|Well, this bit was good...|
As Dave Allen once said "Annus horribilis? I'd have called it annus anus - an arsehole of a year." 2016 was the year of Brexit, Trump and a roll-call of deaths among the great and the good (the genuinely so, in the sense of actors, artists, writers and others who enriched the world and made it a better place) while truly vile individuals gained ever higher levels of power and adulation. For an awful lot of reasons, that means that when it comes to wishing people a Happy New Year for 2017, I'm setting the bar for what actually constitutes a Happy New Year pretty low. As in 'we don't all die, our countries don't turn into fascist dictatorships or post-apocalyptic hell-holes, we don't see our neighbours or ourselves dragged away and locked up or kicked to death in the middle of the night for something we said and we don't end up with World War Three'. You know, that kind of level.
|Hopefully not how Liverpool looks next year.|
There were good things too.
Pandas came off the endangered species list, for instance. A vaccine against Ebola was discovered. There's more, too. I'm struggling to remember what they all are, right now, but they were there. This interview with Steven Pinker suggests some of them (although whether those trends will continue is matter of opinion.) We shouldn't be starry-eyed and utopian - but nor should we give in and assume it's all fucked.
And on a personal level, it was a pretty good year.
My agent sold the audiobook rights to last year's crime novel. I placed a new story collection (contractual stuff ongoing; details to follow when possible.) I had two novels published. I had stories podcast with Pseudopod, and sold five reprints to Great Jones Street.
We got married.
That was pretty fucking awesome, especially thanks to all the wonderful friends and family who came along to make it such a special day. (My Mum said: "I didn't realise how popular you were!" Um, thanks Mum. I think.)
I did end up back in a day job, at least for now. The hours are tough, but weirdly I've actually got more productive, which has included not only writing the new novel (Wolf's Hill, the third Black Road book) in the mornings, but jotting down a short story longhand during the day in between times. Two projects at the same time, which is something I've never managed to do before.
I just finished that first short story today. It appears to have turned into a novelette or novella. I think
So, for 2017: let's hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and try not to despair. No, that won't prevent bad shit from happening in the coming year. It may not even prevent the worst possible shit from happening. False optimism is pointless. But giving up hope is the one sure way to ensure all the worst possible shit will definitely happen this year.
So, let's crack on, and hope that this time next year we're all still here to celebrate better days to come. And if not, let's count our blessings and try to maintain the same mindset.
Best I can come up, really.
So: Happy New Year.