Best of 2019
Just like last year, I had this idea that doing a monthly post would make it a snap to figure out my best of the years: just scroll through, it’ll be obvious. I wish. Though it does make it easier to remember stuff from before summer, say. So, without further whatever, and by category, and including stuff I only FOUND in 2019, and just going plural for some instead of staging ties:
HORROR MOVIE RUNNERS-UP
SHORT STORIES I READ WAY TOO LATE
SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS
Wonder what categories I’m forgetting. Oh well, Jon says nothing ever ends, and I say nothing’s ever complete, I guess.
Anyway, published a lot of stories this year, sold a couple of novels and a novella and a graphic novel, sold some other stuff I can’t be talking about yet, got a new truck that actually runs, didn’t lose my pocketknife OR my wallet, did NYCC for the first time, got better at Galaga, read a whole slew of books, signed on to way too many streaming services, don’t THINK I insulted anyone, or hurt them, and, um . . . let’s see: I finally figured out why my iCloud wasn’t updating, which was HUGE, I cleaned out the bookshelves at my office, which resulted in me hauling something like ten boxes of stuff to the used bookstore, I taught a new course (Fiction Writing for Nonmajors), I rode my Kona Hei-Hei enough that I broke the frame a second time, so now have the 2020 model, I again didn’t listen to enough new music, I did a lot of limping on a bad ankle, but it’s finally showing signs of almost-life, I didn’t watch much basketball (though I try), I wrote one whole novel and about, so far, two-thirds of another (in all sort-of honesty, I think I maybe actually wrote three or four, but finding out would require looking at dates on files, and that’s hardly a fun thing to do), I stayed off Facebook (though I did tour the facilities), I voted, I saw Bob Seger live, which has been a lifelong dream—and with my daughter, even—I judged the World Fantasy Awards and another big national award I don’t think I can talk about yet, though an adjective from that clause is part of the title of the award, I got called “The Jordan Peele of horror literature” or something by EW, I taught at Clarion West again, I traipsed all over North America doing readings and talks, cons and bookstores, I blurbed more books than I thought I’d have time to blurb, I skyped into all kinds of classrooms for Q&A’s, did so many interviews on podcasts and sites, and . . . I got to hang out at my publisher’s booth with someone I’d only ever seen on Eureka and Supernatural, and got to interview someone on-stage I’d only ever seen on best-seller lists:
Also, also . . . oh: carved enough time out to slip up to the rez, get out in the field after elk, which I haven’t been able to do for a season or three (been sending my son in my stead, when that works out). Snowstorm cut everything short, wimp that I am, but had a couple days out in the trees with my dad, anyway. Walked up on two young bucks sparring with each other not twenty feet away, and then one of them turned, pawed the ground at me, inviting me in. Alas, though, I don’t have the headgear, and already have way too many concussions.
Also quite the accomplishment, and one I hope to continue: zero emergency room visits. May be the first year ever for that. I mean, yeah, this is partly because I figured out that my doctor’s office will triage stuff on a walk-in basis, but I like to at least THINK it has something to do with better decisions.
Main thing I’m disappointed in myself with, I guess, is that I think I only shot two arrows from a bow all year long. Which is far from acceptable. This is not how I want to live my life. Nope, my resolution: stock up on arrows, maybe get another bow or two, and make the effort to put a lot more field points into that good foam, in hopes of slipping a proper broadhead into the side of an elk, come fall, which will match-cut nicely with a knife slipping into a steak on a plate.
As for what I’m most satisfied with, though: my fight to not capitalize words that don’t deserve it continues unabated. I’ll never go easy into that space where I have to use a capital letter up front in “dumpster,” “frisbee,” “band-aid,” “styrofoam,” “laundromat,” and all the rest—especially “coke,” which I know is a regional thing, but letting it go feels like letting a little piece of myself go. And I don’t have that many pieces left anymore, really.
So, as you can tell from the fact that I had to step up onto the soapbox for a paragraph, that’s all I can think of, anyway. Just in from a whirlwind drive through Texas and Oklahoma, seeing friends and family, have now officially killed the last ten days’ emails and tasks, or enough of them, and can finally get back to what I was doing every spare minute on the road: writing the novel (and pretending I don’t have a fever…). Only difference is, now, thanks to presents, I have this under my monitor to fire my imagination: