2017 In Review


You want more details, dear reader? Well, then, read on.


I suspected last year that I would be more focused on short stories than novels, and that was absolutely true.

The story I began last December (the one about bike generators) I brought to Paradise Lost. After receiving some thoughtful critique, I revised it and sent it into the world. It’s personal, it’s passionate, and it’s probably too weird and too dark to sell in most markets right now, but it was absolutely the story I needed to write.

I have another two stories in various states of readiness. One, which I wrote for a contest earlier this year, I’m rewriting to make it appropriate for other markets. Another, a flash piece, I’m sitting on until I can get the research done. Yes, research for a flash-length story, because SF readers are smarter than I am.

I also began a novel for NaNoWriMo, but God, was that half-baked. I’ll probably turn it into a short story or novelette.

Frankly, I don’t have the energy or the time available to commit to anything longer than a novelette.

I recently bought a membership to WorldCon, which I’m ashamed to admit is my first. I don’t know if I can make it to San Jose, but at least I’ll be voting in the Hugo Awards.


I started drawing again this year.

When I was in middle school, I used to make draftsman-like depictions of futuristic skyscrapers, fantasy dwellings, and other buildings, in the style of Disney Imagineers. My birth father, a skilled artist, was another inspiration.

It was around the same time that I developed an essential tremor. I tried medication, but there were serious side-effects and the cost was a burden. My handwriting, never very good, really suffered, and eventually I couldn’t draw anything like a straight like that didn’t look like a ramen noodle.

During the suck that was this year, I recalled numerous attempts over the years to re-establish a drawing habit. I’d dabble, then move on to something else, gathering all kinds of watercolors, soft pencils, high-quality paper, and other artistic detritus. After finding some sketches I made during Hurricane Irma at a friend’s house, I wondered if I was overlooking some stunted part of my creativity.

Then I thought f–k it, and I just started drawing again.

My style is … weird, and I need to work on perspective and volume, but there’s promise. I’ve always been a visual storyteller. As difficult as putting words to paper has been this year, drawing has been a lot easier.

I’ll continue making art in some capacity next year. Whether it’s one drawing a day or whenever I damn well feel like it, it doesn’t matter.


Without divulging too much, work has been tumultuous, and I ended up with a job that was different than the one I started with. Work stress has had the biggest impact on my health this year. Still, I’m better off than I was 5 years ago.

Mental Health

I’ve been taking St. John’s Wort regularly for a few months. After years of navel-gazing, wondering if I just had a problem with perspective, I accepted that it’s just a chemical imbalance. You can’t accept the things you cannot change if you’re having an anxiety attack.


I took on a larger role in my church than I would have ever expected. During my back-and-forth regarding discernment, the Nominating Committee at my church tapped me to run for the Board of Trustees. I did.

I won a seat.

My time on the board has been a tremendous learning experience. You discover exactly what people skills you lack. You also learn what day-to-day governance is really like. As George Washington says in Hamilton, “Winning is easy. Governing is harder.”

I’ve largely come to terms with my identity as a UU Christian. It’s going to be tough opposing both evangelicals hijacking Jesus for a theocratic agenda, as well as remaining in dialogue with secular humanists who are extremely skeptical of my religious leanings, especially with the political and religious landscape we all contend with now.


(I’m reserving this for another post.)


I miss SUUSI, and Asheville, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Taking vacation is tricky due to some corporate reshuffling, and getting to Asheville is a huge pain for a number of reasons, but I really want this to happen.

I still have yet to make it to a literary convention. I want to make that happen, but I don’t know how yet.

Maybe 2018 is the year I finally make it to Nara, Japan. I’m too afraid to make plans, since they’ve fallen apart in the past. Regardless, I’m prioritizing making at least one non-religious, non-professional trip.

Final Thoughts

2017 was a bigger trash fire than 2016, but my personal life saw tremendous growth. Finding and accepting limits, embracing small victories, surviving day-to-day. There’s no going back, but there is still a way forward.