On a personal level, 2004 was quite the roller-coaster. I began the year unemployed, but within weeks of the year beginning, I was hired at The Store, and in terms of working, I'm the happiest I've ever been, at any of my previous jobs. It's not the work I'm doing that I love -- cleaning stuff and changing garbage cans really isn't the stuff of Romance, after all -- but The Store is just an amazing place to be, because of the amazing people that populate it. I've made real friends there -- not just "workplace friends", even though there are a slew of them and there's nothing at all wrong with that, but a handful of the "lifetime friend" variety. Any year in which one starts out in January with X lifetime friends, and reaches December with (X + 3) lifetime friends or whatever, is a good year.
The other major event for me (and my family, obviously) in 2004 was the birth of Little Quinn. Parenthood, especially new parenthood, is supposed to be terrifying, but not in the way that Quinn's birth was, or in the way his life is likely to be in the months and years to come. They say that when times are bad is when you find out who your friends really are, and I certainly agree with that; but I'm lucky in that I found this out in the positive sense.
Oh, what else? Not much, really. I obviously didn't get published in 2004, because writing sort of fell off (but didn't end completely, thank God). I'm sure that I'll continue to write, but I have to admit that right now, the drive to produce stories until I break through isn't there. I want to produce stories, all right, but I care less now -- quite a bit less, actually -- about whether I ever "make it" as a writer. I'll still be trying, but it'll be more on the level of a game than anything else.
Apropos of what I've just said, I've decided, as was suggested a while back, to serialize The Promised King in blog format. My plan is to post two chapters per month, which seems to me sustainable but not drawn-out to the point of tedium. I'll have a URL in the next couple of days. I'm still ironing out the template I'll be using. Yes, putting the thing online for free may well hobble the book's chances of ever seeing "print" publishing, but as the book is a first novel by an unknown, its chances of seeing print were never all that good anyway, and at this point, having lived with this story for a long time, I just want it to be read.
Another year, another twelve months with no Instalanches, links from Atrios, or any of the other really "heavy hitters" of Blogistan. But I'm fine with that, having developed a fairly diverse, if small, readership. I hope that continues. I don't mind at all gaining readers two or three at a time, over a period of months. Like Stephen King said about the Great Wall of China, it was built one brick at a time. Of course, since this is a blog and all, I'm not sure what (if anything) I'm building, but whatever it is, I'm doing it one reader at a time. I expect 2005 to bring more of the usual here: posts about whatever strikes my fancy at any given moment. (Expect a significant dose of High Geekiness in late May, though. The arrival of the last-ever Star Wars movie will undoubtedly set me to posting all manner of geeky stuff.)
Finally, below I list links to some of my favorite posts from the year gone by. If you're somehow new to this blog and want to know what makes me tick, this roster of posts is pretty illustrative of that (along with the "Notable Dispatches" section of the sidebar). Thanks to everyone who read Byzantium's Shores this year, and I hope you'll continue to do so. This is, after all, the one, true Buffalo blog. (I had to get that in there, right?)
Diary of a Ring
How to Tell If He Is Interested
How to Tell If She Is Interested
Comic Book Babes
Stuff I've Done (A List-post)
Give Iowa a Try
Being Tired at Work
My Reading Rules for Good Fiction
Ten-plus Books That Made Me Who I Am
Food: I Like It
Why I Like The Apprentice
Dances With Wolves Revisited
Public Service Announcement: How to Use Knives
Why Byzantium's Shores?
In Memoriam: Christopher Reeve
In Memoriam: Howard Keel
Posts about Little Quinn:
The First Post
They Come With Hats
Little Quinn's Early Days, revisited
Quinn's Best Moment (so far)
Happy New Year, Blogistan and people in Real Space. See you in 2005.