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Happy New Year! 2022 has the possibly of being better than last year purely by default, but I hope we take the reins and do our best to make it more positive and affirming with the things that we can control. Ourselves and our reactions. That's the list.

As you read this post, I am jumping in the Atlantic Ocean (water temp on the island at 8:47 a.m. was 63 F and air temp 66 F) with my awesome family to celebrate a new beginning and to symbolically start a clean slate. This year, it will be more tropical than polar, but they are still suggesting full wetsuits in the surf report.

Either way, I am ready! I hope we get to swim with wild dolphins again...

I am not mad that buttermilk-fried okra and hoppin' John is on the menu afterwards. Yum!

Rather than reflect more on what none of us want, let's talk about dreams + action + goals.

How have you pursued your dreams? What focus are you giving them to make it happen?

Often I hear the phrase "overnight success" and it makes me laugh, because I know different.

There is no thunderclap or magic formula. Rather it is more about the idea that "If you build it they will come." I read a lot. Some books don't make it to the review list, because I run out of time, and I will try harder this year to recognize the hard work of other creatives, as I sincerely hope you will too.

We are in an societal upheaval and also a Renaissance time when story has become a life raft for many of us stuck at home with nowhere to go and heartbreaking news on the daily.

You are made of stardust.

The escapism aspect of books was what drew me to literature in the first place and the reason I always carry them with me like a talisman. It used to be a paperback and now I often clean out my Kindle and fill it to the brim, as boredom and not utilizing your brain is akin to erosion.

Writing every day for years and years can feel like an impossible task and when I don't feel it, I don't.

It can be forced. I know because I've done it. Two master's degrees in a row teaches you how to write no matter what. Catch up days are excruciating and you learn to work through the fire. Passion and emotion on the page is more important now than it's ever been.

Instead of forcing the Muse, how about we flex it instead?

I challenge you to actively support #books, #films #TheArts and #music that make you feel, think about something new or look at life in a new way. Art in its purest essence is about challenging the mainstream and asking what if? Hope is believing in something greater than a speck on a big blue speck of vitreous rock that we all are spinning on.

If you are a writer, I double challenge you to offer others your wisdom, lessons and truth in a way that doesn't preach or choke-hold, but eases open like a fragrant bloom and as it changes you, it changes your reader's perspective as well.

Perhaps commercial viability is the killer of free-thought, creative solutions, depth and imagination? Thinking aloud and I digress.

We have a short time on this planet to leave a message, seek adventure, unveil the mysteries and to experience love.

I hope you discover all of these facets in 2022 that make life so interesting and have a renewed hope that no matter what comes at you this year, you will be stronger and find something that moves you in the direction that you deserve and wish to go.

I am super excited to start my brand-new, pod journal, IDYLL, (watch this space) to talk about getting ready (mentally, creatively and physically) for hiking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and then to share with my listeners what I experience on the mountain during the hike and the photo safaris afterwards planned in Arusha, Serengeti and the Ngorongro crater.

My friends have been so encouraging and amazing as I have slowly gained the courage to share this new challenge. One sent me a pair of hiking boots that I named Grace, after Veronica Cline Barton's unforgettable character in Tangled Webs (which was entered into a contest last-minute on New Year's Eve.) I have hiking poles and a headlamp from another wonderful friend that will help me pole, pole! This is Swahili for one pole in front of the other or take it slow dude.

It isn't about the gear either, it's about the fact that they 100% believe in me and want to see me succeed. The same way I want to see this happen for them.

This is a dynamic community that feels like we can do anything we set our minds to.

I hope you will tune in to IDYLL and tell your friends about it. Asante Sana.

Mount Kilimanjaro is 19,341 feet high. It is one of the seven sacred peaks, the highest mountain in Africa and by some mystics, is considered a sleeping goddess. It is made up of three cones, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira from dormant volcanoes that saddle the countries of Kenya and Tanzania.

The mountain is so massive, it creates its own weather patterns. The peak is covered in ice year round. Because of global warming, the glaciers may completely disappear by the year 2030. Scientists from all over the world are scrambling to slow this process down. I am still trying to learn Swahili, but it's really different than American English...

I have always thought that when traveling to a new place that in attempting to learn language, and customs, you not only get treated better, but it's a sign of respect to others you meet.

Who knows, I might even make a new friend or two?

Two novels are currently in progress, one is ILUVULUCY a #booktofilm project with Tony Bianchi of iOscape Studios. Sign up to be part of the Beta and ARC teams.

The other is a stand-alone dystopian novel I had hoped to finish drafting in Switzerland, but since I did not get the residency this time, I will not only write what I know, but write where I am.

Many thanks to every person who has made space for me as a fellow human, encouraged all year long, read, left feedback and recommended my work. It means more than I can ever express. Thank you!.

We have so much work to do, but with an amazing community and respectful and open dialogues, the future holds promise for the expansion of creativity, mindfulness and real connections.

Thank you to my loyal subscribers The Literati. Please let me know how you are and what's new for you.

Become Literati!

Wishing everyone reading this a peaceful, happy and healthy new year.

Until next time find your Peace, Love, Hustle and then Read or Write. xox -Bibiana

(Watch this space for IDYLL)

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