by Melissa Yuan-Innes
For a long time, I didn’t pay attention to the New Year. My parents didn’t really celebrate. And it’s not because of our Asian background; the Lunar New Year hardly made a splash either. My parents loved to work and eat and work some more. Another circle around the sun didn’t register on them overmuch.
When I got older, I felt the pressure of New Year’s Eve. Go out! Party! Wear pretty shoes that hurt your feet! Pay $20 for drinks! Mandatory fun!
As a writer, I now appreciate new beginnings that I create for myself.
They may be tied to the new year. They don’t have to be, but it feels good to stay in tune with my family and my community. And who doesn’t need a hard reset during a pandemic?
I started my writing new year in November, with NaNoWriMo. I’d started procrastinating with my writing, struggling to get my words out, sometimes wasting all day before I got around to my 1,000 words a day (or 500 if I’m working as a physician). I kind of hated myself for my slothful ways, but I wouldn’t get my work done efficiently.
With NaNoWriMo, bang! I could aim for 50,000 words in a month while we urged each other on, from around the world. I needed a mental rejiggering, and I got it. Now I’m back to writing early and then enjoying the rest of my day.
Don’t feel bad if writing (or reading) is hard. First of all, it’s a challenging thing to do. And secondly, many good people I know have felt blocked, scared, and/or overwhelmed at least once during this global crisis.
I write to you on New Year’s Eve. Yesterday I worked in the ER. Tomorrow I start on the inpatient unit. But today is a slice of time to enjoy and begin anew.
Today, I worked on the first thriller in my new, upcoming series about Dr. Hope Sze and the seven deadly sins. The first book is about wrath. You can catch up with Hope Sze at any point in the previous series of nine books. These are each stand-alone novels, but if you start at the beginning you can see Hope’s progress as both a physician and a crime solver.
Also this morning, I was lucky enough to interview The Yoga MD, Dr. Shailla Vaidy, a physician who offers group counseling, among many other splendid things, and I made a new friend as we spoke.
Then I threw a football and basketball outside with my kids while one dog barked and the other chewed on a bone, and my husband worked in the barn.
Tonight, we’ll have our Movie Night. My kids want to stay up ‘til midnight and plan to drink cola to help caffeinate their way to the end. I may or may not stay up with them because I’ve got to work at 0800.
On the other hand, how long will I have them home and hanging out with me on New Year’s Eve? So I’ll nap now to make sure we have that secret time.
I wish you a happy, healthy new year. I wish you new friends and old friends. I wish you a caring family, food on your plates, a roof over your head, fresh air, clean water, yummy food, and delicious books to read and write.
Melissa Yi, also known as Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes, studied emergency medicine at McGill University in Montreal. She was so shocked by the patients crammed into the waiting area, and the examining rooms without running water, that she began to contemplate murder. And so she created Dr. Hope Sze, the resident who could save lives and fight crime. She appeared on CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning and recently had so many print interviews that an addiction services counsellor said, “I see you in the newspaper more often than I see you in the emergency room.” In addition to her popular Hope Sze series, Melissa also writes nonfiction about being a physician, and children’s and middle-grade books for ages ranging from kindergarten through middle-school. Learn more about her at her website.