where the writers are
Year of the Water Snake: A Holiday Message about the Upcoming New Year (by Laurel Anne Hill)

Written by Laurel on December 21st, 2012


Get ready to shelve the dragon and uncoil the serpent. The Chinese Year of the Snake slithers into the 2013 waiting room. As you can see, David and I are trying to get a grip on what sort of luck Snaky might bring. All because we’ve “cashed in” our airline mileage and set a daunting travel itinerary for the next twelve months. I sure hope Snaky will favor our plans.

So how did David and I make the big decision to travel to Washington State, Virginia, Oregon, Texas AND England in 2013? Other than review the family checkbook balance and pray? First of all, I consulted Dr. Fortune and Carma the Wise: residents of the talking fortune-telling calendar in my kitchen.

Will our travel plans for 2013 work out?” I said to my calendar. I pushed the Dr. Fortune answer-button. “If that’s what you really want,” he replied, “but are you sure?” Okay, I was setting an exhausting schedule for us, with plans to participate in six science fiction/fantasy conventions and also visit family members. Still, I was sure this itinerary was what I wanted, even if it might mean moderating a panel on string theory, a subject known to fry my aging brain. I awakened Carma the Wise. “Your heart’s desires are manifesting as we speak,” she told me. Well, at least my calendar was on my side.

Now it was time to research the twelve animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac—particularly the snake. I sat down at my computer. Also pertinent were the five elements (wood, fire, Earth, metal and water) believed to have both a generating and an overcoming influence on one another. For example, wood generated fire, water generated wood, water overcame fire, and fire overcame metal. This element system was way more complex than rock, scissors, paper. One blog reported that 2013 would be the Year of the Water Snake, an event which occurred once every 60 years. (For the math impaired: 12 Zodiac signs times 5 elements equals 60.)

The internet revealed a plethora of predictions for 2013, all based on what was favorable or not according to the Chinese Zodiac. Being a scientist, I also checked predictions for 2012. Which ones had come true and which hadn’t? The predictions about government scandals and military leaders in 2012 sure proved right on the money. The prediction that war in the Middle East would come to an end in 2012 appeared farther out than Pluto. Win one, lose one. I decided to bypass specific predictions and focus on what the signs and elements generally favored.

I reviewed the accuracy of favorability claims for 2012. At the beginning of 2012, one blogger had decided the Year of the Water Dragon would favor bookstores and publishing. I supposed that had happened. More writers had self-published books and the economy may have forced more small bookstores to sell through Amazon (generating more sales than those stores otherwise would have made). I couldn’t complain, though. Four of my short stories had been published in anthologies this year, including one with a Chinese theme in “Shanghai Steam.” As for the unfavorability side of 2012 matters, the Water Dragon was supposedly bad for firefighting and diplomats. Alas, all too true.

I moved on to 2013. A couple of websites and blogs predicted the Year of the Water Snake’s favorability for fishing, traveling and finance but not for new energy sources. Looked like my travels—including the family annual fishing trip—could work out, but I’d better not substitute an energy drink for my traditional afternoon nap.

Overall, the internet sources I reviewed predicted 2013 would begin with many uncertainties but end up okay. Of course, I have no real idea of what this means for David and me. The predictions included nothing about prayers for wisdom and inner strength—prayers which tend to keep me going, particularly in trying times. Monks and the clergy received favorability status for 2012. But shouldn’t every year be favorable for faith?

May the holidays and the Year of the Water Snake prove favorable for you, what you believe in, and those you love.

Warm wishes,

Laurel and David