2008 IN REVIEW
Yup, it’s that time of year: the point where I trot out the old year-in-review meme and slap down a few answers. To whit:
1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before? Published a Doctor Who story, volunteered at my daughter’s school, saw publication in the Year’s Best F&H, planted a vegetable garden, mentored a writer online.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No, and no: as per the pirate code, I consider them more like goideloines.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No, but that should change next year, when Lyn’s best friend’s daughter has her baby.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No. I remember the day the music died, but we hadn’t spoken for years.
5. What countries did you visit? None. I wanted to visit the country of the blind, and even poked out one eye, but then never got around to it. Should have planned things a bit better, on reflection…
6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? Peace. Tranquility. Career advancement.
7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? None in particular: the year was highlighted only by the change in depth of craptitude.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Sending 14 stories out and selling 7. The Dr Who and Year’s Best publications. Picking and eating home grown tomatoes and strawberries.
9. What was your biggest failure? Cassandra.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? A mystery stomach illness that had me bedridden for nearly a fortnight, a chest infection that never really went away, a lot of physical pain generally.
11. What was the best thing you bought? The solar lights for the patio gardens are beautiful, the fans for the kids bedrooms are doing great work, but the family iPod and its car-player are, perhaps, the best buys this year.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Lyn, as always: the way she has struggled through depression, harassment, and the emotional bullying her daughter handed out was a source of inspiration. Aiden, also, has blossomed this year, into an amazing young man, with poise, maturity, and self-confidence, and it’s been a joy to be a part of it.\
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? Cassandra. A descent into criminality, hatred, and bile that almost spelled ruin for Lyn and I. Last year, I hoped for the return of my favourite Bonus daughter. This year, I have no hope for that at all.
14. Where did most of your money go? The house. Transport to and from work. Lunch.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Not much, really. The continuing refinements to the house and gardens. Losing weight, until that stalled and began to move in the opposite direction again. Seeing my name in a Dr Who book- dorky, I know, but something I wished for as a kid and never seriously thought I’d see
16. What song will always remind you of 2007? “Days” by the Kinks. “Grace Kelly” by Mika. “C is for Cookie” by Cookie Monster- I’ve taken a lot of car trips with the kids this year….
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? Sadder, thinner, richer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Writing. Being with my family. Being happy. Ignoring the bloodsuckers and emotional vampires.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Hating. Feeling helpless. Carrying around depression and anger. Failing. Hurting.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? Picking children up, dropping children off.\
21. Who did you meet for the first time? Sally Harding, my new work acquaintances, Mark Smith-Briggs, the 2007 Clarionites, Jasoni and Amazon Kate, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant, Gardner Dozois, the lovely people at Queensland Writer’s Centre.
22. Did you fall in love in 2007? Stayed in love.
23. What was your favourite TV program? Neat. The City Gardener. From Junky to Funky. The Family Guy. Time Team. Garden Invaders.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Just myself.
25. What was the best book you read? The Portrait of Mrs Charbaque by Geoffrey Ford, by a street. Also James Tiptree Jr: The Double Life of Alice B Sheldon by Julie Phillips (Proof that one man’s literary hero is another’s egocentric, drug-addled murderer). Special mention to Geoffrey Ryman’s short, Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter which is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read: haunting, beautiful, terrible, perfect.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Richard Cheese was both cool and hilarious. Mika is a lot of fun, especially the high-rotation-at-our-house Grace Kelly. But again, it was a case of what is old is new: A Hot-Fuzz-Soundtrack driven rediscovery of The Kinks and their brilliant back catalogue, especially Days, which I have decided to have played at my funeral, Death of a Clown which inspired a to-be-written-in-2008 novel, and Plastic Man, eternally changed by Erin into ‘The Song With The Plastic Bum’.
27. What was your favourite film of this year? A very thin year for fillums due to lack of opportunity. We just didn’t get out to them. Casino Royale was excellent, as was Hot Fuzz. Howl’s Moving Castle, which we saw on DVD, was delightful. The Illusionist was okay, at least better than that over-rated Jackman/Baile one whose name escapes me. Transformers was a laugh, but mainly because I went with the boys. Ratatouille was decent, but nothing more. Must make mention of Bee Movie, however, which walks away with the prize for biggest pile of shit viewed this year. Jerry, if you’re reading, just stop. Please: just stop.
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 37. Kept it quiet. Was in the middle of a minicon at the time, so apart from a lovely panel audience rendition of Happy Birthday, led by my good friend Stephen, just cruised through it. Did a panel on Wacky WWII Nazi weapons. As you do.
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Happiness. Cassandra joining the decent side of humanity. Advancing my career in a meaningful way.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? Same as last year: fat.\
31. What kept you sane? Gardening. Frisbee with the kids. Facebook, to distraction (Oooh, I just thought of New Year’s resolution…), The CI Channel, comfort eating, Lyn Lyn Lyn Lyn LYN.
32. What political issue stirred you the most? Even the Federal election was a humdrum non-event. Hard to care about industrial reform when you’re driving through the night to pick your kid out of gaol.
33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. Doors are built to keep the world out, and they’re not just physical.
34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I was a, was a kamikaze pilot
They gave me a plane, I couldn’t fly it home.
Taught me how to take off, I didn’t know how to land.
They say it doesn’t matter and I just cannot understand.
— I was a Kamikaze Pilot, Hoodoo Gurus
So there you go. Same time next year!