Recently, J.C. Hutchins asked across various social networks for people to sum up their 2011 in one word, and then sum up their hopes for 2012 in another. I responded with three.
Yes, Iâ€™m a rebel. Screw the rules, â€˜cause thatâ€™s how I roll.
Man, I really need to make â€œavoid talking streetâ€ a New Yearâ€™s Resolution. Now where was I? Oh yeah, Hutchâ€™s â€œSum Up Your 2011â€ questionâ€¦
I responded with â€œThe Small Stepâ€ because Iâ€™ve started looking ahead already to 2012. Planning for appearances. Pre-production for a book trailer. Considering a posting schedule for Volume Two of Tales from the Archives.Â And, of course, the release of The Janus Affair. It just feels like everything is piling on already, and Iâ€™ve still not put away Christmas decorations.
Not sure what it was about this week â€” maybe the storm front breaking, maybe the sunrise, maybe the unusually smooth commute to work, who knows? â€” I started to look back. 2011 has been one astounding year. A year of change. A year of direction. Some of these items may some across as a touch trivial, but they defined the year for me, and are helping me work through tough spots and dark times. I stopped to think of those high points and put them out there on this blog, my intent being that you might find five things to be thankful for at this time.
5.Â Getting My Game Back. This is P.C. Haringâ€™s fault; and while I might have sounded disgruntled about it on The Shared Desk, itâ€™s been something that Iâ€™ve missed. Terribly. The story goes that P.C. was paying a visit and, on hearing we had picked up an XBox for Sonic Boom, he took it upon himself to bring a few games for the grown-up’s. Both Paul and Pip have seen me shout and swear and blame the controller (which, when itâ€™s a Kinect game, is kind of embarrassing); but I find myself constantly drawn back to the challenges of Aperture Laboratories or the overrun Arkham Asylum. (Batman: Arkham City is in the wings. I just need to complete Asylum’s basic story, and then Iâ€™m in.) I had forgotten how much I loved to game when I was a kid (ColecoVision reprah-ZENT!), and now I find it a nice stress relief. (Stop laughing at me, Pip!) When I feel stuck creatively or survive a less-than-satisfying day at the office, I find inverted takedowns when hanging from a gargoyle most satisfying.
4.Â Investing in the Home. Last year, between one incredible day where friends and family helped me get the place in order, to Pip helping me sort and organize the details, I have found my house to be an ongoing challenge. That was when I regarded it as a house. My original plan was to hold on to it for a few years and then move. This was before I discovered what was in plain sight: an incredible community of people whoÂ I now refer to as friends. When Pip arrived for a more permanent stay, I saw myself caring less about the house and more about my home.
Additions arrived. Changes were made. Itâ€™s no longer a place where my stuff is. Weâ€™ve got a home now. It feels great.
3. Sonic Boom: The Next Chapter. Being a parent is not easy. It wasnâ€™t easy when she was born. It wasnâ€™t easy when it was just the two of us. Presently, itâ€™s no different from Arkham Asylum â€” each subsequent level is harder than the previous one. (Admittedly, there are far fewer sociopaths and super villains involved when parenting Sonic Boom, although there are some days the Boom could give Harley Quinn a run for the money in the diva department.) In this year, with Pip at her side, Iâ€™ve seen her take strides developmentally that have me in awe. Iâ€™ve watched her go from dropping to the ground and throwing fits to â€œcalmlyâ€ working out problems, working through them, and not giving up. In Taekwondo, Iâ€™ve watched her rise to challenges that I thought was far out of her reach and conquer them. Sheâ€™s not perfect (neither are her parents); but considering everything thatâ€™s been thrown at her, sheâ€™s continuing to take strides forward. Iâ€™m really, really proud of her.
2. The Launch of Phoenix Rising. Yeah, the game changer. At the end of the April, this steampunk novel joined many other urban fantasy, science fiction, and epic fantasy novels on bookshelves. Did it take the world by storm? Well, no. While Pip had the well-received Geist under her belt already and we both had nearly ten years of fiction, podcasting, and non-fiction under our belts, we were still regarded as â€œnewcomers.â€ But much like Geist, Phoenix Rising has been enjoying what can be best described as a slow burn. The title was honored as one of Goodreadâ€™s Top Ten Science Fiction Titles of 2011 and the winner of the 2011 Airship Awards for Best Steampunk Literature. Pip and I were invited to be speakers at ComicCon New York. And we have been introduced to a generous, creative community of people who have made time for our book and have been enjoying our initial offering. Itâ€™s been a wild and wacky eight months; and with The Janus Affair slated for a May release, we have more amazing adventures ahead of us.
1. Getting Married. Yeah, this may sound very newlywed or â€œIf you donâ€™t make this #1 for 2011, Pip is so gonna pwn you!â€ but itâ€™s the truth. The ceremony really did bring together a lot of things that made 2011 such a fantastic year. Pip looked amazing. The neighbors turned out and decorated the new patio with lights, banners, and flowers. And then there were the neighbors themselves â€” onceÂ total strangers to me, now some of the best people in my life. These same neighbors became fast friends with Pip and a support crew for Sonic Boom. All those emotions, hopes, and anticipations reached critical mass on that Saturday morning when a â€œsimple paperwork ceremonyâ€ became an incredibly special day for the three of us. We â€” Pip, Sonic Boom, and I â€” became a family. We were blessed by God with fantastic weather for October, and also blessed with a Justice of the Peace who had a sense of humor. At the end of the vows, she read to those assembled â€œI now pronounce you husband and wife, you may now go and update your Facebook status.â€
Nothingâ€™s really changed between us, and yet everything feels different. I donâ€™t make claims of being perfect in our relationship, and I work to make sure Pip is okay, that our communication is rock solid, and that weâ€™re making time for each other as well as the family. Maybe itâ€™s easier with only the three of us, but then again thereâ€™s nothing really â€œeasyâ€ about a marriage. It is work, but I play as hard as I work, and I can only hope Pip and the Boom are having as much fun in this family as I am.
So there it is â€” another year gone, but what a year it has been. Now 2012 is just a few days away, and there is that feeling of expectation. Right now, I feel like Iâ€™m on the edge of something big, something wonderful; and I am ready for the new year to begin and set off on this new adventure. But before doing so, it never hurts to look back, consider the lessons learned, and be thankful for friends old and new who have enjoyed the ride with me.
Thanks, everyone. See you all on the other side.
Chevron 9. Locked.