Alright. I’m going to use some strong language so Grandma, if you clicked this link and are reading this post, skip a couple paragraphs so you can still love me.
Holy fucking shitballs, 2016, what even did I just live through?
Okay, Grandma, it’s safe again.
If I didn’t hate Dickens so much I’d be quoting two cities up in here like “It was the best of years, it was the worst of years.”
I don’t know how to feel about this past year. Though I do know how I feel right now and I can’t say it’s ending on the best of notes. But we’ll get there.
I’ve been getting up at 3:30 AM most days for over a year and it’s done magical things for my writing. I mean, yes, it sucks, and only demons and broken promises are up at that time, but having a chunk of time that is mine has made a world of difference. I don’t feel pressured to work on the house or do paperwork or take care of something, I just get to sit and write, sit and outline, and sit and edit. I spend the nice weather on the front porch, watching the junkies try to break into my car, and the cold weather by the fire getting my seat taken by dogs.
With this time, I’ve had an amazing year for productivity. I finished one book at the beginning of the year, a romance/erotica. I wrote two others, a fairly hilarious book about a fake wizard and a heart breaking punk-rock contemporary. All three have been edited and spit-shined, along with the heist book I wrote a couple years ago. One is being queried, about to be joined by a second.
I’ve written comedy scripts. I wrote a short film. I’m ending the year writing a ghost film script and have a western plotted. I wrote a pretty funny letter to the editor. I wrote sad things. I wrote things that made people laugh. I wrote things that made people cry, yell at me, smile. I wrote things that made other people write things.
Shaun and I started shooting videos this year (not porn.) I’m proud of what we’ve made so far and excited for a lot of the scripts we haven’t been able to bring to life yet.
I started doing stand-up again. I’ve been off my game lately but I’m hoping to get back to it next year. There’s nothing I love more than being involved with comedy and fear kept me off the stage so long. But it’s okay now, I’ve got a tattoo for that.
It was a year for travel, too. We all went to Belize in February and now that it’s raining here, I dream about that beach house, about the Caribbean, and about the locals where we were. There were flights to Minnesota, South Dakota, New Orleans, and Vegas. Trex and I drove solo to Montana and back for Thanksgiving. There was camping at the coast and camping in the forest and camping in our amazing little trailer. Not enough, but maybe more next year. We hiked to waterfalls, we rode bikes, we visited the river.
I learned about our house this year, too. I did things that terrified me. I scraped paint 35′ off the ground and removed 135 year-old corbels. We’ve fixed roofs, gutters, plumbing, landscaped, cleaned and painted. Shit, I even laid a floor in the cottage recently. I still have a lot of fear to get over working on this house, fear of doing it wrong and ruining something that can’t be replaced, but I’m slowly overcoming it. Step by step, this place is getting better.
In the face of all that it’s easy to forget why I think 2016 was still a terrible year. I don’t want to get into details but let me sum up:
Mystery Stomach Illness still has my food limited to all of chicken, bread, rice, and eggs. I haven’t been able to drink or eat freely since about June and no doctors seem concerned. When I told one I couldn’t stay awake through the day she advised me to “Have a protein shake, take a multi-vitamin.” It was on one of those multivitamins that I recently did enough damage to result in one temporary crown, two root canals, a hydrocodone prescription and a pending visit with a specialists because my face is melting or some shit. Go, body!
And all the celebrity deaths. The bombings, the mass shootings, the growing divide between sides and our inability to find a middle-ground. Finding out exactly how racist and anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-equal rights our country is.
A president-elect who’s going to get us all killed by twitter. And twitter, who won’t shut down the biggest troll we’ve ever seen.
Between politics and illness, I don’t feel funny anymore. I feel crushed. I feel like there’s a clock at the back of my mind, ticking away the seconds until the really bad shit starts happening. Half the time I feel hopeless. Half the time I feel motivated to fight, to mock, to write harder, to write about the orange one. Because I also got this tattoo this year, and it burns when I stay silent.
I don’t know what the right thing to do is, and I’m no Spider Jerusalem, but I can’t think of a better guide to get through this.
It’s easy to pretend like 2017 will be better but that’s staring at the clouds as you rush blindly into the fray. 2017 will be a fight. 2017 will be a battle. At least, it will if you believe in not remaining silent, if you believe in the rights of all your fellow men and women, across the world. Silence and normalization only allows evil men to reign unchecked and I refuse to see that happen in our country.
So in this next year, keep writing. Keep yelling. Keep protesting and calling representatives and standing with others. Fight with comedy, fight with your pen, fight with your mind and your fists. Because it’s not over until we stop fighting and allow the worst to roll by, hoping our silence will keep us out of its crosshairs.
With all that said, love your family this holiday season. Love your friends, laugh, and bask in how good life can be. After this shitastrophe of a year, we all could use a few laughs, a lot of hugs, and piles of amazing food.
The best to you and yours. ❤