So the sun has set, and in about five hours, fireworks will flash above Mondoville’s main tourist attraction, and 2012 will go into the books. I’m sitting in the Spackle Manor living room, as garage rock plays on the computer and a muted TV shows college football. It’s been a good year.
In some ways, it has been a year of pleasant returns. I’m writing fiction again, I played my first club gig in nearly two decades, and my beloved Kentucky Wildcats returned to their rightful position atop the college basketball world. It was also a year of new experiences: I dipped my toe into the murky waters of competitive marching band as the Spawn won her spurs in the color guard. I got to hang with one of my favorite writers. And I finally got to know how it feels to have someone say they like my novel enough to put it up for sale. This last introduced me to a thriving community of folks who keep the tradition of pulp alive, and I’m glad to have met them, even if only virtually. It hasn’t all been good, of course; I still believe that the nation and the culture are headed in the wrong direction, and I don’t know if there’ll be enough time to turn around.
The year to come will have its benefits and challenges, as all years do. The biggest challenge is scheduled to come in May, with my brother’s trial. Whether it will actually take place at that point remains to be seen, and as I’ve observed before, there really is no good outcome available. But at the very least, it may bring me a little closer to the new normal. And the new year will also bring me more music, more books, more marching band competitions, more drives to school with the Spawn, more walks across the street during football season. Those are what life is — the small, normal blessings for which we work, and the satisfaction of knowing our part in earning them. The large things are the aberrations.
And of course, I look forward to sharing the coming year with you, and I appreciate your taking the time to come by and make me laugh, react, and think. May your New Year be filled with small, peaceful satisfactions.