I think it’s normal to get a touch of the maudlin at this time of year, especially if things have been going well. And they have–I’m feeling remarkably lucky. I’m going over my list of complaints and right now my major one is that I’m not allowing myself sushi until December is over, as sushi is expensive and other people need that money more than my local sushi dealer, and that may be the stupidest, most vapid complaint ever so I’m going to sit here and remind myself how lucky I am to be able to make it.
(Okay there are a ton of other complaints: I’m worried about my parents and I’m stressing out about my career and what my “next step” might be because webcomics are still considered something of a joke in traditional publishing and I’m really overextending myself in terms of commitments but there’s nothing I can set aside as [sushi be damned] money is always a serious issue and we still haven’t fixed the foundation on the house and we can hear Important Structural Things breaking at night and it’s really warm outside like so warm the freakin’ gardenias are blooming and yeah we have an extra-strong El Niño this year but the weather is becoming a very big concern if for no other reason than someday very soon none of us will ever have any sushi ever again but if that’s the only reason you’re concerned then we need to have words.)
Most of this is is at least partially under my control. And, as 2015 was the year that I decided to, and I quote, “get my shit under control”, I’m feeling rather optimistic about everything aside from the gardenias. Here’s some of the Shit that has been Controlled over the last year:
Last winter, Brown and I started purging everything we didn’t need. We didn’t talk about this; we both just knew that we had a lot of Crap lying around and that this Crap should live elsewhere. We’ve donated and yard-saled a ton of stuff, and I have a huge eBay pile that’ll go online.
Cleaning up the house has been amazing. I’ve never kept a lot of stuff, but it builds up if you aren’t paying attention. Also, I love the idea that one day we can just pack up and move out of this house without making more work for ourselves.
We love Dog, but… Well. We love Dog. We especially love Dog now that he’s on quite a lot of doggy Prozac and has Puppy to take the edge off.
Dog and I went through five years of training with a competition Schutzhund trainer to try and file Dog’s edges off, but he’s just…so much Dog. He was never violent, just super destructive, as he’s so big he’s his own furry wrecking ball. Finally, I gave in and put him on pharmaceuticals, and surprise! Immediate change. Turns out a dog’s brain chemistry can be as wonky as a human’s. After Dog calmed down enough so that we felt he wouldn’t outright trample a buddy, we adopted Puppy.
Puppy is awesome. He and Dog are in love; they play and nap and do all of the weird doggie things that dog buddies do. He’s much smaller than Dog: we were worried about that, but Puppy is a German sports car while Dog is an American muscle machine. Dog can outrun Puppy, but Puppy can turn while Dog keeps running forward. It gives Puppy a nice competitive edge.
We got Puppy from the local shelter a week before the city closed it down for hundreds of charges of animal abuse (ain’t kidding), so there’s that. Humans fucking suck sometimes.
Speaking of brain chemistry, I’m reasonably stable these days. I’m going to start testing the waters with a few conventions to see how these go. I’m confirmed for Arisia in January, and am talking with some lovely people at MidAmericon (WorldCon) about August. We’ll see what happens.
I’ve gotten a few personal reminders lately that human beings can be wonderful. I need these: I spend a lot of time reading about politics and world events, and, as noted, humans fucking suck sometimes. But they can also be kind and generous and inspirational (we’re weird, guys). I’m trying to take the good with the bad, and keep reminding myself that the Bad gets fantastic press while the Good doesn’t like to shout.
One seemingly small decision for 2015 was that I wouldn’t participate in public shows of X, where X is support/opposition for/against X cause/event/organization.
I say seemingly small, as this is actually one of the bigger decisions that anyone who is active on social media can make. I have a lot of thoughts about pretty much everything from trigger warnings to the term “outrage culture” itself, but how can I sum up the complexities of every social issue under the sun in what boils down to a soundbite? Yes, I think X is a serious topic, but what can I say that encapsulates the deeply entrenched issues of -ism, poverty, politics, capitalism, and grotesquely ghoulish media enthusiasm while still addressing the unanswered problems? In 140 characters, no less?
(There’ve been a few exceptions. Sometimes my lizard brain wins control of the keyboard. I’m still working on this.)
I am deeply frustrated with our society and the lack of progress that entire segments of our population seem to be committed to making. When there’s a school shooting, I want to flip my shit; when I watch yet another video of an unarmed Black man is gunned down by a cop, I want to rage and cry.
What could I possibly say that would help this situation?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
Instead, I write books in which I hurl adjectives around while I try to make some sense of it all. And when a tragedy happens, I donate money to groups which are actively involved in the affected community. At this time, I feel this is the best I can do.
On to 2016!
Pssst! The deadline for Gimme Book 2015 has been postponed to the end of February, as I was too busy to properly promote it last month.