2016bestnine

This was a year.

Good things first: I have a house. More than just a house I have a space that is mine and a place that is ours and I am such an introvert homebody Cancerian moon child that this brings me a good deal of joy.

Also within that house I am currently sitting in my new office which was supposed to be finished in October and it was not. It’s still not, but it’s finished enough for me to start moving my boxes and my books and my statues of bunnies into.

I finished a draft of the new book. I think I’m going to change the vast majority of it, but hey, it’s a draft. It still counts.

I drank a lot of sparkling wine with several truly lovely people and I turned 38 years old and celebrated my 2nd wedding anniversary and I ran around in the snow in my own yard in October when we got the first of what appears to be quite a lot of snow.

There were some good things.

And there were a lot of other things.

I feel like I don’t have words for things a lot of the time which makes me feel like a failure as a writer but I just don’t. The words aren’t there, not for blogs or tweets, not the right ones to capture the gamut of emotions from disappointment to anger to sadness to fear that seem to be on constant rotation this year in no particular order.

That’s not the way my brain works. I can’t say how I’m feeling or react to the world in the moment because combinations of 26 letters never sound right the first time, in the sharpness of the here and now. I’m a rewriter more than I’m a writer. I have to keep trying until I get it right. So my words for this emotional storm cloud of a year are going to slowly find their ways into fiction instead.

The world feels different now, or maybe it’s that the world is not yet the place I had wanted to believe it already was. I feel different now and so the book needs to be different, too.  Maybe that’s why I’ve been having so much trouble with it, because it is and always was a book that was somewhere in the future and things are different now and it had to wait for me to catch up to it.

Maybe I’m at the place in space and time this story needs me to be in, finally.

I don’t know yet. I’m still figuring it out.

I do know it is a winter book, though, so it helps to be covered in snow.

And I do have a lot of snow.

snow

 

Two end of 2016 thoughts that probably would have been tweets if I were on Twitter more:

  • I am not moving to Canada even though I actually have the ability to, I am staying right here.
  • I want you to know that I will never want that wagon wheel coffee table.

 

A request of sorts:

I turned off my website email because I can’t keep up. I know there are technically other ways on the internet to attempt to reach me but I can’t keep up with Tumblr/Instagram/etc messages either. Especially when they’re often flooded with people asking google-able questions about The Night Circus that seem to be part of homework assignments? Google is your friend. I would like to be friendly, too, but I only have so much time and even less energy.

Please be patient with me. The last few years have been really, really hard. Not just this one. Trying to write a book in the middle of all of it has been hard. I am doing better than I was while also realizing I had not been doing nearly as well as I had thought I was before. I am trying to be patient with myself, too.

I have to get where I’m going one step at a time and I have no idea how many steps there are.

That was a metaphor about how I can’t tell you when this book is going to be out because I don’t know when it’s going to be finished, and trust me, you won’t want to read it until it’s finished. It wouldn’t have an ending for one thing, and there would be pages missing in the middle and then the bees might get out and oh, now I’ve said too much.

 

Annual review of media things, 2016 version

Books

2016-book-stack

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

I had somehow managed to never read this until now and I regret it immensely. Easily a new very favorite. Such pitch-perfect voice and tone and everything. I recently picked up the new Shirley Jackson biography by Ruth Franklin & I’m looking forward to that, too.

milk and honey – Rupi Kaur

I’ve been trying to read more poetry lately and this volume is brimming with tiny, truth-stuffed gems. (Though I admit my favorite part of this particular edition is the forward that begins with “i don’t feel like the girl who wrote milk and honey anymore” because oh, I feel that feeling.)

The Secret Place – Tana French

I adore Tana French and when I saw she had a new book out this year (The Trespasser) I realized I was behind so I read The Secret Place to catch up. It might very well be my favorite of the bunch so far. The structure is brilliant and it nails a particular teenage girl-ness that I haven’t seen done so well before. Any Tana French is my go-to detective/crime recommendation lately.

Death by Video Game – Simon Parkin

This is an excellent book about games & gaming that is not quite as dire as the title might suggest. I read bits of it aloud to Adam in the car this summer while we were waiting for our movie to start at the drive-in theatre, an environment that sharpened the observation that video games are still such a comparatively young art form. (I read several different books on gaming/game history this year and this was my favorite.)

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places – Colin Dickey

I’m not even finished with this one yet but it has to go on the bests list. It’s what you might expect from the title and more: a thoughtful look at the stories behind the ghosts and the times/places that created them. I have a thing for haunted spaces and I’m learning things that I didn’t know about places that I’d already been aware of and finding out about new ones. (Also I used to live within walking distance of the Haunted Place in Chapter 1.)

Atlas Obscura – Joshua Foer, Ella Morton, Dylan Thuras

I have loved Atlas Obscura via the internet for ages and now I get to have them on my coffee table and it is delicious. Perfect book for opening to a random page and learning something nifty. Here, I’ll find a random one for you, and I really did just flip the book open to see what came up, bibliomancy style: Page 333. Cincinnati’s Lost Subway. Apparently there is an never completed subway system beneath Cincinnati. (Aside to the bibliomancy gods: I see what you did there.)

 

Games

Preface because I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this before: we currently have something like five different game systems in our house but the PS4 is the go-to. It is my favorite, to the point where the dulcet tones of the home screen might very well be my Proust questionnaire answer for “What sound or noise do you love?” (but in a three-way tie with the crackling sound of a spoon breaking into a crème brûlée and also Nick Offerman’s giggle).

If you are not a game person but you are a book person or a story person please give Firewatch a try. It is beautiful and thoughtful and funny and touching and I still think about it months and months after first playing it. It’s not challenging and it’s not very long and it feels like a playable story. I might replay it next year. I never did find that turtle.

We haven’t finished Rise of the Tomb Raider yet but I love it, especially the way it does this turn-a-corner-and-see-something-amazing thing with the environments. I’m a sucker for a good exploration game and I like puzzles and while I liked the previous Tomb Raider a lot so far this one is balancing its different elements a little better. Looking forward to playing more of it.

I have been escaping into remastered Skyrim since November. I played the original back when it came out and the remaster is gorgeous. It has been kind of meditative, taking long meandering walks from Solitude to Riften and throwing fireballs at the occasional mudcrab. Meditative and therapeutic. And it allows me to say things aloud like “Why do these vampires have so many cabbages?”

 

Movies

Arrival was probably my favorite thing I saw in the theatre this year and I was delighted to find the Ted Chiang short story it was based on in Adam’s extensive SFF collection when we got home.

I will not admit how many times I have watched Zootopia already but I will probably watch it more and then again and possibly one more time after that and I will probably watch Moana just as much when I can.

 

TV

I don’t have cable or internet right now so I don’t really get to watch TV.  Sometimes I’m sad about it. Mostly I’m not.

(I did enjoy Stranger Things even though I had some issues with it. Dustin is my favorite because of course he is.)

(Every year I do this it becomes more and more obvious that I am a books/games/music person more than I am a movies/tv person.)

 

Music

New-to-me artists I discovered this year and love to little bits: Oh Wonder, Kaleo, Perfume, Aurora.

New albums by artists I already loved: Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool & Birdy’s Beautiful Lies.

I always pick a song of the year and I had too many to choose from this year, too many tracks on repeat (Bon Iver’s “33 ‘GOD’” & Sia’s “Alive” & Kaleo’s “Way Down We Go”) and then I thought about how I always post a video to go with my now traditional New Year’s Eve blog and this came to mind and is another one of those songs I listened to over and over again and the first time I saw this video for it I couldn’t stop smiling.

I think that’s probably a good thing to say goodbye to this year with.

Today I am thirty-five years old, which means this blog is five years old (and flax-golden tales are four).

Five years sounds comparatively short but July of 2008 feels like a lifetime ago. More than a lifetime.

I’m not the girl I was then. I don’t think that girl could have imagined this particular version of “where do you think you’ll be in five years?” and that girl had a very good imagination.

I don’t think she even would have believed that I live in Manhattan.

And as much as life is overwhelming at times and I’m still figuring it all out, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

At some point over the last couple of years I starting posting less about personal things and I know that was partially because more people were listening and also because there was (and is) a good deal of negative personal stuff that doesn’t warrant talking about.

But somewhere in there I stopped talking about the positive stuff, too. And I think it’d be nice to start this fifth year of the blog, this thirty-fifth year of me, with something positive.

This is Adam.

DSC_0315

We met at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto while I was on that first whirlwind of a book tour in October of 2011. We got to know each other through emails and Skype chats and visits and vacations and then he was my date to my sister’s wedding last summer and I never gave him back.

He does handstands and takes fantastic photographs and reads more than anyone I’ve ever met.

I know I don’t have to tell the internet about my personal life and I won’t be oversharing or even sharing all that much, really, but I’m tired of saying “I” when I mean “we” and he makes me happier than I have ever been. He’s a gigantic, important part of my life and I love him. He keeps me steady on the crazy roller coaster that is life right now so that I can actually enjoy it. I thought the internet might like to meet him.

So this is thirty-five. It sounds strangely round as a number. I have no idea what the next five years might bring but I’m sure there will be reading and writing and cocktails and cupcakes and birthdays and stories and unimaginable adventures.

We shall see.

tarragon & bone

tarragon rug

This is the aforementioned tarragon and bone rug. Technically it has three different colors, though, so I’m not entirely sure what to call the pale pale shimmery green, as I’m guessing the darker one is tarragon and the background is bone.

The internet tells me that the word tarragon derives from something French for little dragon, which I like even if it’s not necessarily true just because the internet said it was.

But the fact that my living room floor is covered in swirls of little dragon herb green is rather fun and quite comfy.

Have yet to determine if it goes with the teal chairs, since the teal chairs have yet to arrive, but it blends well with everything else, so that’s something. I forgot how long it takes to sink into a new home, especially since I never properly sunk into the last apartment because I was travelling so much and also there was construction outside my windows that started every day at 7am which did not make it particularly cozy or relaxing.

I am likely the only person who has ever moved to Manhattan and delighted in how quiet it is. Comparatively.

I am assembling a puzzle of cozy homeyness and I don’t quite have all the pieces yet, but it’s getting there. I have books on shelves and I’m starting to hang things on walls and it feels warm despite the fact that it is far too cold outside.

I’m getting to know the outside, too, though slowly because it is cold. Discovering corners to linger with cocktails and delicious food, trying places on to see if they will become regular haunts. Though the at-home comfy is taking precedence over the outside comfy for the moment.

I found a place to buy loaves of freshly baked gluten-free bread so I can cut the slices as thick as I like (and then cover them with goat cheese and fig spread). I am in love with the fact that anything, anything can be ordered and delivered to your door here, and particularly delighted that sushi arrives in 15 minutes as opposed to the almost-hour that was standard in Boston. Though I suspect almost-instant sushi could also be dangerous.

I’m still unpacking. I just unpacked the rest of my shoes yesterday and half of them are still in a pile in the closet. Most of my office is still in boxes. The “catch up on email” that was near the top of the to-do list for January is still nowhere near to being crossed off despite the fact that January is slipping away.

At this rate I’m just hoping I’ll be through with the cardboard boxes by the time February shows up.

But I’m cozying up the writing cave, so I can spend most of February and March working on that not-yet-novel shaped thing my brain has been itching to get back to, though over the last while it was often too busy being tired to itch.

I think letting it sleep past 7am and not waking it up with beeping and crashing and jackhammers has helped. It’s feeling somewhat well-rested and it’s starting to get itchy again and I actually have a desk chair now, so that should be nicely writing conducive.

The fact that the calendar has little on it beyond writing and home-creating is delicious and delightful, and I can only hope that the writing goes as comparatively smoothly as the decorating has so far, building a new space piece by piece.

This post has been a long time coming and I suppose that’s fitting, since it’s mostly about not having time to write. Apparently that includes proper blog posts. Though this is not a proper blog post, this is a long rambling thing about what my life has been like lately.

I am not saying this is how it goes for every author, the more authors I meet the more I realize that it’s a strange sort of career where everyone’s experience is unique despite some overlapping elements. There’s a lot more to being a writer than writing, between book promotion and public speaking and signing things.

The Night Circus came out last September. I spent the weeks leading up to it doing interviews and Q&As and trying not to freak out about the whole thing. I’d also moved over the summer so I was still in cardboard box land.

From September until mid November I was on book tour, or doing book-related things abroad. This involved near-constant travel, I was never in any one location for more than a couple of days at most. I was on more airplanes in the first month than I’d been on in my entire life beforehand.

Here’s the thing about book tours: Yes they are fabulous and exciting and it’s wonderful to meet people in so many different cities but they are also physically and emotionally exhausting. I’m not sure it can be properly explained, it’s likely one of those situations that is near impossible to understand unless you’re the person in it. I feel like I have a better understanding of it now, having gone through it, and a better idea of how I react and what I need to do to keep myself sane, but it was a learn by doing sort of thing.

(And by “learn by doing” I mean “learn by having a near breakdown in the middle of an airport.”)

I am endlessly thankful that having a theatre background makes the whole public speaking thing easier to handle, but being a writer still involves more talking than I’d expected. And it’s hard to find a balance when I’m relating the same stories and answering similar questions, I start to feel repetitive and awkward and sometimes my social anxiety kicks in despite the actor training.

The strangest thing, for me, at least, and this might warrant a separate thoughtful post of its own, is the sudden transition between being the center of attention in a room filled with people to being alone in an unfamiliar hotel room.

(Side note: in two hotel rooms on my tour the concierge left a bottle of wine and two glasses. I still cannot decide if it would be more or less depressing to have a single glass. Which one is a harsher reminder that you’re alone?)

December should not count as a month off because it has holidays in it, and for most of January I was too tired to function.

At the end of January I was on a mini-tour, in a different city every day for a week, and then I had a few days off and then I was in Toronto in early February, which was actually lovely because I heart Canada.

But that means it was mid-February before I was really able to start properly recovering from tour mode.

And it would have been fabulous if that meant I could sit down and work on my next book that has been languishing for months but I also have long-neglected email to deal with and extra content type things to work on for various upcoming paperback editions. More Q&As, this time from more countries, and now people send me books they want me to read and say nice things about and did I mention that there are a few cardboard boxes kicking around from last summer and I’m likely going to be moving again this fall? I’m also just tired, still, and some days grocery shopping or laundry or putting on shoes takes more energy than it should.

Also, my desk chair is broken.

All these things take time. Sure, a lot of the individual things aren’t that complicated or time-consuming but once you start adding them up they eat a lot of time. And I need to allot time to blogging and tweeting and try to have a life in there somewhere, too.

It gets hard to separate work time from non-work time with this sort of job. I have an office (I ordered a new desk chair) but it’s not like I’m in there from 9 to 5 because I don’t have typical days so I end up feeling guilty at 10pm when I’m sitting around eating gelato instead of answering emails even when I’ve spent all day working. This is a mental thing I’m aware of but I still struggle with it, a lot. I’m trying to be better about taking weekends off.

And then there’s that added complication of having people actually waiting for this book. No one was waiting for the circus. I got to write the circus in a bubble, and now the bubble is gone, it will be the only bubble book, ever. I am thrilled that I already had several other stories in varying degrees of not-yet-novel-shaped because if I was staring at a blank page right now I know it would be worse.

For comparison: the circus took five years to write (and rewrite), and I wasn’t dealing with book tours and outside pressure while I was working on it. I am hoping that I will have a draft of my next novel done at some point this year, but right now I have a few months and then a fairly busy summer (my sister is getting married in August, yay!) and then I’ll be touring again in the fall and then it will be Mayan calendar end of the world time and then 2013 because when you reach the end of a calendar you get a new one.

I’m also not going to write faster just for the sake of having the next book out sooner. I want to write the best book I can despite the complications of time and the general busyness my life has taken on. If I can do that this year, that’ll be fabulous. It’ll also mean the earliest that book could possibly be available would be very late next year or more likely sometime in 2014, because once I’m done with it it’s still a long way from being a finished shiny book.

So yeah, that’s the rough idea of why I don’t have as much time to write as I’d like.  I am learning to make time for it, though, all of this is a learning process. I have a whole new life and I’m trying to get the hang of it but I’m still a toddler so I have tendencies to fall down and cry and need a cookie and a hug.

And if blog posts are few and far between and I’m slow on email replies for the next while, I’m sorry. I’m trying to write another book, because really, that part is my actual job.

If you read this whole thing I’m impressed and I feel you deserve a picture of a kitten. (If you skimmed just to get to the kitten, that’s okay, too.)

 

I don’t know what to say about 2011.

This year was too full to be easily condensed into a December 31st blog post.

Everything looks different than it did this time last year, and only partially because I have new contact lenses.

I have a new life, in so many new ways.

I’m still adjusting.

Only one star in my hair this year. That’s as much as I can handle at the moment, though I also have the moon around my neck.

(I suppose now I have some sort of tradition of New Year’s Eve webcam photos in which I don’t look at the camera.)

I thought a lot about what the song of the year was, but in the end there wasn’t any competition.

 

It was an almost-ten-minute-long song kind of year. An angel kissin’ on a sinner kind of year.

A frightened trapeze swinger kind of year.

Apparently safety nets are overrated.

So, hello, 2012. I hear you’re supposed to be the end of the world.

Strange how endings feel so much like beginnings.

I get a lot of spam comments on the blog. Like a lot a lot, so I apologize if real comments get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish real comments from spam, like this morning there was this one:

Hello, you used to write magnificent, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your tremendous writings.

Which made me feel sad until I noticed all the other information just wanted to sell me an iPhone 4s, and I already have one. It has a fabulous Leontine Greenberg GelaSkin and everything:

But yeah, I miss my tremendous writings, too. Not that I’m certain I ever wrote magnificent (or magnificently), but I used to be able to write vaguely thoughtful things and I’m sorry that I haven’t in a while to the point where I feel sad about spam comments trying to sell me things I already have. Though usually they’re trying to sell me Zunes, which I do not have and do not want. Also a lot of them lately are about babies and escort services. Not usually at the same time.

I am working on two other blog posts, one is a belated tour catch-up with photos that I did manage to get off of my old phone. And there shall be an epic post about Writing and Publishing because I keep getting asked for Advice and I figured I should try to cover some of it here. (A forewarning: it will be more Thoughts and Personal Experience than Advice.)

But this post is not about those things. This post is an attempt to get back to posting about what’s going on with me because the heart of any blog is narcissism. And cats, but we’ll save the cats for later.

On Thursday I was given less than 24 hours to write a piece about NaNoWriMo for NPR and I very nearly said no but then decided since NaNo is about writing under a daunting sort of deadline it was absurd to decline just on principle so I wrote it and sent it and thought that would be that. Friday I got a call at noon that they liked it so much they wanted me to record it for All Things Considered that afternoon. I got this call while I was still in my pajamas doing my laundry. So my Friday afternoon was more interesting than I’d anticipated, and you can read & listen to my quickly-written rambling over here.

This weekend I read several volumes worth of Fables, which I am loving like a lovey thing and will likely curl up with again later today. I’ve been meaning to get into it for a while and finally read volume one about a week ago after it had been sitting on my shelf for ages and immediately ordered several more volumes.  (In non-graphic novel reading I am working my way very slowly through Nick Harkaway’s upcoming Angelmaker). I also ate a lot of good food and did a lot of laundry and taught myself how to make origami stars.

I’m not very good at them yet, but I’m making them with laser printer paper since that’s all I have on hand at the moment and it doesn’t make for the most elegant origami. I like them, though, they’re fairly easy and they turn out all poofy with lots of personality, even if most of them are somewhat lopsided.

Also this weekend I finally got to see The Muppets, which I have been giddily excited about for ages. I grew up on Muppets. I saw The Great Muppet Caper in the theater when I was about four years old and I think it’s the reason why I am still obsessive about sitting through the credits at any movie because my dad and I were the only ones left when Gonzo takes a photograph of the audience at the end. I’d had high hopes for this film since it seemed like it was aiming to capture a very classic Muppet tone and I wasn’t disappointed. I was actually so wrapped in a glorious nostalgia-hug that I teared up a few times, I cry easily and have been particularly emotionally fragile lately but I’m certain I would have gotten verklempt anyway. And laughing and crying at the same film seems rather appropriate right now.

I’m still in post-tour recovery mode, though I’m feeling slightly more alive. Maybe too alive. I’m a mess of nostalgia and fear of the future and I’m not sure how to be me anymore because my life has changed and expanded so much in the last year or so. I’m not sure I should even tell the internet such things, but old habits die hard.

For now I am trying to adjust to my life as it is right now and making poofy little paper stars. Wondering how, exactly, to write magnificent.

Pardon me, but where did August go? Excuse me whilst I cling to this final day, in denial that the morning will bring September in all its autumnal, impending book release glory.

This post is going to be all over the place, be prepared. Proper blogging keeps getting lost in the wilds of the to-do list.

I would have been updating the internet on all manner of happenings were it not for the cumbersome to-do list and also the fact that I had a horrid summer head cold for the last week, so I was hampered by a mucus-y haze. It felt as gross as that sounds. Mostly better now, just slightly sniffly.

I added a tour page to this poor neglected site, I meant to do it ages ago but formatting is hard. It’s still not perfect and it doesn’t have Canadian or UK info but I’ll be adding to it, hopefully in a timely manner.

Last week I spent a delightful evening under tents in a field in Concord, meeting booksellers and flouncing around in a white dress with red feathers in my hair. The lovely ladies of Random House put together a marvelous circusy event and I got to tell the story of why Bailey is from Concord, which is not a story I’ve gotten to tell very much so that was particularly fun. I wish I’d had more time to talk to everyone but I signed a lot of galleys (I ended up with a very nice not-mine pen that I’m pretty sure I was told I can keep, which I hope I’m remembering correctly but it’s always possible that I am just an incorrigible pen thief). I had a splendid time and there will be splendid photos soonish, as Kelly Davidson who did my wonderful author photo was there shooting for the Boston Phoenix and we ran around taking photos in fields with sunflowers and the very heavy crystal ball the tarot reader was kind enough to let us use. (Late in the evening I had my cards read, which was a lovely end to the night.) My sincere thanks to everyone there, from organizers to guests and my darling editor who was my date for the evening, for participating in such a fantastical event.

Now, almost post-head cold, I am in pre-tour mode, trying to get myself organized for the impending whirlwind, looking skeptically at September. I had a lot of things I’d intended to do over the summer that seem to have fallen by the wayside. September seemed far away for a very long time and now it is hard to wrap my head around the fact that The Night Circus comes out in less than two weeks. I waver between terribly excited and extremely apprehensive, so I feel like I am lightly caffeinated at all times, even when I’m not.

I’ve been mostly trying to take care of myself as I think I’m going to need it. I’ve been reading a lot as it tends to calm my brain, escaping into a book. And I have a perfect escape in Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 that I was lucky enough to grab an ARC of when I was in NYC signing thousands of books, it was a much better reward than a wrist massage. I’m about halfway through at the moment, attempting to finish all almost-1000 pages of brilliance before tour so I can take lighter weight reading on planes.

And I have been listening to the new Florence + the Machine song over and over and over. Saw her do this live and delighted that it is just as good now, studio recorded and tipping into autumn as it was under a summer night sky.

So, that is what Erinland sounds like at the moment, tinged with September-eve disbelief.

Eep.

Hi.

I have been completely useless. I keep squealing at people on the phone when I’m not rendered utterly speechless. At this point I think my agent would be shocked if we had a conversation that didn’t partially involve stunned silence on my part. I think I EEPed at him. That’s probably not very professional.

I’ve been trying to write. I’ve been trying to read. I have been failing on both counts. I have a half-finished painting on the workbench that Tessa keeps napping on.

So I’ve been drinking tea and wandering around the internet. I bought a pencil skirt.

And I’ve been reading through Allie Brosh’s brilliant blog, Hyperbole and a Half. Her post on being a failure at success is so me right now it’s absurd.

I am not coping well with this bit of success I seem to have come across.  It appears that my nervous system is having trouble distinguishing celebratory excitement from extreme danger.

So yeah, me in a nutshell right now, only not as blonde:

I go back and forth from hysterical giggles to near panic attack. I think the boy is concerned.

I almost don’t want to post this. I want to appear all calm and cool and collected but I’m totally not. And I figure the best thing I can do is just be honest. So yeah, I’m squealing at people on the phone. A lot. I’m giddy with excitement but I’m also kind of nauseous and I feel like my life suddenly completely changed even though I haven’t left my apartment.

Amusement park ride metaphors would likely be appropriate. Maybe not quite roller coaster, but that centrifuge thing that spins you back against the side of a wheel while the world tilts out from under you? Yeah, that.

If I try to get off, I’ll probably just fall down. So I’m going to hold on and see what happens next.

so long, 2009.

There is a fluffy coating of snow falling outside my windows, obscuring what’s left of 2009 in powdered sugar white. White primer to paint 2010 over.

Ten years ago tonight I was ringing out 1999 in the dearly departed Grotto nightclub in NoHo. The only bit I clearly remember is asking drag queens about the lyrics to that Whitney Houston song that was all over the place, and they confirmed it was indeed “something about Amistad.” That seems very long ago & far away.

I don’t have the memory or the inclination to do a decade in review. Ten years ago was my senior year of college. Since then I moved around Massachusetts at least five times, got married, got cats, had bad jobs, quit bad jobs, made lots of art, completed a tarot deck and a handful of novel drafts. Somewhere in there I developed a rather poor memory, too.

But here, I’ll look back a bit at 2009 proper, since that’s freshest in the blur that is the ’00s.

2009 was…

A year of literary agent blogs and Absolute Write and query letters and having minor heart attacks every time my phone rang with a 212 call. A year of taking up residence in revisionland and preparing to move back in tomorrow. For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. Or something.

A year of flax-golden tales that made me happy to be a dreamer and a wisher and a liar, especially one that is friends with Carey Farrell.

This year, more than any previous year, made me own the writer half of artist/writer. Even to the point of moving slowly toward writer/artist, which is surprising but nice, all at once.

It was a year of Sleep No More (carrying over into early 2010, seeing it 2x more) which kind of blew open the creative part of my brain. Remember that episode of Six Feet Under where Claire is trying to break her eye open for art school? Sleep No More did that for me.

A year of Bat for Lashes & Azure Ray & new Moby & yes, Lady Gaga.

A year for finishing the tarot deck after 3 years and 78 paintings.

A year of Fluevogs and shiny objects and cutting my hair shorter than it has ever been in my life. I’ll post pictures at some point, I promise.

I had an interesting year, I think. I’m not sure if it was good or bad but it was full and varied and I get to have Prosecco & fondue later so I can’t really complain all that much.

springy

For spring, which has sprung, a random list of artsy things I would like to do/try/attempt someday, when time and space and money and such fickle things align properly:

  • Re-finish and creatively paint furniture, in muted technicolor funky-but-classy patterns. You know, when I have the room to strip and store furniture.
  • Art dolls, quirky creepy pseudo-Victorian porcelain nightmares in lace. This will likely require improving my sewing skills.
  • Documentary film. I don’t know what subject, maybe something will come to me eventually. But I like documentaries, and have an odd desire to make one myself.
  • Encaustic painting. Painting with hot wax! C’mon, that’s awesome. Expensive and messy, but awesome.
  • Some sort of collaborative photo-based project to be star odyssey 2.0. No idea how to fix what went wrong with 1.0 yet, though, so will require pondering.
  • Zen garden, with koi pond and fountain and meditating Buddha statues. Need a yard first.
  • Another tarot deck, perhaps in a minimalist pencil sketch sort of style.

And I have a long-harbored desire to make an installation sculpture consisting of a skull stuffed with teabags and a top hat, entitled Requiem for the Mad Hatter.