I wasn’t going to do a year-end thing this year, but my friend Luna convinced me that it was worth doing. Though there may be more to it than that—a lot of things seem a lot more worth doing than they did a short while ago. More on that in a moment.
2017 saw my first publication in three years: “Things That Creep and Bind” in The Sum of Us from Laksa Media. This was a solicited piece, and I am so deeply grateful to Lucas Law and Susan Forest for inviting me to the project. If they hadn’t, I might not have written any prose at all in 2016.
And then they did it again, inviting me to contribute to next year’s anthology, Shades Within Us, and once again, I wrote when I otherwise would not have. The result was the completion and sale of my first novelette-length work, coming in around 9,000 words in the end. The story was a major overhaul and expansion of one of the first stories I’d ever submitted anywhere (so there may be some editors out there who recognize the title when they see it). Finishing something that long was a major victory for me, especially given that I’m most comfortable under 3,000 words.
I am also grateful to Diabolical Plots editor David Steffen, who bought “Her February Face,” which will come out this spring. Additionally, two comics that I either wrote or co-wrote in 2016 were published this past summer, along with at least one of the four I edited. And in the category of “passive victories,” a story of mine was optioned, which is a thing I didn’t really expect to ever be able to mark off my bingo card.
I started a new day job in the wine industry, which has been great. It gets me out of the house and talking to people other than my immediate family a few days every month, and I find it low-pressure and fun.
My D&D party wrapped up a seven-year campaign, if you can believe that. (We did take a year off in the middle while various party members dealt with big scary adult things.) We’re already thinking about our characters for the next one, due to start in January.
I started work on that comic that I blogged about recently. It’s a secondary project for now, because my primary project is a novel manuscript I originally started in 2014, which I returned to this year. I even went on a brief AirBnB retreat, where I drank copious amounts of tea and added nearly twenty thousand words. I’m still working on it, and there’s a long way to go, but I’m working at it consistently, because now I can. Which brings me to…
In the final quarter of this year I saw a new doctor, who asked me some pointed questions that no other doctor had asked. I suppose I should not have been surprised by the results. The upshot is that my depression—which I have likely suffered from to varying degrees my entire life–is now being treated. It’s early days yet, but I can report that virtually every part of my life seems better, like my baseline state of being has been upgraded from “persistently defeated bordering on miserable” to “just fine.” Previously when something exciting would happen, like a story sale, I might spike into “pretty satisfied.” Yesterday a cool thing happened–that option payment and a very kind note from the producer arrived–and I felt good. Happy. I’m able to stay on task; I’m able to take actual satisfaction in getting things done, instead of feeling that every accomplishment is merely another battle in the losing war against entropy. It’s a surprising and extremely welcome change.
So that was 2017. The state of the world aside, I’m hopeful for the coming year. My goals are fairly modest, I think, which is fine. The important thing is that they seem achievable.
As ever, I wish you and yours a happy holiday season, and a hopeful new year. I think we all earned it.