It was the year my family took the cross-country trip they dreamed about.
It was the year I dove back into vinyl.
It was the year I finished the last pre-beta drafts of the Compact Universe.
It was also the year my wife had a stroke.
This last puts everything else in perspective. It makes me laugh when I hear people whine that the new Star Wars has ruined their childhood. Really, people? I have to push my wife around in a wheelchair and hope she doesn’t fall down when she does get up to walk. So I honestly don’t care about how butt hurt you are over a movie. Sorry. But that’s reality.
The same with politics. There are people with a vested interest in you believing that the sky is falling. Both sides are equally guilty of this, and I don’t say this as a way to avoid taking sides. There really is more to life than politics. When you forget that, you screwed up. Big time. It’s why I’m allergic to hardliners.
And yet, this year has reaffirmed I have a pretty good tribe of family, neighbors, church folk (Yeah. Some of them share my admiration for Led Zeppelin. Surprise!), fellow writers, various online denizens, former classmates, and coworkers. They’ve rallied around us when my wife took ill. Some of them have pushed me to do more with my writing. And of course, a lot of them were right there with me when I met my family in San Francisco before my stepson and I drove back across the country.
And I think that trip has been the defining event of the year. Route 66, which my wife, mother-in-law, and stepson have planned for years, finally came to being. Not to be outdone, I needed a trip of my own. So I drove back from San Fran after collecting some vinyl in Haight-Ashbury and a ton of trinkets in San Fran and Vegas. I saw the Rockies for the first time in my life. I also was nearly attacked by peacocks, stood outside my first legal brothel (did not go inside), and drove through snow the week of Memorial Day. Twice.
The final three Compact Universe novellas were already in the can on January 1, 2019. Storming Amargosa, the lengthy end to the Amargosa trilogy, took four rewrites before it became publishable. It should be out in July. Already, I’m planning the next chapter of that series.
I finish 2019 with my wife still with us, six years of science fiction mostly completed, and a fresh slate for the new year and new decade. Here’s hoping the 20s are better than the teens.