Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy New Year!

Good bye Tiger, hello Rabbit. It has been a year since the Word Garden launched, coincidentally during the Chinese New Year’s celebration, in the lunar year 4708, the Year of the Tiger, according to the Chinese Zodiac. The idea is that the year’s animal sign sets the tone for what is to come.

They say Tigers do not find worth in power or money. They are completely honest about how they feel and expect the same of others. On the other hand, they seek approval from peers and family. Generally, because of their charming personalities, Tigers are well liked.

But, for this new year, it’s the Rabbit and the ancient astrologers say Rabbits are generally calm, gentle and loving. Rabbit people can be very ambitious and intuitively know how to get ahead in the world. They are good listeners, kind and sweet by nature, and are therefore often sought out as popular and trusted friends. No one is more surprised than Rabbits when they win a poker hand or hit the jackpot at the races, although at times good luck just seems to come their way unbidden.

The past year for me has been one of scratching and clawing like a Tiger to learn how to blog, learn what feels right for me to say and how best to say it in this forum of my own creation. There have been places to go, things to do. What I’ve written about are things I care about – publishing, gardening, cooking, the environment, art, books, family and most of all – story telling. What I want to accomplish with this effort is build a connection with you. I want to build community, find support, inform and entertain, but most of all inspire.

I’ve been inspired by great teachers during the past year – San Francisco memoirist Adair Lara and Sacramento Poet Laureate Julia Connor, writers Stephen Elliott  and Armistead Maupin – and I’ve been supported by an incredible group of writers – Squaw Valley Community of Writers members Xan Van Arsdale, Chris Callaghan, Patricia Sanders and Katie Amatruda; my critique partner and novelist Elizabeth Kern; my volunteer editor, the beautiful and persnickety Nancy Barth; the amazing writers in Adair’s Blast Out Workshop and Julia’s New Voices Workshop, not to mention the Stanford University writers who attended Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry’s book publishing seminar.

Along the way, more than 2,500 visitors have come to the Word Garden during the past year, which compared to FaceBook’s 500 million visitors a month isn’t much. Compared to the zero visitors I started with—it’s a lot and I value everyone of you. I’m deeply grateful for the visitors who’ve come from all over the world to dig around in my dirt and see what’s blooming. Besides the United States, the largest number of international visitors have come from Canada, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Slovenia, Australia, China, The Netherlands, Denmark, the Philippines, Guatemala and Nigeria.

Here are some of the comments they left behind:

• This is a good blog. what a grate(sic) work! – Devid

• It really was a great day (Frolic with Naughty Santas post) and your blog makes it sound very interesting. You should make this an annual event! – The Maven

• I enjoy reading your blog, Kate–you are a talented and witty writer! I laughed out loud when I read that you usually put a plate on your pot instead of a lid! Your dry sense of humor is subtle but very effective. I can’t wait to read your next blog! I enjoy your great photos too! – Robyn Rominger

• you should have more of your photography here. maybe link to a flicker account? i need more pix! – Justin

• My garden issues are different from yours. I have a tiny space, but have lots of sun. I concentrate on vegetables for the summer, primarily tomatoes. Spinach has been growing since early March, and continues to produce; BIG problem with Light Brown Apple Moth damage to the blueberries. I enjoyed your blog, though!” – Donna Sacks-Hayes, San Francisco

• You do such a great job featuring artists here. I’ve enjoyed reading about the others you have written about on your blog. Good luck. – Todd Fichette

For the record, my most popular posts with visitors have included “Pink Gloves,” “The Way the Cookie Crumbles,” “Holiday Frolic with Naughty Santas,” “Centurions in the Garden,” and “Wanting to be Jackie Kennedy.” You can find these posts among the more than 100 pieces in the Word Garden archive.

I’m working on some things for the Year of the Rabbit that I think you’ll enjoy and I’ll make you an offer – the first seven people to sign up as Word Garden followers will get a free book – gardening or cookbook — it’s a grab bag of neat surprises. E-mail your delivery address to kcamp300@yahoo.com. I’ll send your book right out.

In the meantime, may the Year of the Rabbit bring you and your family health and prosperity, along with good luck. See you in the Word Garden. Leave a comment, become a follower, contact me about doing a guest post. A garden is only as interesting at the things that grow there.


Gung Hay Fat Choy!

P.S. Forgot to mention thanks to my son, Mark, owner of Social Media Solutions, and long-time friend Faith Kramer, publisher of the wildly successful site for foodies, Blog Appetit, for technical support.

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