Chinese New Year is a-coming, February 7th to be exact, and the clever marketing people at my publishers have timed my new books to coincide. There's that picture book Bringing in the New Year, and, of course, my dear-to-my-heart new novel The Year of the Rat.
And The Year of the Rat has strangely taken on more meaning to me than just a story I wrote. In Chinese culture there is a 12 year cycle of totem animal years, with the rat being the first. So when it is the Year of the Rat, a new 12 year cycle begins--so it is a year of change and a new starts. The book is based on my own experiences during my first year of the rat; all the changes that I had go through then, and how I found I could survive and be stronger and happier.
So the themes of the book and the Chinese superstitions are so eerily appropriate for me during this Year of the Rat that I almost feel as if it were some divine fate guiding me. It is an odd mirroring of life and art, where the trace echos seem to call me. Leaving my identity of a cancer wife behind has been an adjustment; and I can feel myself on the cusp of a new, exciting and unexpected future. So for me, it is truly the Year of the Rat, a time of change and beginnings.
Here's hoping that the year is a lucky one for all of us!