2012 is in the rear view, and as I always like to do around this time, I’d like to take a few moments to talk about the year that was. Regrettably, on the national stage, there were several negative news stories this year, first and foremost the mass shootings in a movie theater in Colorado during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises, and, more recently, the execution style killing of 20 children and 6 adults in Connecticut. It has raised the question of gun control for the umpteenth time, and brought to light another sobering question, that being, just what the hell is wrong with some people? Is it mental disease of some kind that causes a person to think that murdering children and innocents in cold blood is a good idea? Every case is different, of course, but the regularity of these sorts of killing sprees is about as upsetting as anything that this country has faced in recent memory. Personally, I am all in favor of outlawing automatic weapons for private citizens. They’re not used for hunting, or anything else of a practical nature I can think of, and all the gun-happy jerks out there should be content with slightly less deadly options. We’ll see if the current administration can make anything happen in that regard, but I have my doubts.
Then there was Hurricane Sandy, which I felt the effects of personally since I live in New York. Although I never lost power or suffered any property damage or personal harm, I could see the devastation around me and had to deal with the public transportation issues, and the whole business served as a reminder, if any was needed, that global climate change is real, and storms of this sort are probably going to keep happening, and we as a city and we as a nation need to take steps to be prepared for them. New York will recover. We always do, but I feel, as normally happens when I bear personal witness to Mother Nature’s fury, that we need to try to be more mindful of the damage we’re doing to the planet. We only get the one, and we’re not respectful enough of her. We need to continue trying to take steps to reduce carbon emissions and reduce our dependency on foreign oil. I continue trying to do my part, in my own small way, by not owing a car and using public transportation. It’s not much, but it’s something.
In happier news, Obama was reelected for another term. I think it really came as a shock to a lot of Republicans, too, which honestly, I just think is kind of funny. Here’s a group of people who want to tell women what to do with their bodies, want to force religion down people’s throats, want to systematically suppress minorities, and want to tell immigrants to get the hell out of our country, and then they’re surprised when the majority of Americans aren’t buying what they’re selling. I think that the image from the Republican National Convention of Clint Eastwood yelling at that empty chair is a perfect visual representation of how out of touch and deranged the G.O.P. is. Well, I have no doubt they’ll be back in four years, bringing the crazy with them, but for now, frankly, I just feel safe. I don’t think Obama is perfect, but for right now, I think he’s the best person for the job, the best of the potential candidates available, anyway. I continue having grave concerns about the national debt, and I agree with the G.O.P. (gasp!) that we need to find a way to rein in entitlement spending. But I also agree with the overwhelming majority of Obama’s social policies, and ultimately, that’s why I voted for him. As long as the Republicans are in power, common decency and common sense, which they claim to be the champions for, are what’s really in danger, and as long as a Democrat’s in the White House, I feel safe getting out of bed in the morning.
In 2012, in my personal life, I finished my fifth book, a crime novel called Hell To Pay, and have been shopping it around, unsuccessfully so far, for the past several months. So it goes. Will this one end up like all the others so far, stowed safely on my laptop and on my flash drive, waiting to find an audience and see the light of day? It could very well be. All I can really do, as is ever the case, is keep plugging away and try not to get discouraged. It’s frustrating when I see something like the Jersey Shore’s Snooki becoming a New York Times bestselling author, even if her book was probably mostly ghostwritten. But even if I’m not experiencing the success I want as a writer, I have no other option but to keep going. As I’ve said before, I’m compelled to. I must keep writing. It’s what I believe I was put here to do, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who does or doesn’t agree with me, or how many polite but impersonal rejection letters I get from lit agents. You can keep sending them to me, but I can keep badgering you with my latest projects. Believe me, I’m going to.
I did see some degree of personal success. I recorded five publishing credits, seeing a short story appear in the magazines The Brave New Word and Bare Back, and two stories in subsequent issues of Shadowland. I also have been having my novel The Woods published serially through the online site Jukepop Serials, which has been kind of fun, though unfortunately, at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s a very good format for my work. The chapters in that novel are longer than the brief, single-serving size they recommend in their advice to contributing authors, and it seems to me like that site is more a popularity contest than anything else, with the most-read books being by authors with a large social media presence; it seems to me, from what I’ve seen, that quality takes a back seat to those with lots of Facebook friends and Twitter followers. I no longer have a Twitter account or a Facebook page, since I decided that both of them, and social media in general, is evil. The only place to find me on the web is right here on my site, so I think my audience size is suffering in this particular case. So be it. I’m proud to say that for the first time, in 2012 I featured the capability to purchase one of my novels as a PDF file right here on the website. It’s available now, my first novel, Transitional Period, by clicking on the “Works For Sale” section on the right hand side of the screen. For now, you still can’t purchase it as a physical book, but hey, literature is gradually going all digital anyway. For 2013, I can tell you that I’m working on new material, and when it’s ready, I’ll start shopping it around. Now matter the year, you can pretty much count on that.
In 2012 I turned thirty-one years old, I celebrated my second wedding anniversary, my second year living in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, where Megan and I have found ourselves to be very happy, and I celebrated three-and-a-half years of my living in New York overall. My Cincinnati Bengals earned a Wild Card spot, though they were ousted by the Texans in the first round. Don’t worry…they have another shot against those same Texans in the Wild Card round a little later today! My Reds became the National League Central Champions, though they were knocked out in the first round by the Giants. And my American League team, the Yankees, got swept out of the A.L.C.S. by the Tigers, when Derek Jeter broke his ankle and the bats went cold up and down the lineup. Let’s see what all my teams do in the new year. I enjoyed a very nice vacation in Vancouver with the family, and I attended several fine musical and sporting events, not least among them the inaugural WWE event at the brand new Barclay’s Center right here in Brooklyn.
And as for 2013? Well, I can tell you Megan and I are going to go see Phantom of the Opera next month for out third anniversary. We plan on flying out to California at some point to visit my sister, heading to Cincinnati for a big get-together at Thanksgiving, to Pittsburgh for Christmas, and wherever else the wind (and our finances) take us. I’ve got tickets to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in March, and I’m going to Wrestlemania 29 in New Jersey in early April. I’m going to work on the writing, as ever, and I’m going to keep posting my deranged rants here on the site…I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this month, this website celebrated the fifth anniversary of its existence! Crazy, no? We’ve been in business since January of 2007! Back then, I was living in Pittsburgh and working at Uncle Sam’s sub shop. I was unmarried, and the possibility of living in New York was little more than a dream. Where might I be, and what might I be doing, when I celebrate the tenth anniversary of this website? Who can say? I hope that all of you who have taken the ride with me so far are there to see it, though. I appreciate your loyalty, and, as always, welcome your comments. It’s good to know that you’re out there. I hope 2012 treated you well, and I hope 2013 does the same. More soon…