Winter Solstice

I saw a program on cable television last night that took the viewer inside the White House to see the holiday festivities happening this 2009 season. Numerous rooms were dressed in various sorts of seasonal hype: and the theme this year, from the White House to the American public-at-large was Reflect, Rejoice, and Renew. I like that message and thought I might use Reflect to re-visit my 2009.

This year, 2009,  began with a two week trip to Egypt, a country I’d only dared to dream about visiting. We toured the Giza pyramids, visited Aswan, Luxor and Abu Simbel. The highlight for me was the three days spent on the Nile River, cruising past ancient villages, farmers, crops and animals. This was a trip I will never forget.

In early March, we went to Mexico with friends Matt and Carrie. We stayed at the Aventura Spa Palace Resort, and for the entire week we ate, drank and slept like royalty. The all-inclusive resort is south of Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. Gorgeous swimming, bird watching, fun activities. Relaxation. Each room has its own whirlpool tub.

Beginning of April, I visited my college buddy David, in Naples. For his birthday I took him to the Ritz Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for two nights. We had a blast just being silly.

In May, I went to Moab, Utah where I was able to take in the gorgeous outdoor Arches National Park and the rest of the environs. That Saturday, May 9th, I ran the Susan Komen Breast Cancer event in Salt Lake City with my friend and survivor Kim D. I was so proud that she asked me to do the Angel Walk with her after the event.

June and July were busy- Mom and Dad were here, so we toured Wisconsin: visited Madison, took in the American Players Theater in Spring Green. They performed Shakespeare and we were raptured. Went to New Glarus for a beer tour. Visited Lake Geneva during the hottest week of the entire summer- 95 degrees. I also attended my annual college reunion in Troy, New York at the Chateau Lamoreaux. Going on twenty years of get-togethers, the core group rocks on. Great to see all of my favorite people on the planet.

The Redoak Summer Program occupied most of the remainder of my summer. It’s my favorite thing I do all year. Exposure to all ages of writers, and the outdoor locations, activities to spark imagination, and the rest of my cohorts who are amazing. I even attended Laurel Posten’s graduation party! She’s off to a writer’s program at college. Way cool!

End of August, beginning of September found a group of us in Big Sky: Satchi, Dick, Kimberly, Carrie, Shannon and Momma Di. We stayed at Shannon’s family lodge, a phenomenal spot. We hiked, trekked, rode horses, white water kayaked, played tennis and Farkel and drank lots of great wine and beer.

September 12 and 13 we went to St. Louis, Missouri for cousin Lahka and Brian Egbert’s wedding. It was held on a huge estate in St Albans, MO, high atop a mountain, owned by the C.F.O. of A.I.G. A truly magnificent location, but I had to chuckle at the randomness of the location. I wish Lahka and Brian the very best, they are a sweet couple.

My college room-mate, Gregory came to visit in October. He is living in Vail, CO and is a physician’s assistant in a very busy practice.

November 5th at Cafe FIXX there was a public reading, a cross-section of writers from the Redbird- Redoak studio. I was the last of the ten or eleven writers to read, an excerpt from my short story “California Tan.” On November 12, my writing partner, Carol and I went to Boswell Books to hear Lorrie Moore read from her new novel. I’ve skimmed through it, but haven’t read it yet. She was impressive in person.

Thanksgiving was in Richmond, Virginia at Nik and Theresa’s new house. It is lovely and they were so thrilled to host. About ten adults, and five kids were there. It was a wonderful week, and having never been to Richmond before, I was able to see lots of the local area.

December 11- 14, I went to Vegas and stayed at the Luxor Hotel for a reunion with past co-workers from a job I had in New York City. It felt like I was returning to my trip in January when I checked in, the pyramid theme and Egyptian artifacts adorn the walls of the hotel. There is even a Pyramid Cafe.

So, it’s been a busy year, and yet, a fortuitous one as well. I love to travel, as you might guess. But I love to be at home even more. Working on the second draft of Good Wives River, a novel. Hosting the Thursday evening roundtable as well as the Friday morning roundtable. I wrote a new play called “New Horrors” that I will submit to a contest in January 2010. I am a member of the Tuesday roundtable at Redbird Redoak, where I get to flush out my latest first drafts.

One other thing I reflect on during this solstice day is peace, and good will toward all men and women. Peace to you, and yours. Today and every day.

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, writer, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely published in print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, Metazen, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Housefire. He is Senior Flash editor at JMWW and Lost in Thought magazines and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps): Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press).
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