Having spent the last two weeks on my parents' couch suffering from near-transfusion-level anemia, I'm finally 1) back in my own bed, 2) snuggling my own cat, and 3) trying to remember how a stove works.
I'm sad to say I have not had the brain-power to write since the 11th.. Honestly, I didn't have the brainpower for anything but marathoning the entirety of Yuri! on Ice and wondering how many women in the past were actually exsanguinated by their own uteri.
2016 has been a hell of a year. The shadow of tragedy has been relentless, and today I mourn the passing of the woman who taught me that the word "heroine" is just as badass as "hero". My Princess, my General: Carrie Fisher.
The negatives have piled up this year, with shooting after shooting, the deaths of beloved idols, tragedies in Aleppo and Gatlinburg, and the political self-immolation of the U.S. and the U.K. (following campaigns that were emotionally and physically exhausting already). Living in North Carolina, I have even less to be proud of than the average liberal American.
Still, the new year is days away, and though I know the concept of 2016 is "an abstract human concept that can't bear ill will", it sure feels like this year has been out to get us. It's useful to think of it that way, because it means there's a possible end in sight, which keeps me from sliding into nihilistic oblivion.
New Years represents the mental and emotional reset that many of us desperately need. But like the chalkboards of old, things written in the past will never quite disappear, so we can't go into 2017 with a completely clean slate. We have smears and the ghosts of old words still haunting us. In January, the US inaugurates a dangerous man, and who knows what civil liberties will crumble after that?
If we can't completely erase the bad, however, we should also try not to forget about the good. I saw marches and outreach and rousing speeches, I saw people spurred into action rather than despair. I saw communities coming together after tragedy, and people celebrating not only the lives but also the causes of those idols who touched their hearts. There was Hamilton taking over broadway and the existence of Joe Biden memes.
On a more personal note, I managed to achieve almost all the goals I'd set for 2016. This was a two-fold achievement, as I had some tough objectives both personally and creatively.
I wanted to graduate my cardiac sonography program, pass my board exams, get licensed, and get a job. I did all those things.
I wanted to move back to Raleigh with my roommate and start paying off my school loan and my car. I've done those as well.
Creatively, I wanted to query Hellhound and finish the second draft of SONG OF THE HERETIC, both of which I did.
The only thing on my list from last year I didn't accomplish was writing the third of the MILLROAD ACADEMY EXORCISTS books. Honestly, I chose not to work on that. Instead, I'm drafting a new book, which called to me much more and, as something I can pitch at agents, makes more sense for where I want my career to go.
I also did a lot of fun things this year, like visiting my Words of a Feather Podcast cohost K.T. Bryski in Toronto, visiting Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine in VA, being on the cover of Countless Hues of Crimson, and narrating two books.
So, I'm not going to wipe the slate completely clean on January 1st. I'm going to hold my breath, clap the erasers, and let go of all the bad stuff that isn't useful or important to remember. Then I'm going to write my plan for 2017.
Then we're all going to kick its ass.