been a hell of year, hasn’t it?
It’s nearly solstice and I planned to write an introspective piece on the year, mainly because I never did my “Things I’m Thankful For” column. When I sat down I was immediately confronted by the gaping rift in 2019, at least for me. Personally, it has been one of the most successful years of my life. It’s hard to reconcile that with the shrieking, blood-and-entrails horror-movie that the year has been in the rest of the world.
I believe that history is cyclic, but I believe that the trend of those cycles is toward positive progress. I also believe in physics, and reactions. The progress toward inclusiveness, compassion and equality awakened fear in a lot of people, and they came back with that “equal and opposite” thing. It helps their cause that much of “inclusion” included globalization, which was another way for large businesses to exploit people. And it helps the reactionaries, those whose fear drives them to hatred and violence, that large moneyed interests supported them, and that other nations were able to compromise our electoral system.
In 2019 we saw firsthand what President Obama warned us about with Citizens United, and what privacy activists warned us about with large social media platforms. And we were reminded that money’s first loyalty is always to money.
We can recover from this, and we will, and we will regain the ground that has been ripped away from us as long as we don’t get mired in a defeatist-fest where we act like this is the end of things. That said, the way back isn’t going to be short, or pleasant.
For me personally, 2019 was a different kind of a year.
I had a book published! A real live book that I could hold in my hands. And some people read it!
I had a couple of stories come out in anthologies in 2019, too.
I went to ReaderCon for the first time, and met a writing god, John Crowley.
We remodeled the living room into a beautiful library that provides tranquility and spiritual nourishment (and a place to stack the wrapped Christmas presents!).
We had several delightful visits from our friend Sharon, and spent Thanksgiving with her son and daughter in law. We had a great time.
It wasn’t all good. I’m still nagged by one or two health issues, even though I’m been good about getting exercising, kept some weight off, and have my blood pressure controlled even if it is through medication.
And I got to evacuate my house at 3:20 in the morning, which was a frightening experience even though it all worked out well.
The Kincade Fire evacuation had a good side for me; Spouse and I both got to know our immediate neighbors a little better.
I am working hard on the first sequel to Aluminum Leaves.
I continue to live my fantasy of working in a bookstore, at least one day a week.
So, personally, 2019 wasn’t a pollution-spewing tire fire. It was… well, it was pretty good, and I am very grateful.
Solstice night is the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. It’s often cold. People celebrate the holiday with light and warmth, welcoming back the longer, warmer days that let seeds germinate and grow, and provide light for hunting, cooking, raising the kids, living. Winter solstice is a holiday of hope. In the darkest time of the year we seek light, and we live confident that the light will return.
For me, I’m not confident what “the light” means. I hope for the best for the 2020 elections but I fear the worst. In this, I’m not alone. What the light returning means for me is that I have to – and I will – hold onto my compassion, by passion, my strength. I will reach out to my friends and my community. I will do what I can to help those who need it.
It is, at least, a mixed blessing to live through a time you know will make it to the history books, and that’s what we’re doing. That’s what 2019 was. It’s been a hell of a year. And, slowly, the wheel will turn. And we’ll survive to see it move, and the light return.