You’ve been a year.
I didn’t include an adjective, because I’m hardpressed to pick just one. So let’s settle for the obvious instead. Like your predecessor, the much-derided and ranted-about 2017, you’ve successfully persisted for almost exactly 365 days. Sometimes it felt longer. Other times–like the entire holiday season–it felt shorter. But I’ve done the requisite calculations, consulted a multitude of experts in the field, and offered up pastry sacrifices to the Oracle at Delphi, and I can conclude, with a fair bit of certainty, that you were, in fact, a year.
And that, as they say, is that.
Now, if you are looking for adjectives, I can provide them. Just be warned that it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
You started the same way 2017 ended: not with a bang or a whimper but a collective sigh of relief. Whatever happened, we–and by we, I mean the greater we of social media, whose all-knowing eye scours us from on high–were just glad 2017 was over. After that yearlong dumpster fire–the tragedies, the wtf moments from governments near and far, and both the quantity and caliber of celebrity deaths–the changing of the calendar was a chance to wipe the slate clean. 2017 gave us one last kick in the nuts with Carrie Fisher’s passing, and then it was on to the bright and shiny year that was you… a year filled not with promise so much as the promise of not being 2017.
In some ways, you’ve met that promise. In a lot of others, you’ve managed to trip over what was a spectacularly low bar. But I don’t want to write about the economy1, politics2, or the ever-approaching environmental doom prophesied by scientists3. There are people far more qualified for that sort of discussion. Instead, I want to write about what you, as a year, meant to me.
And that’s where the adjectives get a little bit kinder.
This was a big year for me, both personally and professionally. Another year with the love of my life, which makes me luckier than I have any right to be. A successful sale on one home, a contract to build a new one, and a move to Las Vegas that happened somewhere in the middle. We’d hoped to be in the new house before 2019, but spending a handful of extra months in a townhouse is far from a hardship. I retired from my 20+ year career in software development4 this past summer, and have been transitioning into writing full time. That transition has been slow to-date, but I’m a lot happier–and a little bit healthier–than I was last year.
Happy and healthy. Those are good adjectives!
This was also the second year of my author site’s existence. I’m still trying to find the right voice for the site–somewhere between clickbait fluff and grandiose pontification would be awesome, thanks–but I managed 21 posts over the course of the year. There was a blend of short stories, monthly status updates, and whatever this was. 21 posts, 40k+ words5, and several thousand views. It’s not much, but it’s an improvement over 2017.
On the non-blog front, I managed two short stories, The Stars That Sing and The Storm in Her Smile. I edited my novel, See These Bones, for the hundredth time6. I made it three chapters into a polish pass on Investigation, Mediation, Vindication before realizing the entire book needed a rewrite. And now I’m 15k words into that rewrite.
To be honest, it’s not the volume of output I’d been hoping for. The fact that I haven’t even started on the sequel to See These Bones is pretty frustrating. Another delay to the timeline for self-publishing the John Smith series is even worse. But there have been positives. I actually liked both short stories. The rewrite of IMV is shaping up to be a significant improvement. And even though my yearly output ended up 60-100k words lighter than I’d have preferred, I feel like I’ve grown quite a bit as a writer. What more could someone ask for?7
I guess what I’m saying is that you’ve been a bit of a mixed bag, 2018. Productive in some ways, infuriating in others, and chaotic throughout. I didn’t find the success I’d been hoping for, but progress was made. You were, in the end, just a year. I’m grateful for all the good that has happened in my life, but I’m even more excited to see what the new year will bring. 2019 is going to be big8.
So goodbye, best of luck to you wherever you go next9, and thank you.
P.S. If you see Santa, tell him I’m still waiting on that oceanside mansion I asked for when I was 20. Thanks!
In early January, I’ll be back with my New Year’s Writer Resolutions. In the meantime, I’ve consolidated the chapters for The Storm in Her Smile and reposted the story on a single page, as promised. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out!
- Something that is only possible because my wife is a rock star, metaphorically speaking, in her own career. Again, luckier than I have any right to be!
- Brevity was not my strong suit this year. Or any year.
- Including three successive front-to-back edits in the span of two weeks!
- The answer is pie. But I also had a fair bit of pie this year. So… win/win.
- Not bigly. Just big.
- I’m envisioning some sort of drive-in movie theater where all the past years can just hang out and watch each other’s best movies forever.