I am, perhaps unfortunately, the kind of person who likes to take stock of just how much I did (or didn’t) accomplish at the end of each year.
(What can I say? I’ve been in the corporate world too long and there have to be measures! measures! measures!)
Here’s my 2018 numerically:
- Wrote: almost exactly 30,000 words on two novel projects that are in shaky condition.
- Ran: 818 miles in 246 runs including 17 organized races and a half-marathon.
- Lost: 7.9 pounds.
- Released: one short story collection, Acres of Perhaps.
- Received: one starred review from Publishers Weekly and several other good notices.
That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Here is my 2018 subjectively:
- Discovered that my friend Norman Amemiya’s mysterious lack of contact was due to his death in 2014.
- Lost my greyhound Zelda to an sudden unknown cause of death.
- Got in a car wreck on I-4 that was fortunately without injuries but smashed up my vehicle.
- Endured another horrifying year of looming stress and depression with Donald Trump as president.
- Hosted the first successful Willcon (the formerly-yearly gathering for friends in my home) in years.
- Met with a medium to contact my mother (and, accidentally, Norman).
- Continued in an oddly duller world that no longer contains my mother since her death last year.
That’s, uh, what you might call a mixed bag. I wish I’d accomplished more, but then, it’s kind of a miracle I got as much done as I did. It’s hard to overstate the general pervasive feeling of slow dread shadowing me for most of the year, making almost every action feel like swimming in tar.
I did manage to escape into books, podcasts, films, and television. Some pleasant surprises this year included:
- A Richard Yates kick of Revolutionary Road, Disturbing the Peace, and his biography. His prose is as precise as a timepiece.
- James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a series that is like a comforting blanket of delusional alternate reality.
- S-Town, a podcast about troubled genius John B. McLemore’s life in a small southern town.
- Star Trek Discovery, which was way better than I expected.
- Three Identical Strangers, a fascinating documentary that surprised and shocked me at several turns.
- American Animals, a bizarre (and true!) story of a heist gone very, very wrong.
- A Simple Favor, a stylish and fascinating film about a naive vlogger who investigates the disappearance of her glamorous best friend.
I spent a lot of the year (Too much? Who can say?) hiding from the world in books (including my own). I also had a lot of weird vivid dreams, so who knows what that was all about.
I’m glad you and I both survived 2018. Let us never speak of it again.