Well, That Was a Year That Happened

January 1, 2021

Normally I get pretty philosophical at the end of the year. I usually try to write something to sum it all up, put it all in perspective. Indeed, looking at last year’s blog post, I seem to have been cautiously optimistic about 2020.

Heh. Well, if you’re reading this, you lived through 2020, so you know what happened. I mean, holy crap. I don’t really need to say anything.

My cautious optimism may be gone, but my sense of gratitude is not. I was one of the lucky ones this year. Through everything that happened, I’m doing all right. In a year where everything was too much, I was in the right place with the right partner and the right job and the right friends and the right interests to carry me through it. And I am so, so grateful for that, and intend to consciously remind myself of that good fortune for as long as it sustains me into 2021 — because I think I’m still going to need it for a while. We all will.

As it turns out, being cooped up during a pandemic plays to my strengths. Indoor enthusiasm is indeed my preferred method of self-medication. Oh, I put on about fifteen pounds, and I definitely started to feel older. But I also got my bass chops back into shape, and watched film and television until my eyeballs bled, and video-gamed my wrists out, and for the first time ever completed my fucking Goodreads challenge. On top of that, I wrote my ass off. Total word counts: 120,800 words of fiction, and 63,300 words of reviews, mostly at the blog but also a couple over at Lightspeed. My Christmas vacation was particularly productive: in the last six days of the year, I wrote 14,000 words to complete a new novel. So take that, 2020!

Plus, this is the time of year everyone’s doing publishing eligibility posts, and for a change I have something to report. Two short stories came out this year before the world went batshit: “The Men Who Change the World” (in the January Lightspeed) and “Introduction to Immersive Memory-Crafting” (in Mark Teppo’s XVIII anthology in March). I’d be shocked if anyone notices them, but I’m pretty happy with those stories, and was very grateful they found homes for themselves.

All things considered, it was a year that happened. Full of anxiety and grief, physical exhaustion and Zoom fatigue, political rage and crippling depression. But there were also good things, and like I said, I was lucky. All I can say is, thank goodness for story and music and art and film, for the many good people in the world who kept it running for us despite it all, and the friendships that sustained me through it. Here’s hoping for a better year for us all in 2021.