December 17, 2017

My 2017 Year in Review

“Just breathing isn't living!” - Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna 

 Like most of you, I knew 2017 wasn't going to be the greatest. The political climate was horrible, work was stressing me out and I started my New Year with what felt like the superflu from Stephen King's The Stand. It all looked bleak, but I am nothing if not an optimist. Maybe, just maybe I could make 2017 work.

Narrator: She didn't make this year work.

Presenting My 2017 Year in Review.

One of the first things I did was start this blog. I named it after a quote from Final Fantasy 3  (you can read more here)  which was ironically a game I was re-playing in a direct attempt to avoid writing. I thought a blog would kick-start me into getting words down again and so I introduced The Licentious Howler - a blog about nothing in particular. The goal was to update it frequently and put my oh-so-clever thoughts out there for all too see.

Narrator: NONE of the ideas were clever. And she updated it maybe once a month.
Ahem...anyways, another one of my goals was to edit the 5 or 6 novels I've written for National Novel Writing Month, submit all the articles I've been thinking of writing for publication and get those 25 short story ideas out of my head and on to paper. Well...I continued writing here. Once a month. If that.

Narrator: Told you.

Of course there was always social media to distract me, especially Twitter which is great for talking with fellow writers, conversing with people all over the world about horror movies, etc. But even that turned sour. I would go online to find racists, Nazis and xenophobes now emboldened by somebody who was their baby-king. And so I'd sit there, slack-jawed wanting to send out a silly tweet about, I dunno, cake or something, but instead of delicious cake, I found myself writing angry tweets to people who apparently loved racism, Nazis and xenophobia. For someone who has to work quite a bit, social media was sort of an outlet. Now it was becoming a pit of vipers. It seemed like the lunatics had taken over the asylum. And my cake? Well, it was a lie.
And just TRY and tell me Trump isn't like a bad 16-bit end boss. I don't think he's even reached his final form yet.

Narrator: I hate Trump.

Me too Narrator! We should totally go out for coffee sometime!

Narrator: No.

 However, there was one thing that kept me going through the horrible first half of the year. In July, 52 members of my family and extended family were going to go on a European vacation. That meant one thing - I had to get in shape. I was going to be lean, mean and ripped, like 'Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2' kind of ripped. Never mind the fact that I can barely lift a 3 lb dumbbell without straining. I was going to be so in shape y'all. I had a gym membership and everything. But you know, work was busy and I had a lot of time demands.
Narrator: Excuses. She had a lot of excuses.

It didn't happen, but there was still my trip though and I was super-excited because I had never been to Europe. I was going to have the time of my life and visit places I've only ever read about. The idea kept me going through all the nonsense and craziness. Of course my boss let me know, right before I left that she had been laid off. so I didn't even know if I would have a job when I came back. Of course. Because the high-pitched girlie optimism of little Miss Pollyanna had to be put to the test somehow.

But guess what happened? I actually had a blast. We started out in Barcelona, then visited France and Italy.  And I think I have a love affair going with Rome. I want to marry it.
And yes that's me in front of the Vatican. I wouldn't have thought they'd let one of hell's lesser demons that close but luckily for me they were being polite that day.

Narrator: Hell's "lesser demons"? Don't flatter yourself. You're an imp if that.

You know what 'Narrator I created in my brain'? Shut up. I created you, I can "uncreate" you.

Narrator: But then this post wouldn't be nearly as entertaining now, would it?

Stop bothering me with facts.

Anyway, I came back exhausted but eager to see what the rest of the year would bring. Since the first half had sucked donkey cojones I thought the second half had to be better, right?  I apparently still had a job which is nice because steady income and insurance makes life a little easier. But I was working from home and it was pretty darn draining. In theory, it sounds wonderful. You roll out of bed, grab some coffee, get to your laptop, and start answering your emails in your PJs. But before you know it's after 6, you haven't left the house, you haven't had face to face communication with an actual human being all day, and no, Skype meetings don't count. Eventually doing things like brushing your hair and showering becomes optional. Day after day, I'd sit there,  headset seemingly permanently attached to my brain, remembering that awesome sunset in Naples.and wondering how the hell I got back to this.
But I guess there was another high point. I DID have a tweet go semi-viral..
 Narrator: Oh yes, that's FAR better than an evening in Italy.

Shush you! The funny thing was, this tweet wasn't political. It wasn't mean-spirited. It wasn't controversial. It was just a nice little movie fact I posted. Judd Apatow retweeted me. It wasn't as nice as when Cher replied to something I wrote or Eric Idle retweeted me, but it was nice nevertheless.

And full disclosure - I only knew this fact because I always had a crush on stuffy Brit man who gets killed in the tube. Sue me - I like them, those stuffy Brit guys.
So here we are at the end of 2017 and what have I done? Well I have to admit this year has changed me. I think I've aged 10 years in the one, and the political climate still sucks. The paradox is that not much has changed. I''m not in a relationship, I haven't moved and my career is still where it was a year ago.

Narrator: Oh so you're joining us on the pessimist side?

Maybe. But you know what? I think things WILL change. I think I can make it - no, I KNOW I will make it awesome. I can feel it. 2018 is DEFINITELY going to be my year.  C'mon 2018! Bring it.
Narrator: Here we go again. Damn.