the size and the shape of the windows, which make everything outside feel like a projection simply being wheeled past you. I always get the feeling that if you were to open the window and pick up the corner of the view, you’d find an old-style cinema projectionist back there, turning a handle and watching for the cigarette burns to mark the reel switch.

Trees. Forests. Fields. Hills. Rivers. Tunnels.

Houses, back gardens. Kitchen windows.

Someone, years ago – it might have been Billy Connolly, it might have been someone else – said in an interview that they loved taking the train: people shield their lives from the road with blinds or net curtains in the windows… but they don’t bother to hide it from the railway. And ever since then, I’ve looked.

Football goals. Paddling pools. Terraces festooned with bunting and fairy lights.

Sidings with elaborate swags of carved greenery, half-buried in renegade ivy and Japanese knotweed. So many blackberries on tangles of brambles that the leaves have turned purple from the juice. Butterflies dancing around a bush.

Mist and swathes of drifting drizzle. Slices of sunlight across the fields so thick you could pick them up in your fist and watch the light pour out between your fingers. Sheep: little clouds fallen to earth. Cows like… well, like cows, really.

People running. People walking dogs, riding horses. Children. Dads playing football with their kids; mums scooping babies out of pushchairs… and dads scooping babies out of pushchairs and mums playing football with their kids.

Life. Sunsets and sunrises and everything that falls between the two. Moons and mist and dusk and dawn. Houses and mountains, cities and forests and farms.

There for the blink of an eye and then gone. All those lives. All those individual little worlds within one big wide world.

All sliding by on the steel rails.

And when we get to my stop and I shuffle out, down along the platform, the train pulls out alongside me… and as it does, a man in the window of one of the carriages catches my eye. Because he’s doing the same thing: watching all those worlds slip by.

And then he’s gone. And so is the train.

What a thing.

Still. £3.50 for a cup of tea. Pffft.

Bath Children’s Literature Festival 2015

Time’s a-wasting, so a quick shout about this year’s Bath Children’s Literature Festival. As usual, you’ll most likely be able to spot me zipping about the place (I’m going to a LOT of the talks this year, because there’s some absolute corkers on the programme) but this time I’m also taking part – and I’m very, very excited about the event I’m involved in.

On the second Saturday of the festival, I’ll be chatting to monster rockstars Charlie Higson and Darren Shan about their respective zombie series, The Enemy and Zom-B. We’ll be talking about zombies in particular, horror in general, reading, writing, books, apocalypses (apocalypsii?) – and I’ll be quizzing them on the body count they’ve amassed over the course of their stories.

It’s going to be a lot of fun, and both Charlie and Darren are brilliant authors. If you’re in the area, come along! There will also be a signing with all three of us after the panel, and we’ll be having a Q&A at the end of the session, so if you have any burning questions you NEED them to answer, now’s your chance.

If you’re not able to make it, but there’s something you’ve always wanted to know about either series – or author (or even me!) – then tweet your question to me (@LouMorgan) by Friday 2nd October and I’ll do my best to get it in…



The Candle and the Lighthouse

When the lights go out, you don’t always see it.

It’s not like being at the theatre, where the house lights zip down and the stage lights go up; where there’s always someone front of house with a torch to guide you if you need it. And it’s not like drawing a blind against the glare of the midday sun: a gentle shade against unbearable brightness.

Sometimes – when the lights go out – you don’t even know it’s happening until the darkness is so complete that you can’t tell whether your eyes are open or shut. Sometimes, they dim, a single lumen at a time.

Things that were bright and sparkling… they become that little duller, that little bit less shiny – as though a mist is settling between you and them. Polished glasses on a shelf. Stars. Moving water under moonlight. Wits.

What glittered becomes grey.

That’s when you see it. If you’re lucky.

That’s when you need a candle. And that really is all you need. One, single candle – however small. Because in the dark, a candle is a lighthouse. A candle casts shadows – and believe it or not, shadows will give you hope… because for there to be shadows, there have to be edges. There have to be ends. There have to be places where the shadows aren’t.

A candle is all it takes to remind you that the shadows end.

A candle can be your lighthouse, guiding you home. It doesn’t need to be big. It doesn’t need to be bright. It just needs to be alight.

Depression, if you’ve ever tangled with it, is like that. It creeps or it roars – you can never tell which it’ll be. It overwhelms you like a wave… or it sneaks up on you like a changing tide and you don’t see it until it’s up to your neck.

It’s the darkness that sidles into your life and snuffs out every lamp you lit around yourself as it goes. And although I’ve been taught to see it coming, sometimes – just every now and again – the darkness is too fast and too deep and it is a thing with teeth and scales that whispers from the shadows and locks the door behind it when it comes in.

I think, this time, I may have been sitting in the dark for a while. I’m not sure: I can’t remember when the lights started going out. All I know is that somehow, sometime, they did.


And somewhere in the darkness, I put my hand down and I felt the scales and I felt the teeth… and then, a box of matches.

A candle.

A lighthouse.

And that’s all I need.

The Coming Storm

I’ve got a few festival appearances coming up over the next couple of months, as well as a couple of other bits and pieces, so it’s probably time for a quick update. (I’ll put relevant dates on the “Events” page too.)

YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) 2015

Friday 17th July, 2.30 – 3.15.

I’ll be appearing on the “Thrills & Chills: Writing Horror” panel with Will Hill, Darren Shan, Dawn Kurtagich and Matt Whyman, discussing why we love horror, why we write it and why it’ll always be popular. This will be followed up by a signing.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Tuesday 25th August, 7.00 – 8.00

I’m hugely excited about this, as it’s the first year I’ll be at Edinburgh. Join myself and Kevin Brooks to talk about the darker side of the subjects that can crop up in contemporary YA: boredom, destruction, stress and fear.

The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival

Saturday 3rd October, 6.30 – 7.30

This feels very like my “home” festival: I’ve been going to the Bath Children’s Litfest for a couple of years now, and it always feels special. This time, however, I’ll be on the stage as well as in the audience, in conversation with YA horror superstars Charlie Higson and Darren Shan as we look at the enduring appeal of zombies and how they’ve brought a fresh spin to everybody’s favourite shambling flesh-eaters in their new books.

YA Shot

Wednesday 28th October

YA Shot is a one-day festival of YA & MG literature organised by author Alexia Casale, Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstones Uxbridge. Details TBC.


On the writing front, I’m delighted to have a story in the forthcoming “Legends 2: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell” anthology, alongside fantastic authors like John Gwynne, Rowena Cory Daniels and Mark Lawrence. (A paperback and a limited-edition signed copy are available from Spacewitch Books).

I don’t venture into the epic and heroic very often, so this is a new sphere for me. However, I’m a big fan of the Gemmell Awards and the work they do, and I was delighted to be asked to contribute and to be able to support them. My story, “Oak”, is set just after the Norman invasion and coronation of William I, and both something completely new and very old: it was inspired by some of the legends of a very well-known (perhaps the most well-known) sorcerer from the area where I grew up. No pointy hats, I promise.


When I Grow Up

I was watching an interview on YouTube a few days ago; an interview with an actor who is my age. There might be a year or so in his favour, but put it this way: we’d have been in close enough classes at school to have known each other.

He was – as many actors I know are wont to be – very serious about his work, his profession. His craft. Passionate about it, believing in it, expecting others to take it equally seriously.

A cog started to turn somewhere in my head.

Yesterday, my son’s drum tutor rolled out that phrase we tell children to make them keep going when they don’t want to. Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. Work hard. You want something? Be prepared to do what it takes to get it, to give what it takes. It won’t fall into your lap. Earn it. A cog clicked into another cog, starting that one turning too.

On Twitter, Joanne Harris talked about the difference between “author” and “writer”, saying that for a long time she felt uncomfortable calling herself an author – and I understood exactly what she meant. Authors are people who are serious about their work, their profession. Their craft. They are passionate about it, believing in it, expecting others to take it equally seriously.

A whole chain of cogs, spinning and spinning and spinning like they’re never going to stop.

“What do you do?” I get asked from time to time, often by parents at school.

“I’m a writer.”

“What do you write?”

And I make myself small.

I make myself insignificant.

I talk about how lucky I am. I talk about how it was always my dream, and how much I love it.

Because I am. And it was. And I do.

But I don’t talk about the other part of it. I don’t talk about the nights staring at the ceiling in wide-eyed terror while my husband sleeps: the small, dead hours when I wonder whether someone will find me out, will realise I’m making it all up as I go – when they will see that there’s no genius here, no gift. There’s just bloody-minded determination and will.

I don’t talk about the cold sweat of wondering what comes next. I don’t talk about the frustration of being able to see an idea, hold it glittering in my mind; perfect and whole and right… only to see it mangled by my own hand, crushed under the weight of letters and full-stops.

I don’t talk about the typing. The hours staring at a screen until I could cry. The hours typing until the pain in my arms actually does make me cry – the RSI a lingering leaving-present from a job I left long ago, and which no amount of physio or different chairs or keyboards or splints can shift.

I don’t talk about the fear that comes with knowing you’ve chiselled off a piece of yourself for people to judge.

I don’t talk about the number of times I’ve re-read my own words, wondering what on earth I was thinking when I wrote that… and then making it better, only to repeat the process a few weeks later. And again, and again until I’m sick of the words, sick of the world, sick of myself. Sick of thinking I could ever do this.

It is a craft. I’ve had to learn it – and I’ve had to learn it the hard way, in public.

No, it isn’t working down a mine or in a foundry. But it is work.

It is a profession. This is what I do. It’s the only thing, really, I know how to do. I’ve had other jobs, office jobs, non-office jobs, “proper” jobs. I hated them all. But this? This, I love. I love it so hard that it burns and sometimes I wonder whether it will consume me.

I wonder, sometimes, when I’ve spent all those hours staring at a screen and the words make no sense any more, whether it already has.

I don’t talk about the work.

I make myself small.

I make myself insignificant.

Do no harm, don’t get ideas above your station.

You aren’t an author, you’re just a writer.

Watching him on the screen in his suit… and there, just for a second. He moves his leg and you can see he’s wearing stripy socks. Those aren’t the socks of a serious, sensible man in his mid-thirties who has it all handled.

He’s just like me.

He doesn’t talk about the work, either.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t being done.

He is an actor.

And I suppose, with all my wildly spinning cogs, and my ninety-nine desperate percent, it’s time I was an author.

Lou’s Big Weekend, part 2: the Bath Half

I’ve already talked about the first part of my weekend (the launch of the Bath LitFest and the UKYA Extravaganza) in this post. But the second part needed a post to itself, because this is the big one. This is The One Where Lou Runs A Half Marathon.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been as nervous as I was in the starting pen. I got chatting to a couple of people around me, some of whom had done this before and some of whom hadn’t – and then, suddenly, forty minutes had gone by and they were counting down to the start.

And that was it. There was no going back.

Photo: Caroline Ambrose

Photo: Caroline Ambrose

I’m in that photo somewhere, having come from all the way at the back, round the corner to the right. And we’ve not even got past the start gantry yet…

The sound is the thing I’ll probably remember the longest. The first mile is a downhill straight, and as far as you can see, there’s nothing but people running. But the sound. Thousands and thousands of feet, all hitting the ground slightly out of step. Imagine standing under a tin roof in the middle of a rubber hailstorm and you’ll probably not quite get it, but close enough. It was utterly, utterly overwhelming.


FullSizeRender 2

Mile 1. Off we go.

Mile 2. Right. Bed in. Pace. Feet. Don’t fall over. Four soldiers are running in their uniform, carrying a stretcher with a dummy on it for Help For Heroes. They get a huge cheer.

Mile 3. Ooh. This is actually happening. Huh.

Midway between Miles 3 & 4,  we get lapped by the front runner. Everyone cheers as he goes by. He’s already gone.

Mile 4. I wish I was dead. Maybe I am dead. Maybe this is hell. Maybe this is what hell is. This, forever.

Mile 5. The Lucozade station isn’t far. I didn’t train with Lucozade. It’ll make me feel sick, especially after using one of my energy gels and shoving a handful of Jelly Babies from a cheering station down my throat. I’m not taking a Lucozade.

Mile 6. I have drunk an entire bottle of Lucozade. I feel sick. And have so much sugar zipping round my system that I’m probably not far off seeing double. I’m also beginning to seriously doubt I can do this.

Just at the point I’m about to cry, I spot the 10k checkpoint. It’s a big archway straddling the first lap lane with a clock. Astonishingly, I seem to have reached it at the time I’d expected I would (give or take). I’m not the slowest person on the road. I’m faster than I assumed I was – I’d had visions of being the very, very last person out there. And I remember that just after 6 miles is the point I had always, always found the mythical “wall” when I was training. Maybe I can do this after all.

I get overtaken by a guy in a massive rhino costume.

Mile 7. I actually manage to have a conversation, running uphill into Queen Square, with a woman wearing cat ears. I still wish I was dead, but I’m over halfway. This is practically the home straight.

Mile 8. I am not going to cry. I am not going to cry. I am not going to cry.

Mile 9. All the kids on the route hold out their hands for runners to high-five. It helps. A lot. I run up to one of the guys at a cheering station who has a bowl of jelly babies. “JELLY BABY ME!” He laughs and pats my shoulder as I grab a handful on the way past. One of them is liquorice flavour. I feel this a cruel and unusual punishment. No wonder he was laughing. DAMN HIM. I also give up on trying to run without music. It’s rubbish. And boring. I switch on my iPod (only using one earphone, because on a lapped road race, it’s essential to be able to hear marshals). The first song that comes on is Frank Turner’s The Road.

This is not only a song I love, it’s hugely appropriate. It’s a sign. I’m NOT GOING TO DIE. I might even – shockingly – manage this. I spend so much of the next few minutes mouthing along to it that I don’t even realise that’s another mile down.

Mile 10. I can definitely do this. Really. Where’s that bloody Lucozade station? Sugar me up. I don’t care if I have to jitter my way back, I’m finishing.

Mile 11. Everyone slows to a walk. Including me. Nobody wants to walk across the finish line, and there’s still 2 miles-and-change to go. People on the pavement cheer – and nobody cheers harder than they do for the pair in hi-vis vests who go past, each holding on to one end of a short rope. The vest of the runner on the left reads: “Guide Runner”. The vest of the runner on the right reads: “Blind runner”. Everybody applauds.

Mile 12. We’re all starting to run again. There are people everywhere, cheering. I’m starting to overtake runners around me who are flagging or who are saving their energy for a big finish. I fall into step just behind a woman running for Water Aid, dressed as a tap. “GO ON, TAP! RUN FASTER! GET IT? RUN FASTER?” I wonder how many times she’s heard that already.

Runners who have already finished are starting to appear in the crowds, wrapped in foil blankets. They wave and shout. People are already yelling “Well done!” at the runners.

The last half mile is hard. Not because I’m tired – I am, but I know I’ll finish. It’s hard because I’m tired and tearful and people keep shouting “You’re nearly there!” at the runners. They are amazing. The back of my leg starts feeling tight, so I slow to a walk for a minute. Two guys standing on the pavement yell at me to keep going, that I’m so close to the end. I am. I’m nearly there.

A cycle marshal directs the runners around an ambulance. It’s the only casualty I’ve seen, but there have been others.

The tap has vanished into the distance.

I tell my feet that they’re going to run and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Mile 13. There it is. I can crawl it from here. I run round the corner into Great Pulteney Street, and I am absolutely convinced they’ve moved the gantry. I’m sure it was much, much nearer the top of the street when I went under it at the start. What’s it doing all the way down there? I can’t decide whether I’m going to be sick or cry. Or both. Simultaneously.

And then… there it is. I’m over the mats and under the gantry and now I’m definitely going to cry.

But I don’t. Somehow. Instead, I join the slightly dazed shuffle through the runners’ village to collect medals, blankets, finishers’ shirts and get the timing chips removed from shoes. And find my family.

My cheeks feel gritty. It’s salt from my sweat, all dried on my skin. I feel weirdly proud. (I think I may be on the verge of hysteria.)

I have never needed a shower so badly.

But I just ran a half marathon… and I wasn’t last. I was – in fact – 10,517th, with a chip time of 2h37 and a gun time of 2h43. And I’m OK with that. Because I made it.




Lou’s Big Weekend: part 1

That was a weekend. It’s Tuesday, and I’m still not quite sure I’ve got over it yet. I’m not sure I’ll ever be over it, if I’m honest.

It began on Friday evening, with the launch of this year’s Bath Literature Festival – its 20th anniversary, which is quite something.

BathLitFest launch

I love the LitFest – partly because of the variety of events (and I usually go to a load: it’s 8 this year, including the now sold-out “How to Win a Novel Award” panel, featuring my agent Juliet Mushens and friend – and founder of the Bath Novel Award – Caroline Ambrose) and partly because for a week, an already bookish city like Bath fills with books, talk about books, posters for books and people who love books.

Saturday was a trip to Birmingham to join in with the UKYA Extravaganza. Held on the top floor of the High Street Waterstones, it was a lively, warm, welcoming event full of chatter and (obviously) more books. Writers and bloggers and readers all wandered around talking and eating cake. Lots of cake.


It also meant I got to meet people I’ve only spoken to online so far – which I think was probably true for most of us there. The wonderful thing about #UKYA as I’ve found it (being a relative newcomer to YA) is the sense of community online… but when you get to meet people in person, it’s even better.


Robin Stevens, whose books you must buy IMMEDIATELY.

I left with a book list the length of my arm, as well as a couple of books I’d managed to buy before the shop sold out of stock – as it did in many cases. I particularly enjoyed being able to exchange book recommendations, too: the best thing about reading a book is being to share your love for it.

Anna McKerrow in conversation. Just out of shot: her incredible bag.

Anna McKerrow in conversation. Just out of shot: her incredible bag.

As well as general mingling, there was also a chance to ask the authors questions in very quick panel sessions. These took a bit of juggling round to fit into the space and time, but what we got in the end was relaxed and fun – completely in line with the spirit of the afternoon.


I had a tremendous time, and I hope we’ll see many more events like this.

And then it was Sunday. And that, I’ll talk about in Part 2

On running after Aaron Eckhart

In one week’s time (one week, what in dear god was I thinking?!) I’ll be – hopefully – finishing my first proper half marathon, the Bath Half. Or the Bathalf, as it also seems to be called, and which just makes my eyes hurt.

A very, very long time ago, I took part in the Moonwalk in central London. That was also a half marathon, but walked, in aid of breast cancer charities. Around the streets of London. At night. Wearing decorated bras. I tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve trotted through Trafalgar Square at 2am wearing running gear, a race number and a bra with feathers on it. I will never forget the group of drunk Spanish students who asked a passing tramp whether they were seeing things.

All in all, that was probably about a decade ago. I am significantly creakier now. I am significantly lazier now, too.

This also requires at least a token nod to that most foreign of concepts: running.

The training process has been… enlightening.

trainers 2

The first few “runs” (we’ll call them that, shall we? Just because I don’t know what the hell else to call them. Upright crawling?) were horrible. Genuinely horrible. Everything hurt, all the time. I got such hideous blisters at the backs of my heels that when I took my socks off afterwards, they were stained red.

September. October. November. Twice a week. In the cold, in the rain. With the shin splints. Almost falling in the canal I was running alongside – repeatedly. Getting chased by a swan (note: this will make you run faster).

December. Fully expecting to down tools and not go anywhere near my trainers until after New Year… and then suddenly finding myself plodding along the riverbank on the day before Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, dodging iced-over puddles and feeling like there must be frost forming on the inside of my lungs. Resolving to buy a pair of running gloves immediately. Slowing to look at stands of frozen white weeds and river reeds glittering in the early morning sun.

January. Suddenly realising that my head would give out before my body. 5k – unthinkable just a month or two ago – suddenly became the shortest run I was happy with. 10k was no longer a mythical beast.

February. Running out of road. Having to make not just one lap of my usual run, but two in order to get to 11 miles. Covering 11 miles and not crying (much).


And before I know it, it’s a week away – and here I am with what I’m told is “a congested Achilles tendon”. I didn’t even know that was a thing. Sinuses get congested. The road down to Bath from the M4 when there’s a match on at the Rec. Tube station platforms.

Stretches and a foam roller, and wondering where the last five months have gone.

It’s hurt. It’s been cold. It’s been frustrating. I’m terrified I’ll break, or I’ll fade or I’ll somehow fail.

I’m not a runner. Not even close. I’m hoping to make it round the course with a mix of jogging, lumbering, walking, crawling, limping and weeping. I’m not chasing a personal best.

My good friend Kim Curran sent me this yesterday, presumably to focus my mind.


And it did focus my mind, very intently.

Then I realised I was meant to be thinking about running, which was somewhat disappointing. Still.

What will I be chasing in a week’s time?

I’ll be chasing a choice I made: to change, to do something that scared me. Not to sit in my house. To be open. To fill life with things. Big things, small things.

I’ll be chasing five months of rain and blisters and shards of sunshine on a canal; of frost shining on leaves. Conkers and leaves falling and smoke from the chimneys of houseboats I’ve run past. Sweat and shin splints and the feeling of stepping into a hot shower after it all.

I’ll be chasing the perfect moment when it doesn’t hurt, and when my head clears and I find a rhythm – however short that moment is. Because I realised that in a lot of ways, running (or trying to run, at least) is a lot like living. Both of them will knacker your knees, sooner or later.

I’ll be chasing the knowledge that I’m also raising money for Kids Company, whose centres in London and Bristol do amazing, worthwhile work. Should you be in a generous mood and want to chip in with sponsorship as some of my lovely, lovely friends have already done, you’ll find my sponsorship page here.

And yes, I’ll probably be chasing the imaginary back of Aaron Eckhart around the next corner. Because I may be closer to becoming a runner now than I was five months ago, but underneath the passing acquaintance with stretches and compression leggings and carbohydrate gels, I’m just as shallow as ever.

after 5 mile run

Just a bit sweatier.

UKYA Extravaganza

ukya extravaganza

I’m delighted to be part of the UKYA Extravaganza event taking place from 2pm on Saturday 28th February at Birmingham High Street Waterstones.

It’s going to be a hugely fun afternoon full of readings and general hanging out, talking about everything good in YA. I think one of the reasons I’m so excited about it is that I’m a relative newbie to the UKYA community (as a writer, at least) but the welcome I’ve found there has been absolutely wonderful. And it does have a real community feel to it – writers and readers and reviewers all together, talking about the books they love. There’s a huge amount of passion there, and every time I get involved in a conversation about this stuff, I come out of it with a huge stack of recommendations to read.

The event is ticketed – and, as far as I know, has already sold out. If you’ve got your ticket, then I’ll see you there: come and say hi!

The Memory Jar

I’ll keep this brief, because I imagine that by now you have seen enough “end of year” posts to last you until… well, next year. But I can’t let the end of a year slide past without mention (and let’s gloss over how I’ve basically let the last two months go without comment, shall we?).

It’s been an interesting year, both for good and for less-good. I learned some things: some have made my life better, some… let’s just say I wish learning them hadn’t been as painful as it was. But you can’t ask for joy without accepting a little sadness, and that was what I really hoped for this year. I dreamed of bonfires and magic and stars and joy – and by and large, that’s what I found.

jar of happy memories

On New Year’s Day, I sat this jam jar on the windowsill in our kitchen. It was empty, except for a bright green post-it note inside explaining that this was the “Good Things Jar”, reminding me to write the things that made me happy over the year on slips of paper and drop them in, to be read on New Year’s Eve. Looking at it now, I’m not sure I could fit many more in. I remember some of them anyway – the big things that you don’t forget – but the rest are a question, waiting to be answered tonight when I unfold the pieces of paper.

What would a “Bad Things” jar have looked like, I wonder? Would it have been as full? Maybe. Maybe not. The point is, I don’t care. Happiness can come from the smallest places as well as the bigger ones. We find joy where we look for it – and that’s what I wanted to do. To look. To notice. Not to simply pass it by. And as the year dies, to remember.

When I get up tomorrow morning, there will be a jam jar sitting on the kitchen windowsill. Empty of paper, but full of promise. Because that’s what New Year is all about.

I usually end each year with a song (not mine, don’t panic), and I thought I had this year’s one all picked out. I did, in fact, right until I sat down at my computer to type… and then it changed. Because suddenly, I can’t think of any better way to wind up the year than with this.

So may your New Year be full of hope, and may everything that follows be all that you could ever dream. And when New Year’s Eve rolls around again, may your jam jars be overflowing.