Time for the annual retrospective!
Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't read as much as I wanted. This vexes me somewhat. Part of it was that I completely bogged down on the Larry McMurtry novel Lonesome Dove, which I started early in the year and found myself pushing through. I don't know why, really -- I liked the book, but it never seemed to develop that kind of forward motion that long books often need. I had a tough time with that book and I never really got back in the groove, reading-wise. I read, but not enough.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
A few more coworkers, and a dear friend from work became a grandmother.
Did anyone close to you die?
My parents lost a sixteen-year-old cat today. She was in poor health and it was her time, but...damn. Sixteen, for a cat? That's something.
What countries did you visit?
Never left the country. We hope to visit Toronto in 2016 sometime. (Fictional departures? Oh, I had those by the hundreds!)
What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Same as last year: More readers for my books!
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting The Wisdomfold Path out, like I set out to do. That's pretty big. It's an actual series now!
What was your biggest failure?
I'm still flogging away at the "Lighthouse Boy" novel, and GhostCop (not the actual title) still doesn't have an actual title. I need to come up with one, since I'd like to get that book out this year.
What was the best thing you bought?
I've been wanting a better camera for a while, and with our NYC trip looming, I splurged and bought this. So far, I'm loving it.
Whose behavior merited celebration?
As always, The Wife and The Daughter. My friends and family in general.
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Apologies in advance for those offended by such talk, but: My God, Republicans, would you folks please return to Planet Earth?!
Where did most of your money go?
Food, new camera, books (of course), jewelry for The Wife, cool stuff in general. A big trip to NYC.
What did you get really excited about?
Releasing The Wisdomfold Path, the trip to NYC, and Star Wars Episode VII.
Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Happier, I think. It's hard to remember my specific state last year at this time, but right now, life is on a general upward trend, I think.
Thinner or fatter?
Thinner. I continue to lose weight at the rate of a few pounds a year, which is nice and sustainable. I have pairs of overalls that I can actually wear now, which is awesome.
Richer or poorer?
Richer, a bit. Now, once the world realizes what it's missing by not reading my books....
What do you wish you'd done more of?
As mentioned above, reading! Not the best year for reading. And I only got one pie in my face this year (which I self-administered for Pi Day).
What do you wish you'd done less of?
Wasting time on the Internet. It's really way to easy to get snarky, and I finally took the step of blocking a few folks on Facebook who do nothing but make me indulge that part of my personality. I also sometimes indulge an old love of soap-opera bullshit, which led to me join in a few pile-ons that I now realize I should have avoided like the plague.
How did you spend Christmas?
My sister was in town, so we had the whole family! It was a lovely time.
Did you fall in love in 2015?
I fall in love on a daily basis. (Yes, that’s my stock answer!)
How many one-night stands?
Now, that’s not the kind of question a gentleman answers! (Another stock answer!)
What was your favorite TV program?
Brooklyn Nine Nine and The Musketeers were major discoveries this year; we love both of them wildly. We did try Outlander and we were actually enjoying it, but along about the fifth or sixth episode it took a really violent and rapey turn, and we gave up on it.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don’t like hate, but...well, I'll just leave it at that. I don't like hate.
Would that certain people running for President liked hate a little less.
What was the best book you read?
The Dead House, by Dawn Kurtagich, and Missing Reels, by Farran Smith Nehme.
What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don't know that I discovered anything this year. John Williams wrote an amazing score for The Force Awakens, though.
What did you want and get?
More scarves! And a really nifty pair of vintage Key herringbone overalls.
What did you want and not get?
A new air compressor at work (I can get one, I just haven't pulled the trigger yet); the BB8 remote control toy (I really can't justify spending over $100 for that); and I didn't get pied by anyone else this year, again (particularly not by my beautiful wife), for various reasons of opportunity being lacking. Alas!
What were your favorite films of this year?
By default? Star Wars Episode VII, even though I had some vexing problems with it.
What did you do on your birthday?
I worked, again! Then I took a few days off a week or two later. We skipped our annual fall Ithaca trip this year because of our NYC trip in November.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
I should just stop answering this question. It's all-overalls, all-the-time. I'm wearing overalls as I write this.
What kept you sane?
Writing, and lots of hikes and nature walks with the dog!
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Trevor Noah has done a very good job, stepping in for the departed Jon Stewart, and my crush on the brilliant Jessica Williams continues. Over on HBO, John Oliver is turning in great work. I continue to find Adele fascinating.
What political issue stirred you the most?
I don't know, pick one. Our absurd response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Climate change. Our insistence that policies that work beautifully in other countries, solving problems that we have now, can't possibly work in our own country. Our ongoing insistence that the Free Market will one day bring us all to economic Shangri-La, and the appalling reaction to even mild increases in a minimum wage that should have gone up even higher.
Who did you miss?
No one, really. This was a year for meeting great people, not losing them.
Who was the best new person you met?
All of them. Seriously, I couldn't begin to pick just one.
If you take selfies, post your six favorite ones:
(Yeah, that's seven, not six. Oh well.)
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:
There really is “no place like home!”
And the usual ones: Read a lot, write a lot. Go for walks and look at sunsets. There are amazing places within two hours of where you live that you've never seen. Take all the pictures you want. Learn new things and try new stuff. If you have a dog, take him for walks. Buy books for your daughter, even when she complains that she likes to pick her own books (let her do that, too). Nothing fits your hand so well as your lover’s hand. Eating out is fine, but learn to cook things, too. Have a place to go where they know you and what you order. Don’t be afraid to revisit your childhood passions now and again; you weren’t always wrong back then. The only way to play the Long Game is to wait. Overalls are awesome, it’s OK to wear double denim, and a pie in the face is a wonderful thing!
And as always: Make good art.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
You know, every year when I pick a song, I don't choose it for lyrics that have anything to specifically do with the year I'm just completing. I choose a song that seems to me a part of the time, either a song that I found that year or a song that became meaningful to me that year, and when the latter happens, it's not because of any exact correlation between the song and something that happened in my life.
With that, here's my Meaningful Song for 2015.
It's knowin' that your door is always open
And your path is free to walk
That makes me tend to leave my sleepin' bag rolled up
And stashed behind your couch
And it's knowin' I'm not shackled by forgotten words and bonds
And the ink stains that have dried upon some lines
That keeps you in the back roads
By the rivers of my memory and keeps you ever gentle on my mind
It's not clingin' to the rocks and ivy
Planted on their columns now that bind me
Or somethin' that somebody said because
They thought we fit together walkin'
It's just knowin' that the world will not be cursin' or forgivin'
When I walk along some railroad track and find
That you're movin' on the back roads
By the rivers of my memory and for hours you're just gentle on my mind
Though the wheat fields and the coal mines and the junkyards
And the highways come between us
And some other woman's cryin' to her mother
'Cause she turned and I was gone
I still might run in silence tears of joy might stain my face
And the summer sun might burn me till I'm blind
But not to where I cannot see
You walkin' on the back roads by the rivers flowin' gentle on my mind
I dip my cup of soup
Back from some gurglin', cracklin' cauldron in some train yard
My beard a roughenin' coal pile
And a dirty hat pulled low across my face
Through cupped hands 'round a tin can
I pretend to hold you to my breast and find
That you're wavin' from the back roads
By the rivers of my memory ever smilin', ever gentle on my mind
All right, 2015, thanks for your service. 2016, you're up! Let's see what's out there. Second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning!