2017: The Good, the Bad, and the Go-Fuck-Yourself

So. 2017. That happened.

I see the last time I posted to this blog was in January 2017, and it was my 2016 year in review post. Well, there’s a good reason for why I haven’t posted anything else this past year, and it’s not just that I’ve been swamped juggling grad school, work, and commuting.

My father died in April.

I’ve been thinking about how best to write this post for almost the entire year. Should I write a detailed, blow-by-blow of his last four months of life—the confusion about his symptoms, the fear of his diagnosis, the suddenness of his passing? Or do I just say it plain, leaving it bare for people to take in the fact on its own? I still don’t know the answer to that, so I’m just going to get it over with.

My father started having back pain in January. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in March. He died in April.

To top it all off, my sister has been suffering from flare ups of her various chronic conditions this entire year. She is now too disabled to work, and we’re trying to figure out how to work through that. I’m only working part time while I’m in school, and my mom is mostly living off the annuity she receives from the government—about a third of what would have been my father’s pension—so things are pretty tight right now money-wise.

Oh, and yeah, I ended up in the emergency room. Twice.

Fun times.

It really didn’t help that almost everyone in my family was going through medical problems this year (my mother had hip surgery in January, too), but of course it had to happen the year that Obamacare suffered some major setbacks because of the constant sabotaging and attempts at repealing it from the assholes in charge. Living in constant fear of losing my health insurance, and my sister being incapable of signing up with the insurance offered in our area because she would then lose all of her specialists who have been working with her for years, was not exactly how I wanted to spend my grieving process.

But there have been a couple good things to come out of this hell year. I received a scholarship to help ease my crushing student debt for grad school, for one. I also got a promotion at work—still part time and only a couple thousand more a year, but still, I’m moving up. And then there’s some great news—my brother got engaged! So not everything is terrible. Just most things.

Obviously, I didn’t get much time to write this year, but I haven’t abandoned it completely. I’ve worked on a few projects and I’m waiting to hear back from some things that I’ve submitted. But I didn’t want to push myself this year, not with what happened, not with what I’ve been dealing with. I have hope, however, that things will improve.

2018, you better be good.

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2016, A Review

2016 is gone. Done. Over. A lot happened in 2016 around the world, a lot that was terrifying, unpleasant, and tragic. But as the new year starts, I’ve been looking back at what happened in my own life this past year, and I found there was far more good than bad. In fact, it’s been quite a ride.

As a writer, this was an amazing year. I not only had my fiction and poetry published for the first time, I had three short stories and one poem published. Four different works by me were accepted by four different online journals. Honestly, I had just been hoping for one. I don’t know if I’ll meet that same number this year, but it sure as hell was a great start to what I hope will be a long career (“career” may be stretching it a bit, as the grand total of money earned from my writing in 2016 was around $50).

In terms of my actual-paying-career, however, things have been crazy. I had a full-time job at the beginning of the year, making enough that I contemplated buying a new car (by “new” I mean “used car in the area of $3000”). But I hated that job and the environment I was in. So I thought long and hard about what sort of career I truly wanted to pursue. Getting into publishing hadn’t panned out, but I did have nine years of library experience, and I kept coming back to the idea of finally pursuing a degree in library science. I had considered it before but didn’t think it was a good idea because libraries are consistently struggling to make ends meet. But I love libraries, and I think they will continue on into the future in some form or another. So I made the leap and enrolled in grad school. I quit my full-time job to become a part-time library assistant. Financially, a dumb-ass move, and it has not been easy to deal with the sudden cut in my paycheck, but I’m pursuing what I love, so there’s that at least.

For 2017, I have a lot planned. I’m continuing grad school, and I’m looking into internships and fellowships I can apply for. I’m cleaning up a novel, and I hope to start submitting it to agents/publishers in the next few months. I have another novel I’ve submitted to agents, with no response, that I think might need some editing to get some attention, but I intend to clean that one up and start sending it out again later this year. I have a couple short stories ready to send out and a few more in mind. I have some poems waiting for a publisher, and I have plans for two books of poetry that I want to get started on this year. I have plenty to keep me busy in all areas of my life, and I hope that I can meet at least some of these goals.

2017 – let’s hope it’ll be a good year.

Grad School, Ugh.

I promise I have a real blog post in the works, but this summer I decided to go to grad school, and so I’ve been completely busy with applying to school, going to work, and trying to keep up with my fiction writing. And now grad school has started this week. So I will continue to be busy, but I’m not abandoning my new born baby blog here. Promise!