Hello, everyone.

It seems that Apprentice Wordsmith will have two annual traditions – a summer deep dive and an end-of-the-year reflection letter. No analysis or rants this month, folks, but there’s still an idea to steal and a short story in the pipeline, so this isn’t the last you’ll hear of me this year.

If you’ve been following all year, you might remember my plans to move this blog onto a new platform. Unfortunately, the money didn’t work out in 2019 either. My day job has improved, even from where I was a year ago, but that improvement didn’t translate into as many extra dollars as I had hoped. The move is still something I’m working toward, and I’ll update you as it comes closer to reality.

Though I had to keep the blog on the back burner this year, I’m still proud of what I published. I finally wrote several posts that had been ideas back when the blog began in 2015 – “Writing the Middle”, the Dealer series, and the manifesto I published last January. I’m also proud that I published longer pieces in the Friday Flash slot, including a couple of unexpectedly long stories like “Teardrop” and “Crossing the Divide”. I’m working on a couple of stories for 2020 that are shaping up to be a similar length. Maybe I should start using the name “Friday Fiction” more often.

Speaking of Friday Fiction, this month’s piece has a backstory. My grandmother is hosting a Christmas party for her neighborhood friends this year. Like most holiday parties, they’re also doing a White Elephant type of gift exchange. My grandmother heard of a gift exchange game through the grapevine that she wants to try out. The guests claim a gift then sit in a circle while the host tells a story. As the host says “left” and “right”, the guests pass the gift in their hands to the person on their left or right accordingly. When the story ends, the guests unwrap and get to keep the gift in their possession.

My grandmother isn’t confident in her ability to make up a story on the fly, so she asked me to help her write a story that she could just read aloud at the party. So after Thanksgiving dinner, I sat at her table with scrap paper, pen, and my virtual dice to turn my grandmother’s premise into a fleshed-out story. The end result is the Friday Fiction I’ll be publishing next week. I need to thank my sister and grandfather for contributing names and minor details.

Thank you to all of my readers. You’re the reason I keep updating this blog every week. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Here’s to a prosperous new decade.

I’d love to hear how 2019 was for you. What did you write this year that you are the most proud of? What didn’t turn out as well as you hoped? What are your goals for 2020?