New Year’s Eve Ritual 2017/2018


(370 + 500 words)

First of all, a Very Happy New Year to all my followers, and to those followers with blogs and/or books, I wish you every success with them in 2018!

I’m starting the year with 350 followers, which I can hardly believe, so thank you again for following To Cut a Short Story Short! 

I’m very pleased to say that I managed to post a new story every five days throughout 2017, a goal I set myself. I also self-published two books and had audiobooks made from them, something I never could have imagined one year ago!

Publishing the ‘Best of Your Blog’ is as Easy as 1-2-3!

I also entered two writing competitions a month throughout the year. No prizes yet, but fingers crossed for the coming year!

I’m intending to continue my WordPress publishing schedule throughout 2018, and I’ll be publishing a new book of stories about October time: To Cut a Short Story Short II: 89 Little Stories. Because the stories are longer now, that’ll be around 80,000 words, which should come out around 400 pages, so quite a substantial volume. It should be available as an audiobook in time for Christmas 2018!

I’ve a children’s picture book in the pipeline too, Promise Her the Moon, which has been submitted to a number of publishers and which I hope will be accepted and in print in the latter part of 2018. Then, who knows, there might even be a sequel!

Finally, I’ve been running a fortnightly story group for the last two years (currently 400 words). A collection is sent out by e-mail every other Sunday. Right now there are a small number of dedicated contributors sending in one or two stories per fortnight (big thanks to those talented people!). New members are always welcome!

So, without further ado, I’m republishing New Year’s Eve Ritual, my third most popular post (in terms of ‘likes’) ever. I have to copy the post, otherwise a notification isn’t sent out, which means there are two copies of the same story on the blog, but I think it’s worth it. I don’t want to copy and paste the old comments, but if you’d like to read them (recommended) here’s the link.

Best wishes, Simon.


(500 words)
Boxes, special boxes, lie at the bottom of my locked filing cabinet. Deposited there are letters and cards collected throughout my life. From grandparents, school-friends, parents, lovers, wives, children, more lovers, more children. Since the invention of e-mail though, they’ve been few and far between.
Tonight it’s New Year’s Eve 2027 and there’s a very special box of letters I want to look at. But first there’s something I have to do – The Ritual.
I go to my trusted computer and start. I’m alone in the house. My partner, Suzanne is at her parents, the kids are grown up, probably remonstrating with their own kids about coming home at a ‘sensible’ hour. As if!
I begin to type. Dear – . I leave the name blank for now, anticipating the thrill of typing it in. ‘I hope you are well and I wonder how this will find you? You were talking about moving to a villa in Portugal. Are you still planning to live there? Did you marry Fiona? Is your mother still alive?’ Questions surge into my mind.
I take a swig of cider, Weston’s Vintage Cider 2026, 8.2% alcohol. Three bottles for a fiver at Tesco, same as it’s been for the last ten years! I swill the amber liquid around my tongue and savour grass, twigs, toffee, leaves, moonlit apples.
For the next two hours I sit writing and drinking cider. About what I’ve been doing myself for the last year, my failing health, my increasing wealth and my disastrous love life. Then about my goals and aspirations. Maybe they’ll be interested? Do that trek up Kilimanjaro, play a recital on the piano, maybe get that novel published. The one that’s been rejected more times than I care to think about. But hey! What about Stephen King, Agatha Christie and J K Rowling?
Finally it’s finished. 11.30 p.m., half an hour before ‘witching hour.’ How pleased I am to sit ‘in here’, writing, rather than ‘out there,’ getting ‘wrecked’ and singing Auld Lang Syne with strangers!
I fill in the recipient, print my letter, sign and address it, then seal it up with tape. Finally I delete the document and empty the trash folder. That completes the ritual!
I go down to the fridge and take out a bottle of Chardonnay. I pour a large glassful of lemon-coloured nectar, then go back upstairs to my ‘special box.’ It contains ten long, white, thick envelopes, all with the same handwriting. I slot the one I have just written in at the back and take out the one at the front. It’s dated 2017, and labelled ‘to be opened 31st December 2027.’
The cycle is finally complete! I open it, trembling with anticipation. I begin to read, my eyes misting as I do so. Throughout the last ten long, eventful years, of life, death, joy and heartbreak, it has been waiting patiently in this box for me, though I now have no memory of ever having written it.
To read the comments on the original version of this post please click HERE
N.B. This post was republished on New Year’s Eve 2018/2019. Please click HERE to see it.

Featured in the book, To Cut a Short Story Short, vol. II: 88 Little Stories

16 thoughts on “New Year’s Eve Ritual 2017/2018

  1. Oh damn your 2017 was really eventful!! I love it and I hope that you are getting great reviews on your books. I hope that 2018 is even more eventful and happy for you!

    I loved reading your story too.

  2. A fantastic idea. I started doing a similar thing in the past couple of months. It’s less scheduled and organized, but seems to serve the same purpose. Going back annually is great for me. You can already see a change in perception.

    1. Thank you, I know my version is very long term but I found that it was at the back of my mind during the year, knowing I would have to write a ‘report’ to myself, so to speak, so I was more focused, certainly for the first few months anyway.

      After all that cider and wine I’m not sure what I wrote, but I’ll find out in 2027!

      1. You will open it up to see a bunch of cider stains on a piece of paper with just one word written – “Dear”. Turns out you just blacked out, or thought but did not write.

  3. What an inventive post, I was really curious where you were going and it was perfect. Also, a perfect length. The description of the cider made me thirsty…and it’s only 2pm so nothing for me. Thanks for sharing this lovely vision. Have a wonderful 2018. I will be following your blog for sure.

    1. Hello and thank you for your nice comments! The story was mainly true and I did the ‘ritual’ for the second time on New Year’s Eve just gone. It’s definitely an interesting process and one I’d recommend! Thanks for the follow too, and I hope you will enjoy future stories! P.S. I’d also recommend Weston’s Vintage Cider if you can get hold of it. It’s pretty powerful stuff but very drinkable!

  4. I absolutely loved this, and am definitely motivated to start a ritual of my own. You painted a picture so vivid that I could see it right before my eyes.

    1. Thank you Svasti, I would definitely recommend it. As I explained in a reply just below this, it is quite a liberating experience! And I’m pleased you could visualize the scene, you have a good imagination! 🙂

    1. Hi Gwendolyn, and thank you for reblogging my story! In fact I did the ritual on New Year’s Eve for the second year so there are now two long white envelopes at the bottom of my filing cabinet and ‘only’ nine years to wait! It’s quite weird writing to yourself in ten years’ time. I use ‘I’ for me now and ‘you’ for future me.

      I found it quite cathartic writing down all the bad things from 2017 and then a much longer list of good things. I asked myself questions about my life in ten years’ time, and also things in general. Is there a colony on the moon? Have people walked on Mars? It’s definitely an interesting process, and one that can be refined over the years to one’s own preferences.

      I don’t write a set number of words or anything, I just made some notes and then wrote until I felt I’d covered everything. Probably an hour and a half or so. Filing the envelope away I felt a deep sense of peace.

      Also I found this year that it made me more conscious of achievements and goals, knowing that I’d have to write a ‘report’ to myself at the end of the year!

      I like the idea of ten years personally, but (as you suggested) maybe five years might work. Obviously the older you get the shorter the intervals would have to be. No good writing to yourself in ten years’ time if you’re 100!

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