The beginning of the year began with flowers. Mini irises, lone crocuses – is this seriously winter? Well it was for a week, the earth hardened by frost mid afternoon. I wore a jumper, a fleece, a coat, a double-wrapped scarf and iphone friendly gloves. I don’t do cold. It makes me tentative and gingerly, and snarky. Winter is a bold month, makes no apologies. Deal with me she says. Deal with me naked and raw.

Bold is my word for 2016,

and maybe I should look at the ice queen a little closer.

Bold has always seemed like a loud word to me. It’s daring and audacious and adventurous. It wears a proud smile and a harlequin suit.

But I wonder if bold can be quiet too.

I wonder if she can be patient, hide under a rock, the unshowy germination of a bulb hugged in soil.

I was bold in the loud sense the beginning of this year: I decided to lay my other blog to rest. It was time, and besides I couldn’t think of anything else to write. But it’s still there, just in case…

And then two weeks ago I finally sent The Big Yellows out to literary agents and am now quivering in a corner as the rejections take aim.

Oh God – Why am I putting myself through this?

But I had promised myself bold, and the reaching out to agents another addition to the much shorter haircut and the second tattoo planned this year.

So what of a quieter kind of bold?

The silent decisions. The marked yet unseen boundaries.

Mid January I found myself caught in lists and goals and boxes of balsam tissues. And the anxiety and the constant feeling that I’m losing the race, that if I don’t do it now I’ll lose, lose, lose. But what is this self-imposed race I’m trying to win? And why do I need to keep running? What happens if I stop and walk away?

So I did.

I put down my pen and switched off the lap top and made a pasta bake instead.

I walked away with a smile.

This was bold as a whisper. Not shouting but listening. The moon instead of the sun.

The quieter bold pays attention, is the wiser voice, and there is no regret.

And this is my bold of 2016.

A solid, winter bold the colour of coal.