I had a sobering experience this New Year’s. By “sobering,” I don’t mean a hangover. My experience consisted of meeting my 12-year-old self. Via a diary, that is. I came across it and discovered that the young girl I used to be decades ago had written her first list of New Year Resolutions. They consisted of such vital vows as to lose weight, stop biting her nails, clean up her messy room, and so on. What’s sobering is the realization that I’ve  been basically making the same resolutions for decades since. I also discovered several diary pages later that those pre-adolescent promises were already D.O.A. My subsequent vows have lasted an average of two weeks.

I’m hardly unique since the majority of people are the same fallible vowers. So why do we bother to make resolutions again and again? Maybe it’s because we can’t resist the illusion that in a new year we’ll be thinner, more organized, better disciplined, what not. I even invest in a new address book each year, in the futile hope that this time no names will have to be deleted.

I’ve  had a lifelong fantasy that when I wake up each January 1st the world and I will seem different. I’ll actually stay on my diet, make overdue phone calls, be cheerful instead  of grouchy in the A.M., not lose my temper (it’s on permanent Lost and Found) .

I’m looking for a miracle marker for transformation. But the undeniable truth is that January 1st isn’t a year later, but just a day later than – in this case – 2013. (I write those numerals as if saying goodbye to them.) Those of us who also have a New Year on the religious calendar have a second shot at this. I even feel my birthday  is a kind of starting line.

Yet, unlike fiction, our lives don’t divide into neat chapters. In my books I’ve  always started each chapter on a fresh page. But I  find myself doing something different with the novel I’m now working on.  Instead of a new page for each chapter, I’m continuing my heroine’s story, divided only by triple spacing and asterisks.  This may indicate  a subterranean shift within myself,  an acknowledgment that this year still in its infancy is really just a continuation of the old.

This doesn’t  mean we can’t rewrite it, day by day.  But for the first time  I did not make resolutions to do this. Oddly, I feel handicapped without them,  so I’m making a few belated ones that are very different from the ones I made in the past. For a small example, I am not promising to stay 100% on my diet. I do promise that when I indulge I’ll  allow myself to enjoy it, not wallow in guilt.

On a larger note, I vow to honor whatever talent I’ve been blessed with. Not squander  it in time-killing activities or energy-wasting emotions like anger and hate and fear, all those gremlins that take up space in my head — rent free! I do believe that each of us has a talent of one kind or another, and that it’s a sin to waste it. (I hope next January I won’t be writing a blog about how I forgot this!)

May we each make whatever changes are possible – and forgive ourselves  if we don’t.

WEBSITE :www.annehosansky.com

BOOKS: “WIDOW’S WALK,” available through iUniverse.com; “TURNING TOWARD TOMORROW” -xLibnris.com;  “TEN WOMEN OF VALOR ” – CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com. Also Amazon Kindle.


Recently I introduced readers to Beryl Belsky, a writer and editor who for the past two years has generously used her website to publish the works of unknown writers around the world. The multicultural website is titled, “The Writer’s Drawer,” because it elicits stories and poems that many writers hide in a desk drawer, either out of shyness or discouragement .

Belsky , who lives near Tel Aviv, has now taken her website a global step forward. She painstakingly compiled countless submissions and chose the best to publish in an anthology : “A Certain Kind of Freedom Stories and Poems From the Writer’s Drawer.” Contributors hail from varied parts of the planet – Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. Contributors range in age from their eighties down to a 10-year-old American girl, Paige Lederman, who wrote a poem about experiencing Hurricane Sandy.

As is true in many collections, the short stories, personal essays and poems (the three sections of the book) vary in quality. Among the more successful is South African writer Leandre Grobler’s tragic story about an elderly Aboriginal couple. In the essay section, I applaud the true story of a woman trying to get on a boat heading to Canada, to join her husband. Just before boarding she’s forbidden passage because she’s in the late stage of pregnancy. She’s despondent about this, unaware that being kept off the boat probably saved her life and that of her baby – for the boat was the Titanic! British author Carrie King, who wrote the essay, is the woman’s granddaughter.

I’m proud to say the anthology includes my story, “The Maroon Sweater.” However, my pride is darkened by the realization that this story, supposedly representative of American culture, is about a shameful and too-familiar scene in our nation: a school shooting.

I’m writing these words on the anniversary of Sandy Hook, where 20 heartbreakingly young children and six courageous staffers were murdered in their school by an emotionally disturbed man who had no difficulty getting hold of guns. It’s American irony that this anniversary has been marked by another school shooting. (There have been nearly 13,000 deaths and injuries from guns since the Sandy Hook horror.)

My fictitious story about a school massacre tells of a teenage girl who survived. But, as she says, “What does survivor mean?” The story’s meant to show the lasting trauma even for those who “escaped” — for there’s really no escaping the devastating memories.

Is it too much to hope that my story might inspire a few more people to work for gun control? That would be a reward beyond any byline.

(The anthology can be ordered from Amazon.com or CreateSpace.com.)

Website: www. annehosansky.com

Books: “Widow’s Walk” – available through iUniverse.com; “Turning Toward Tomorrow” -xLibris.com; “Ten Women of Valor” -CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com. Also Amazon Kindle.