Every year, I look back at last years goals and try to assess what worked and what did not work for me. 2018 was an interesting year, bringing a considerable amount of stress and anxiety — and I’ve noticed a number of others have experienced the same, if not more in that regard.
Just looking at my goals from the previous year, I can see that I’ve accomplished a couple of things: my blogging year was pretty consistent and I did manage to launch and successfully fund a kickstarter, among other things. But some of the major projects I was hoping to complete (finish the novel, run a half marathon) did not reach completion.
During the second half of the year, I’ve especially been felt a sense of stagnation. I stopped running, attending few writing events, and in general felt that there was little progress on my personal projects.
But this feeling of stagnation is a bit of self deception, because if I consider things as a whole, then it’s actually been phenomenal year for me in terms of writing and travel — a year I could and should be proud of. So, instead of worrying about what didn’t work for me in the past year, here are some of the good things that have gone down in 2018.
Writing & Publishing
I published two chapbooks in 2018 — wait, let me say that again, I published two chapbooks in 2018. Hot damn. Considering that I published NO print chapbooks prior to 2018, that’s a pretty damn big deal.
The first chapbook is Your Molten Heart / A Seed to Hatch, a collection of erasure poetry compiled form the pages of Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyers that I funded through Kickstarter and then self published as a limited edition chapbook. It was such a joy to be able to put these poems together — poems I wasn’t sure would be collected in any other way.
The second chapbook is Every Girl Becomes the Wolf (Finishing Line Press), which Laura Madeline Wiseman and I jointly co-authored. The poems explore the feminine in fairy tales, myth, and pop culture, spinning alternative conceptions of wicked stepmothers, trapped daughters, witches, and monsters. I’m so proud of the work Madeline and I have done together and to see this work out in the world.
In general, collaboration has been where my strongest points of growth over the past year. Madeline and I gathered have been gathering weekly for a few years now, and we’ve developed a rhythm and flow for cooperatively compiling and editing poems. It’s always a delight to be a part of that process, and I learn so much from witnessing how she puts together and edits words. I feel that I have become a stronger writer since we started collaborating. Together, we published seven poems:
- “A Thaumaturgy of Animals” and “Aubade of the Slain Choosers,” Rune Bear
- “A Gathering of Baba Yagas,” They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing, edited by Simone Muench and Dean Rader, Black Lawrence Press
- “Reflection of the Blind,” Eye to the Telescope Issue 29 – The Dark
- “Pouring the Pennyroyal,” “Fish Bone Wishes,” and “Cento of the Golden Key,” Priestess & Hierophant 5, Darkness and Light
Another major collaboration over the past year has been ongoing work in writing and editing episodes of a webseries. I’m not sure how much more I should say at this point, but all the episodes have been drafted and we’re working on final edits before going into pre-production. We don’t have a timeline yet on when the series will be finished.
My personal work has been progressing a bit more slowly, with me jumping between multiple projects and finishing few. I sent out only about a dozen submissions in 2018 and was lucky enough to have had two short stories and a few poems published (two reprints) — these were:
- “A Dream of This Life,” Luna Station Quarterly, Issue 035
- “Missed Connections / Red Head at the House of Needles,” Drunk Monkeys
- “Ursula,” Bekah Steimel’s Blog
- “Beware of Attics,” Undead: A Poetry Anthology of Ghouls, Ghosts, and More, Apex Publications
- “Miss Piggy: Our Lady of Owning That Shit,” Pittsburgh Poetry Houses, Vol III, Issue 4
I’ve also tried to stay active in supporting the writing and scifi community. I’ve done eight spotlight interviews on my blog to support poets and at the end of the year began co-hosting the New Books in Poetry podcast with my first interview appearing in December. I held a couple of book giveaways. And I’ve attended WorldCon, Silicon Valley Comic Con, and a handful of open mics and readings.
Honestly, it’s only as I’m sitting here writing this that I’m starting to realize how much dang-gone work I’ve actually done over the course of this year.
It’s been another big year for travel — with my most favorite trip being the nine days I spent with my sister in Egypt and Petra. I’ve never experienced as much awe as when our taxi cab wove through Cairo, turned a corner, and revealed the great pyramids — ancient and stunning against a vibrantly blue sky. One of my favorite things was sitting on a rooftop, drinking some beer, and watching the sun set behind those monumental structures. It was an amazing experience.
My day job also sent me off across the world, with trips to conferences and industrial sites in Quebec, Canada (during the middle of winter) and Düsseldorf, Germany. These are mostly whirlwind trips, with me flying in long enough for the event and then flying out again. although I was able to manage a stopover in Amsterdam for a few days of fun.
My running goals fell flat in 2018. I let myself go lax on any kind of a running schedule and now I’m rather out of shape in that regard. So, as I start getting back into it, I’m going to have to rebuild my distance almost from scratch.