looking back on 2015

First, I want to thank Janice Lee for being the absolute best. Also Berit Ellingsen, who’s a great and generous friend. And Kyle Muntz, who I talk to more than just about anyone on the internet, and probably more often than a lot of people off the internet.

It was a very interesting year. It contained some very negative aspects but also some very positive ones.

I’m going to talk about all the negatives first, because that’s what this post is really about.

It’s about having a year full of minor failures, serious heartaches, and how it can still be one of the best years of your life.

Anyrate, I’ll go from minor to serious, and then I’ll talk about the good stuff.

In the last couple years, I’ve made new year’s resolutions, which is kind of a stupid thing to do. I firmly believe that and I never used to do it, but I did it I think three years in a row. It was all right, and I was generally successful, but this year I came up short in just about every category.

I wrote a post about it way back at the start of last year.

I had a lot of big plans for 2015 that mostly had to do with personal artistic goals, so let’s lay it out!

I managed to somehow play fewer videogames than the previous years, despite my plans to play more. More than that, I managed to make zero videogames. I made less than any progress on that front.

Why?

I guess I don’t have a good reason, but laziness should suffice. See, I had no idea how to make one and I don’t really know how to program, so I guess I just never bothered to do it? Never sat down and tried to learn, so I never managed to do much on that front.

I definitely didn’t watch a movie every day, though I did keep this up for several month. Still, over the last eight months I’ve seen very few films in general.

Why?

Life. Simple as that.

Did I publish work created by other people?

Absolutely not, though this is still in progress and I should have some news and announcements coming soon. So while I failed to do it in 2015, I didn’t fail entirely. It’s just these things take longer than you expect them to.

I also didn’t get back into drawing, probably because I forgot. This is what happens when you plan on doing a bunch of small things in a year that aren’t actually important. They slip your brain and then kind of disappear altogether.

All those writing projects: nope. No progress.

Didn’t continue with Girl with Ears.

Just didn’t, though I keep planning on it. I mostly just need to sit down and make it happen.

Didn’t write a short story every week, though I did this for nine weeks.

I quit this for very real reasons. I figured, why spend 100,000 words on things I won’t really be that happy with and very few people will read? I was growing increasingly unhappy with the stories I was writing, though I did fall in love with that character, and she will appear in many things in the future. The thing about writing a story every day is that it’s a great idea. The problem was that I was publishing them on here, which makes them unpublishable elsewhere.

I chose to make a real effort towards getting paid for writing, which meant not giving it away for free.

See, I would love to give it away for free, but there are too few people who read this blog, so I felt I should focus my energy differently.

I also didn’t write a poem every day because it began to feel like a chore, which is the opposite of enjoyable.

Anyrate, those are the things I set out to do which I failed at.

My successes?

I wrote two novels! And they [and another] are going to be published by one of my favorite publishers.

I also wrote about 40,000 words writing about Studio Ghibli films, which I very much enjoyed and a lot of people seemed to enjoy it as well.

It’s funny since I planned on focusing on shorter projects but ended up only working on longer pieces.

I also read a whole lot of books!

Lots of things planned for this year, but I’m not making resolutions or goals, but expect to hear news of at least a few novels getting finished. Hopefully you’ll even see some shorter work published.

Okay, onto serious stuff, like my real life.

My old roommate died last summer just a few days before he turned 27. It was shocking to say the least and one of the most emotional weeks of the year. I actually found out about twenty minutes before I taught classes for four hours. So I had to bottle that up hard and tight immediately after hearing about the way too soon Death of my friend.

He had a beautiful funeral service though. One that could have been the most depressing experiences of my life, but it was a celebration of his life. His humor, his beauty, and the way he shined on so many who knew him.

Afterwards, a big group of us who knew him went out for dinner at a Russian restaurant, which was a great way to commemorate his life.

About a month later, my grandmother died. She was in her 90s, so it wasn’t exactly tragic, but it wasn’t a happy time. A few weeks after that, my grandmother’s little sister died.

My grandmother was an amazing woman and I’d write a whole essay about her life and how I didn’t know about most of it till I was 23. Her husband died when she was young and had six children. She fought to be able to buy a house, to keep that house, and to keep her children fed. She was resourceful and hardworking. It was the 60s when my grandfather died. My own dad was eight. Most women didn’t work and most who did weren’t exactly treated well, but she had to work. She never learnt how to drive but she kept working, kept raising her kids, and never stopped fighting.

It’s a testament to her, I think, that each of her sons became very successful.

Those were the hardships of the year.

But the year was, on the whole, a positive one, I think. Or, rather, I feel.

I got married to the most wonderful person in the world. Chelsea is amazing in every way. She’s smarter, more talented, and more resourceful than me. She’s driven and ambitious and just great at everything. Also, she’s beautiful and kind and gentle.

We also became homeowners! It’s an exciting and terrifying and rewarding and frustrating experience. But it’s great to see how the house is transforming since we moved in.

For our honeymoon, we also went to Ireland, one of my former homes. It was a glorious time, and I’m realising now that we never shared those photos, so I guess I never will.

My little brother also got married to his long time girlfriend and bought his first house!

My new sister-in-law also got married and built her first house!

My sister had a baby!

Two of my cousins had babies!

My cousin beat cancer [he discovered first that he had cancer, but the important part is that he doesn’t have it]!

So there’s been a lot to smile about. A lot of good news.

Even though I failed at all kinds of things this year, it’s completely fine because most of those were small and stupid things.

And, yes, there were tragedies, but there was a great deal of love and happiness.

Not that it makes sense to weigh those against one another and I don’t think anyone should try, but I enjoyed 2015, weird as it often was.

I hope 2016 turns out to be a great year as well.

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