Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New year, new life

2007 was a hell of a year. I can confidently say the most unforgetable year of my life. I wasn't going to spell everything out in the blog, but hell with it, here we go. You'll understand why there have not been any blog entries lately shortly. Read on.

The first six months were full of hope and promise. Work was looking good, in February I was in New York for the SCBWI Conference and had a very promising reception from American publishers. This was followed by successful workshop tours to Manila in May, and Mongolia in June. Things were cooking. My wife Makiko moved into higher echelons of responsibility within her company, and was entering her stride as a manager. These things alone would have made it a memorable year.

But then my mother in the UK suddenly died in August from food poisoning. Soon after, my darling wife Makiko, my idol, died tragically in November at just 31 years old. Two of the most important women in my life were taken from me in the space of just three months. All I have left now is my 4 year old daughter Seren. After my wife's passing my former in-laws however attempted to abduct Seren, obliging the two of us to suddenly drop everything and leave Japan at short notice in December.

There is much much more on these events I could write about, but not today. The personal nature of the tragedy stays my hand.

The lives of Seren and myself have been irrevocably changed. We're no longer in Japan, my home for the last 21 years, and are instead about to re-settle into the UK. It's a bewildering reverse culture-shock after all this time. I'm now a single parent of a four year old, with no strong connections to this country and a freelance illustration business to somehow re-establish. It's not going to be easy.

And yet I have faith that with the dawn of a new year things will begin to look up for us, it's best to be philosophical about our position. I've always been a fatalist, I can't help but believe that this series of great upheavals were somehow meant to be. Seren and I are now entering a new stage in our lives, with new challenges, but also new opportunities. Despite the uncertainty of our future, our spirits are unbroken. With the support and generosity of wonderful friends and my family we've been able to remain strong. Battered by the seemingly unending series of traumas yes, but we are intact.

I've no idea what 2008 has in store for us, but things will move on for the better. With the new year a certain weight has been lifted. The nightmare of 2007 is over and good riddance. Roll on 2008, year of hope and fresh beginning.