Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Year of the Rat

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!


Chris Barton said...

Hear hear, Grace! I intend to kick off the Year of the Rat by reading -- what else? -- The Year of the Rat.

laurasalas said...

Thanks for sharing your heart so openly.

I've got Bringing in the New Year on reserve at the library, and I'm peeved to see they don't have Year of the Rat. I just recommended it for purchase--gotta love online library tools!

May all your changes be terrific ones!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

How exciting! Gung Hei Fat Choi!

MotherReader said...

Do you think that year of changes applies to the presidential election, or can I only hope?

I do hope you have a good year - no one deserves it more.

(Enjoyed the book, trying to get it back from my daughter so I can write about it.)

Nancy Arruda said...

Welcome Year of the Rat! I have to call Storybook Lane and ask them to get Lissy's Friends, and the doll is adorable. Happy New Year!

Rita said...

I really liked reading this post: the way you see the book's themes echo between your first Year of the Rat and now, are just how I think, too.

I reviewed The Year of the Rat at my blog in time for this Chinese New Year, by the way.

I also think Bringing in the New Year is the best PB on Chinese New Year I have seen. :) Happy New Year,