It’s becoming a bit of a cliché to complain about 2016 being an awful year. It’s been a… layered… year for me. There have been bad things, awful things, good things and great things to come out of the year.
Writing-wise, my accomplishments are as follows:
- “Sea Borne” published in SQ Mag
- “Searching for Cidalisa” published in Aurealis
- “Women and Parkour” published at the Dangerous Women Project
- “Heat, Flies and Cane Toads” reprinted by Poetry and Place
- “Three Trophies” mentioned on Ellen Datlow’s longlist and selected for reprinting elsewhere (not sure if the ToC has been released though)
- “The Heart is an Echo Chamber”, a chapbook of vignettes (one by me) and the cover art by me, published.
So I did managed to meet my goal of selling two stories, phew. That list… well, could have been better, could have been worse. It was a pretty crazy year at uni though, so it is what it is.
At uni I managed to get all 7s (high distinctions) this year. I have 3 subjects left, so should be finished by the end of 2017, barring major catastrophes.
I am still working at my uni library. I’ve taken on more hours so it’s been fun trying to navigate work/study/family.
I wasn’t going to post about my kids, but I will post a little about each because they each inspire and challenge me.
Eldest graduated primary school. She’s going onto high school as part of a solid group of seniors, who will spend the holidays strengthening their bond. They are all so very different, and yet they do a good job of looking out for each other. She’s been accepted into her high school’s language immersion program, and ended the school year by tackling some academic demons. She started piano lessons this year and is picking it up very quickly. This year, Eldest showed me that her sense of herself is firm and she won’t be manipulated or coerced into being something she is not. And that, my friends, is astounding to me, and oh so beautiful (and let’s face it, a relief, given high school is right there staring at us).
Middle amazed me this year. She rocked out the end of year concert on drums, playing “Seven Nation Army” with her teacher on guitar. She goes from strength to strength–this year her emotional development has been phenomenal and her ability to advocate for her friends and herself is growing. Middle is endlessly curious and surprising. I think my favourite part of her growth this year was that she organised and led a protest at school about something she thought was unfair, and that protest led to change!
Youngest… what a year. While his speech is still mostly single words or scripted speech, he is using it to communicate more and more. He showed us a phenomenal “splinter skill” (paed’s words, not mine) in his ability to make words out of letters, purely from memory. He’s still affectionate and funny, he has a reputation at daycare as a climber (takes after his mum!) and has been stealing food (at daycare) like a little magpie. Oops. There are still a lot of challenges to navigate but I do feel very grateful he makes it easy to love him.
Contact was a highlight of the start of the year. Things fell apart personally for a while after that, but I’ve achieved an equilibrium. In October/November a whole bunch of near-disastrous things (and some actual disastrous things) happened and I managed to deal with them all without falling apart so obviously I’m getting a bit more resilient.
I haven’t managed to keep up my fitness as much as I would have liked. I did True Grit in August and Spartan in September, but I injured my wrist at True Grit and have had to rest it a lot since. That meant I haven’t gone to parkour much. Rockclimbing also fell by the wayside. But, it’s never the end and I’ll pick it back up again. I did a few hikes in the cooler months, and am looking forward to getting back onto the trails.
I went to Woodford for a day… it was my first time! Everyone is always shocked by that but if you know me well you’d understand that crowds+uncertain weather+long drive+the unknown=me finding any excuse to not do the thing. Anyway, it was fun but I think it would be better if I stayed a few days. My eldest is camping with friends so she’s enjoying the full Woodford experience.
Carrie Fisher’s death had a big impact on me. It might sound awful, but none of the celebrity deaths this year have really moved me beyond “that’s sad, X was too young” (or “that’s sad, but good innings eh?”). Until Carrie Fisher. Princess Leia was my first hero… I mean, I had a massive crush on Harrison Ford, but he wasn’t my hero. Leia was. Here was a dark-haired, dark-eyed, unfashionably pale, short woman standing unapologetically with fire and determination. I wanted to be her, and I wanted her to be real so badly. I struggled with the knowledge there was a real, flawed person behind the character I loved. I didn’t want to know that she was suffering as a result of something that had given me so much joy and inspiration. When I saw Carrie Fisher in When Harry Met Sally I pretended she was a different person (honestly, she looked like my mum… and while I love my mum I was young enough to not want my hero and my mum to look like the same person–now I’m older I think it’s pretty funny!). As a consequence of my bizarre doublethink I didn’t read any of her books, or even try to find out more about the real Carrie Fisher. And then I saw her GMA interview when The Force Awakens happened and she was fucking hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing. I read an interview with her about her affair with Harrison Ford and felt so many emotions. I was starting to feel ready to accept and embrace the person behind Leia… and then she died.
You know, I know this all sounds weird. To be honest I don’t think I have any other childhood heroes because it was such an unsettling realisation, that the public persona (in my case, Leia, a fictional character, but let’s face it most celebrities have a semi-fictional public persona) had a “woman behind the curtains” that I shunned celebrity worship for the rest of my life. I was completely unprepared for how this would affect me. I watched a whole bunch of interviews of her on Craig Ferguson’s Late Show the other night… binge-watched. And I’ll be reading her books too, because why the fuck didn’t I do that earlier? (I know why, it’s a rhetorical question). The stupid thing is, Carrie Fisher was awesome. She was the kind of person I aspire to be. Carrie, that is, not Leia. I wish it hadn’t taken me until her death to really figure that out.
Hmmm, how do I finish from that? Look, I know there is a lot to be depressed and despairing about looking back on 2016, and glancing sideways into 2017, but that way madness lies. Maybe it’s a kind of mania that encourages us to grip tightly to hope in the face of certain doom, but that’s my kind of mania. And it’s served me well so far. And with that… photo of the year is me up a tree, because why not?