2013 no more

Boy, am I glad this year’s about over. Angsty post warning.

NO MORE
Buddy, you don’t know the half of it.

There’s an app that Facebook is making available to everyone to share their “year in review” as a combination of photos and posts which garnered the most likes. This is the first one the app suggested for me when I went to preview my year in review:

BLARP!

To my dismay, it really didn’t get much better than that. I haven’t posted my year in review because, frankly, it’s dismal. I didn’t finish any books this year, as promised. I was involved in a car wreck mere days into January, which was the beginning of what I can only described as one of the shittiest years I’ve lived through.

The highlights of the year for me can really be boiled down to this: getting Little E in a school that’s perfect for him (a selection process that caused no end of strife at home), attending three conventions (OVGE, GlitchCon, Konsplosion) and having fun at each of them, actually making a buck off of VWORP!1 in ebook form thanks to Storybundle, which then enabled me to throw a bit of money at Little E’s sixth birthday (he still loves his science books and Ninja Turtles), and finally landing a job, even though for a variety of reasons I’m fairly certain this is not a long-term fix, but rather the one that allows me to eat while I find the next job that I stay a few years at. If, indeed, anyone can be that lucky anymore. I also initiated two ongoing creative projects, the Escape Pod podcast and Kasatochi, both of which have been a lot of fun, even if they’re only reaching, for the moment, an extremely narrow audience. How sad is it that one of my 2013 highlights has been that Doctor Who was pretty good this season?

The low points: the car wreck. Ever-escalating trouble at home – it seemed like everything seemed to be justification for a big fight and I could get nothing right. Xena vanishing and never coming home (I have an uneasy feeling she’ll turn up the next time the pasture is brush-hogged). This was the year of shit falling apart. I like to think that one of my strengths is patching stuff back together, or figuring out a workaround to make do until a slightly more permanent solution presents itself (see “job” above), and over the course of the year I found myself doing that with a desk, a computer, various parts of the house, pieces of clothing, much-loved toys. But how do you do it with a marriage? Things have calmed down slightly since the Great Getting of the Job, but how do I know this isn’t also just a quick fix that keeps things moving just a little bit further down the road before breaking down again?

I’ve seen less of my friends this year (can’t afford to go anywhere and hang out), more of my friends have moved away, there’s been less money to spend on anything. Over the past two years of unemployment, I took up cooking with a vengeance, and once upon a time that was a good thing, but the recurring theme of 2013 has been that, whatever I do, it’s not enough. Never enough.

And the world in general… it seems like humanity, in wide zoom, and America in particular, is getting stupider. Shoot from the hip. Forward those hyperpartisan memes! Don’t even think! Don’t even check on what they say! Click SHARE! Now, now, now! You are a vital cog in the political machine! You must be political! You must take a side or you’re nothing!

No thank you. No more. I’m opting out of the notion that I must take up some kind of ideological arms and risk long-standing friendships. I’ve seen friends tear into each other online this year in a way I’ve never seen before. We are getting stupider. I think that’s why one of my things this year has been to ramp up my creative output, in one medium or another, because I’d rather bring some enjoyment to people’s lives than another damned cut-and-posted political post. I’d rather put something new on the table, something that’s fun and maybe a little incomprehensible that people will have to work out for themselves, and run away snickering. Pulling the pin on a grenade full of fun and taking shelter to watch the results, like posting a nonsensical picture of a llama on someone’s Facebook wall and waiting for the “wha….???”. That’s me. (That’s also, not coincidentally, why battle-scarred llama-poster Kevin up there is one of my best friends.)

But 2013 has been showing me that the world increasingly has no use for someone like that – for someone like me. And yet, in my gut, all I can think is that the world has never needed that sort of thing more. I can’t suddenly stop and just start being someone else now. More people should join me.

And that’s the kind of year where a picture of a screaming llama becomes one of the highlights of your year.

No more.

Begone, 2013. I’ll be happy to see the back of you.

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