2009: The Year in Review

January 1, 2010

Well, as always, it’s been an eventful twelve months. I think it’s safe to say that this particular year has been even more of a roller coaster ride for me than usual. As I’ve noted on the site before, over the past few years I’ve traveled around quite a lot, and it’s been rare for me to be in the same place for an entire calender year, the same city or even the same state. This year was no exception; twelve months ago found me in Myrtle Beach, SC, miserable for making a poor choice. Myrtle Beach was a mistake, and it was only through fortitude and some much appreciated financial aid from my family that we made it out. In July we made the trip North, from South Carolina to New York City, and the rest, as they say, is history.

It’s my second stint in New York, and the challenges remain the same. Even if the economy wasn’t as bad back when I first lived here, in ’06, I was just as poor, and the city was just as expensive. I couldn’t find work, back then. This time around, I got my security guard and fire guard licenses, enabling me to get a job as a security guard, not  the most glamorous in the world, but you know what, I’m okay with that. It’s fine, for now. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve worked a lot of food service in the past five years, which is about as thankless and awful of a job as you can hope to find, but security work doesn’t strike me as all that bad. There’s no constantly burning and cutting myself, it’s steady, and I’m in somewhat of a position of authority, placed over the people that I’ve been designated to protect, rather than “serving” them. I can live with that.

Of course, anything that I do for money, as in previous years, is just to pay the rent and isn’t what I plan on occupying myself with for the rest of my life. As far as the writing goes, there have been advancements on that front as well. My new years’ resolution for ’09 was to finally be paid for my writing. It happened, all the way back in January, actually. Since I’d met my goal so quickly it was somewhat anticlimactic, but none-the-less, I was pleased to finally be a paid author, even if the money that I saw was only enough for me to buy some groceries. During the year I amassed several more paying gigs, and several more publishing credits. My work appeared in a total of ten different publications, the erotica magazines Bare Back, Oysters and Chocolate, Three Pillows, Scarlet, and Grace and Beauty, in the literary mags Kaleidoscopic Resonance, Perceptions, Glass Cases, and Babel Lit, and in the story anthology Patchwork Path. Several of these were paid publications, making this my most successful year for publishing ever. I feel like I should address the issue of my writing erotica…it’s not something that I’m particularly proud of. I felt like I would probably have a good chance of making some easy money that way, and that was indeed the case. I still struggled with some thoughts that maybe I compromised my artistic integrity a bit by resorting to something a little sordid to make a buck. It’s not that I have anything against erotica or the people who write it, it’s just not something I ever really envisioned for myself. But when you’re trying to support yourself through as difficult and competitive a medium as the printed word, sometimes, you’ll be willing to do just about anything to make some money. Hell, I even wrote an entire erotica novel, Underbelly, this year (still looking for a publisher, by the way). All I can say is that after careful consideration, I don’t feel like I compromised anything by writing what amounts to, essentially, porn. People are way too Puritanical about sex anyway, and I’m just trying to pay the rent. In any case, I was glad to see my work appear in Scarlet, which, even though I’d never heard of it prior to submitting to them, is apparently as big a magazine in the U.K. as Cosmo is over here. That means that my story may well have been read by hundreds, even thousands of people! Now that’s exciting. I was also pleased that my work appeared in publications that were based out of such diverse parts of the country as New Orleans, Portland, and right here in New York.

As it relates to my personal life, I feel I would be remiss if I did not mention the passing away of my step-grandfather, David Gresky. I posted about David’s death here on the site before; he was a kind, gentle man who I always held in very high regard, and I’m going to miss him. He had been in decline lately, and by the end there was not very much left of the person I’d known. I very much hope that David is resting peacefully somewhere, and my thoughts continue to be with Dora, my grandmother, who has lost two husbands now. At least it is the consensus that David lived a long, full life, and I’m glad that he got to be a part of our family. I am thankful, too, for the inheritance that he left me, with which I can finally say, possibly for the first time in my adult life, that I am no longer so completely, totally, wretchedly poor. No one wants to profit from a loved ones’ passing, but I am still tremendously thankful to David for his generosity.  

There’s been plenty going on in the public spectrum as well. Obama officially took office, and before long had record low approval ratings. I don’t know what they expected from this guy. He’s doing the best he can! It seems like people wanted a miracle worker. They wanted someone who could walk on water, and instantly generate millions of new jobs and balance the budget. It’s just not realistic. Even though as of this post, it seems like a health care bill with a public option is in the midst of being finalized, it remains to be seen what Obama’s legacy will be in the long term. I really hope the public continues to give him a chance. He inherited an unholy mess let behind by Bush. It’s going to take some time to sift through it.

The death of Michael Jackson midway through the year made the King of Pop even more famous in death than he was in life. People everywhere were expressing their undying love for him, and he was on tee-shirts every which way you looked. I hope the people don’t forget that even though the man was a great singer and dancer, there were also allegations of child molestation as it relates to him, going back the past three decades. I don’t know if we’ll ever know the truth about all the rumors, but it’s safe to say that here was a man that left an indelible impressions on our minds, and culture.

Toward the latter part of the year Tiger Woods fell from grace, with the revelation that he had committed adultery many times with many women. It comes as no surprise to me that the man had a dark side, especially considering that there is evidence to suggest that his father was guilty of the same transgressions. It is only strange to me that he chose to marry in the first place, instead of remaining a “confirmed bachelor” like one of my sports idols, Derek Jeter. And speaking of Derek Jeter, my beloved Yankees captured their twenty-seventh World Championship, just a few months after Megan and I arrived in the city. I look at it as a good omen, and a portent of even better things to come.

All in all, there is much in the positive column that I can mention personally as it relates to 2009. Escape from Myrtle Beach to New York, the city of my dreams, becoming a paid writer for the first time, and achieving the most success with my writing than I had in any other year to date. Am I satisfied? Not remotely. I’m still looking for my big break. I’m looking to get an agent, publish a novel, get the comic book or the screenplay picked up…in short, I’m still trying to make it. But I feel like, in the past twelve months, I’ve taken giant steps toward making my dreams a reality. It seems to me that if I have a chance at becoming what I want to be, I have no better shot at it than being in New York. This is where the writing industry is, so there’s no better place to garner attention for my work. And on top of that, I’ve just wanted to be here for so long. When I had to leave in ’06 it was so disheartening. But I always knew I’d be back. It’s impossible not to be optimistic about the new year, 2010, and indeed, about the new decade. I’m living in the city of my dreams, and my focus and ambition have never been higher. I’m predicting a bigger year for me in ’10 than ’09 was. And I really hope that all of you are coming along with me for the ride. I’m never sure how many people are actually reading this blog. I’ve posted about it before, the fact that I might just be sort of shooting messages off into cyberspace, with no real recipients. But if you’re out there, and if you’ve followed this blog, and my work, since the beginning, or if you’re a more recent addition, whatever the case, I’m glad you’re here, I’m glad you’re listening, and I’m glad you’re reading. After all, what use is a writer without readers? I sincerely hope that 2009 was a good year for all of you. I will see you in 2010.

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