Some years are more prolific than others. 2017 wasn't necessarily one of them (at least, words-wise; plenty of travel, memories, changes, highs and lows were certainly had).
But tis the season for a few favourite essays from the last year, in no particular order:
Abortion, the Citizens Assembly and the Power of Listening for VOX Magazine (which has some very recent, very heated comments, which indicates we are getting very close to an abortion referendum in Ireland).
And a related piece for Religion News Service, and my first-time reporting on religion in Ireland for a news outlet: As Catholic influence in Ireland wanes, some hope abortion will be legalized.
And a personal essay on running away, aided and abetted by my policeman father: The Smallest Bite of the Straightest Road.
After a fallow summer, I had a difficult time holding to a regular schedule for my VOX column, but the ones I did get round to are close to the heart, especially No Memories are Contraband.
And finally, more essays and edits for Velvet Ashes than I can count, but I think the last one will remain my favourite: Lay Down Your Arms.
All of this year's work (among others) can be found here.
When I think of where I want to be this time next year, I have only a vague formation of a few open-ended ideas. I’d love to add some new publications to my portfolio, to work on a long-form piece I’ve got brewing (and which feels particularly harrowing), and to dig deeper locally, listening and amplifying the stories of others. I want to be more myself; free, bold and wise. My "one word" for 2018 is yet to be determined...
In the meantime, this year in writing and other freelance work was made possible by the letters V, H, P and F... VOX and Velvet Ashes, who let me write and/or design for them when and how I want; Help-Portrait, which let me blog and edit their social media presence this year; and Full Cycle Marketing, which allowed me to fully enter the contract copywriting game.
It’s gratifying to see the side hustle grow and doors open. Exhausting, too. (I should probably add "time management" to my quickly-growing 2018 to-do list.)
And, as always, thank you for reading, commenting and sharing, clicking a like here or there, or touching my arm in the aisle at church (or school or coffeeshop) to let me know something I wrote touched you in some way. I'm so grateful for the voices, stories and cultures that gather through all these online spaces.
I'm a better writer and woman for them.