2017 in review

*Sweeps away the cobwebs, checks if the lights still work around here.* I used to do an annual “year in review” post. But maybe all I need to say about 2017 is that I still have my 2016 in review post sitting in my drafts folder and never got around to finishing it. Yeah, 2017. Shitstorm. Completely hijacked by feelings of “why bother?” and “who cares about the thoughts and miniscule endeavors of one middle-aged lady fiction writer when the entire world is falling apart?”

I spent a lot of last year feeling weepy and doomed, then realizing it mattered very little what I felt and the thing to do was just roll up one’s sleeves. Yet when I write I always sink back into the bog of my feelings. So I’ve had very little interest in blogging or tweeting or posting of any kind. Still—at the risk of revolting self-absorption—I’m going to try to chronicle something of the passing year.

I’m still working on “The Shadow Clock,” the novel I thought would be done by now. What a quaint little hope of mine. I’m not sure what to say about this except I am doggedly putting one foot in front of the other. With any luck, it will see publication in 2019. I bemoan my slow progress, but really my pace is my pace. When I stop whining about stuff outside of my control, I realize I actually like this book a lot and think it will be fun. I’m stretching, I’m learning! But boy will I celebrate when it’s done.

My reading was a bit different in 2017. I subscribed to the Economist and tried to read that cover to cover each week (not always successfully). I started a new job with a couple days a week of very long commute. So now for the first time I’m listening to audiobooks. The first one I tried was a complete winner: Victor LaValle’s “The Changeling,” read by the author and amazing in every way.

Spotify continues to be an essential crutch getting me through my day. Just a few things I enjoyed:

Migos, Culture
Kendrick Lamar, DAMN
Tyler the Creator, Flower Boy
Father John Misty, Pure Comedy
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rest
Bjork, Utopia

Of course I also listened obsessively to Future, “Mask Off.” Sigh. Future.

I know I saw other movies, but at the moment, I feel like I only saw one and it was Lady Bird, and it was so amazing! If I had to see only one movie in a year, I’d be totally content with Lady Bird.

Except I forgot Get Out! Geez. In my personal Oscars it’s like a tie between those two.

Aside from the excremental political scene, the emboldened resurgence of odious ideologies, new nightmares in gun violence … well, life continues. I lost my admirable and kind father-in-law in November and witnessed the rallying decency of small-town Iowa when we traveled back for the service. Was able to spend the month of July working remotely from Tucson where I saw my parents every day, sank with gratitude into the cozy “Father John Mysteries” on PBS, and took my daughter to swimming lessons at the heavenly UofA pool. My son went off to the Canadian wilderness for a month, learning how to classify rapids and find the best downed limbs for firewood. Grant published “Pep Talks for Writers” and retreated for a time to the glories of Aspen. I celebrated my 50th by going to the Mokule’ia Writers Conference and having a delicious week in Hawaii by myself.

Looked at a certain way, it was actually a stellar year.

A happy, peaceful, and productive 2018 to all!

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