I guess I could do some kind of wrap-up of 2016 as the year is quickly coming to a close. (And not quickly enough for many of us). I’ve heard this past year being described in some colorful terms. A few I would not repeat here in polite company, and a few I could never out-do in pointedness and humor.
There have been some significant losses this past year: In lives — of actors, artists, and others well known (and so, so many unknown), in (already abysmally low) expectations of decency in our country’s political campaigns and those who seek office, and in the humanity of our species in times of war and strife.
And not least, in our ability as a species to look back at history and learn its lessons.
At times I will tell myself half-jokingly that the world is coming to an end, and at other times I will tell myself that it is no joke. I struggle to keep myself from writing about some of the most appalling outrages I see or read about in the news. That’s not to say I won’t do so in the future; it’s just that right now I think I’m in a state where doing so will not help me or anyone else. I’ll likely have plenty more jabs at Trump, for example, but for now it feels like picking at scabs to lament the man and the path our country is on.
For me personally, 2016 has had ups and downs. I enjoyed a road trip across several states with two of my sisters to attend a nephew’s wedding this past spring and do a little sightseeing on the way back. But when it came to a niece’s wedding this fall only a couple of hours away, depression and anxiety kept me at home. I got to spend part of the summer visiting my 10 year old daughter in beautiful Oregon, but my truck broke down and spent a week in the shop while I was there. Over the year I worked on and submitted a few inventions to a reputable organization I use who work with inventors to license products for the marketplace, but ultimately all my ideas failed at various stages of the process.
I live in a low-rise apartment building (not the whole building, just one small apartment). It’s government subsidized low-income housing, but it’s not really as glamorous as it may sound. Early this year, they had some pest problems, and my apartment was not immune. Cockroaches and bedbugs, anyone? Now I keep glue traps across my threshold and all my clothes and linens in pest-resistant sealed plastic containers and giant Hefty bags. It’s the good life. (But don’t get me wrong — sarcasm and jokes aside, I know how truly fortunate I am in many things, not least of which is an otherwise decent place to live and call home. Just look at some recent video of Aleppo or a refugee camp if you’re not feeling humble.)
By the way, did you know bedbugs can live up to a year without feeding? Just hiding out and waiting. Let’s just say my sleep patterns were a little off for a while.
Maybe I can send off 2016 on a bit of a high note, though, now that I think about it. Writing fantasy fiction has been a passion and a solace at various times during my adulthood, and much as I would have liked to do it for a living, I’ve never been able to do it in a steady enough fashion. And especially with my depression in recent years (and most especially this year for some reason), I’ve barely been able to write a sentence, creatively speaking. But in the last week or two, I have been able to pull out the old novel in its various stages of rewrite and actually start working on it again. I know how foolish it can be for a writer to keep working on a single story over vast periods of time, but this is a story I’d really like to feel that I’ve finally made whole and done my best with. It’s close to my heart, and other stories I may do in the future depend on this one. Maybe I’ll post a bit of it here, a chapter at a time, as I feel they’re somewhat complete.
Who knows how long this little creative burst will last, but for now it’s one thing I’ll be happy to celebrate on New Year’s eve.