Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saying goodbye to 2014

Hi. Let me catch you up.

2014 happened.

A year ago I was married, I had a house, I was unemployed (beyond getting paid to narrate stories occasionally), I volunteered as the Podcast Manager at Every Day Fiction, and I was hoping to get into Clarion West--a six-week intensive writing workshop. I lived with two cats.

Almost everything that could have been different is now different except, thankfully, my health. My health remains the same. Well, I could stand to lose a few pounds.

At the end of 2014, I find myself divorced from a very nice man. I am dating another very nice man--a vegetarian who made me meatloaf! And it was good! I live in a different county. I no longer have a house. I have a full-time job. I resigned from Every Day Fiction to focus on paid narration work, taught myself to edit/master audio, and now have recorded five audiobooks for sale through Amazon, iTunes, and Audible. I also recorded stories for two of John Joseph Adams' anthologies, and more stories for Beneath Ceaseless Skies. One of my own stories was podcast (a first!) by Tina Connolly at Toasted Cake. I attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop over the summer, met a bunch of fantastic classmates, administrative staff, and instructors, and wrote six short stories in six weeks. I was on my first panel at StoryCon in Portland, OR, as an authority on flash fiction. And I live with a dog, instead of cats.

Basically, 2014 looked like this: Maybe I should learn how to record and master an audiobook? Did I get in to CW? OMG I got in to CW, read all the books to prepare! Record 3 audiobooks before ACX changes its contract! Whoops, my marriage fell apart, what happens now? Find a place to live! Okay, found! CW is very challenging, and now it's done! Move move move all the crap forever! Find a job! Go to court, see a judge, dissolve the marriage! Sign up for retirement plans! Go go go!

Other items of note:

  • TRAVEL: I went sightseeing in Washington, D.C., after attending World Fantasy Con. Participated in a couple of writing retreats. Strolled through the Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rain Forest out on the Olympic Peninsula. Saw the Pacific Ocean from a Washington state shore for the first time. Flew out to San Diego, CA, for a couple of days. Explored the Swap Meet. Visited the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore on their last day before moving to a new location. Oh, and I attended the World Horror Convention in sunny Portland, OR. Ate my first Voodoo Donuts, served from the side of a squat pink van.

  • WRITING: Two of my short stories ("The Man at the End of the Chain" and "Arkquarium") came out in print anthologies. My poem, "Shag," was published online. Wrote and submitted my first ten-minute play in years.

  • PROMOTION: Had a reading at Norwescon in SeaTac, WA. Whoo!

  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Shot more author portraits. Sold a few more licenses through my stock photo agency.

  • READING/LEARNING: I discovered how much I love Jack Vance's fiction. Then spent the first half of the year reading works by the CW instructors. Discovered how fun it is to take classes through the Coursera website.

All that said, I'm not gonna lie. 2014 was hard. (Haaaaarrrrd, so says the whiny pirate). It'll take a while for the dust to settle, but I feel like the changes have been overwhelmingly positive and necessary.

But after a year like this, I'm wary of what 2015 will bring. I hope that I'll be able to wrap up the last of the loose ends from this year. That I'll get back into the rhythm of taking care of myself--both mentally and physically. That I'll figure out how to be less cranky after the 1-2 hour commute home from work. All of that equals my 2015 forecast in a nutshell.

It's been a long time since I've taken myself off auto-pilot and looked around at my situation. This year I'm going to try to get back to basics and think about where I'd like to go next. So far so good. All of these changes were tough to live through, but overwhelmingly positive in the end.

Finally, I leave you with my traditional New Year’s wish to you: May you get everything you desire and only some of what you deserve. Happy nearly 2015.