Ah, that dreaded “new year’s resolutions list”. I always hate those. The spirit is there on New Year’s Eve, and then it kinda…peters out.
Not to mention that I’m five months late getting this out!!!
Oh well. Better late than never.
To be fair though, I actually succeeded in mine this year. I got a new job. I’ll admit, I feel kinda good about that.
Bad news: this past year REALLY kinda sucked otherwise.
I mean…I guess it wasn’t horrible in the sense that I personally didn’t suffer any tragedies or get the news that I had some terminal illness or that I was gonna be evicted from my apartment or fired from either my old or my new job, but…guh. 2016 was more of a slog than I bargained for.
Started out with having to give up an arm and a leg to get my car fixed before my lease ran out so I wouldn’t have to give up my other arm and leg for the dealer to fix the car instead when I turned it in. Except now there’s an oil splat or something on my new car that a simple car wash doesn’t appear able to fix. So, meh, gotta figure that one out.
And that’s actually a highlight compared to everything else, which, now that I think of it, kind of went by in a bit of a blur. I think all us Americans came out of Election Day feeling like we’d just binge-watched the mother of all Netflix dramas. Like “House of Cards” on steroids and crystal meth. With rage-infected monkeys thrown in there.
And don’t even get me started on celebrity death after celebrity death. Not to say that I keep up with celebrities for the sake of being in the know about celebrities–I only care because a lot of these celebrities meant something to me somewhere on the road of life I’ve thus far traveled.
I think the first time I encountered Alan Rickman in my life was either in Galaxy Quest, or in Dogma. Can’t remember which. All I know now is that I will cry twice as hard when I watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (well, all the Harry Potter films really), and when I watch Love Actually every Christmas.
Labyrinth was introduced to me by a friend of mine from my early childhood, enraptured by all those dark, insane, beautiful kids films that only the 1980s seemed capable of producing. And incidentally, my first encounter with David Bowie.
When a friend of mine texted me that Carrie Fisher had died, I had just finished re-watching the original Star Wars trilogy for old times’ sake after having gone to see Rogue One, reliving again just how great those three films were. Better than I remembered them, all while thinking the romance between Leia and Han Solo was even better than I’d been able to appreciate when I’d been younger. Getting that text felt like a punch to the gut, and I’m still having trouble fathoming it, even while I’m writing this.
And well, Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka was basically a hallmark of childhood. More than that, but with everything I saw him in, from Young Frankenstein, to Blazing Saddles, he always brought a charisma to the screen that I don’t think we’ve seen since. It was like his own brand, no less that despite his Willy Wonka being a pioneer of the kind of wonder and imagination that’s boundless in childhood, he could still just sit back and let a stupid kid go be a stupid kid (you know, let themselves get blown up like a blueberry, or let themselves get zapped by a laser that breaks them down into a stream of particles and reassemble inside a TV) and still be likeable.
That’s just to name a few, but those in particular stick out in my mind, alongside Prince and Leonard Cohen.
With that in mind, I felt compelled to consider what I still had in my life to be grateful for, what still lay ahead that I’m hoping for. I guess if I were to put up a resolution list, it would simply be, “Get my novel finished for publishing.” As for the rest, I think it could be better described as a sum of everything that gives me joy in life, and keeps me going and getting out of bed every day (apart from the fact that I would most definitely get fired if I didn’t show up to work). Think of it as my own personal “Favorite Things” song a la The Sound of Music.
J. K. Rowling
This year, I actually got a Christmas vacation, and believe me, I enjoyed it. One of the best things about it was I got more time to work on my book, but, I am one of those writers that at least needs something in my ears to get me going (once I do get going sometimes I don’t need it, or even notice that it’s gone cuz I’m just enraptured in my work). Something I always like to come back to to get me motivated when I can’t think of any good music to listen to instead is the Lifetime channel’s unauthorized biopic of J.K. Rowling, Magic Beyond Words. Corny in bits, but whatever, it’s Lifetime. I love watching it when I need that extra push. After it ended though I pulled a few documentaries and TV specials done on Rowling to keep up the momentum. And…yeah, it just made me think how awesome the world was for having her in it. (Though now I keep thinking about those unfinished Harry Potter fanfictions….).
Now when I actually started this post, I didn’t know about this next bit, so I guess it’s good I’m writing this now, knowing what I know. I am of course referring to the American Gods TV show. It says something though that I can be excited about something for which I haven’t even read the book yet (I HAVE it, it’s still sitting on my TBR shelf, I’m savoring it, okay? Like a fine piece of chocolate.). But yeah, the premise alone was enough to suck me in, and the copy I have has the honor of being the last book I bought in England while I was studying abroad in the UK. Yep, bought it right in the airport magazine shop, with a note on the cover that reads “author’s preferred text”.
So I will be reading a book called American Gods which I bought in Britain (lolz).
Anyway, I did have a bigger point here. And that’s that I love Neil Gaiman, as much as, if not more than, J. K. Rowling. My favorite book of his to date is Neverwhere, though that may change depending on my opinion of American Gods once I read it. And the what I’ve read of The Sandman comics has been golden, scratching that itch I always get for exploring old mythologies and mythoi and creating new ones. Either way, there’s always been something about everything I’ve read or seen by him or seen a work based on what he’s written that hasn’t enchanted me in some way, from The Graveyard Book to the book he wrote with Terry Pratchett (rest his soul), Good Omens. I just love the way he just takes the world and finds his own way to explain it, turning the reality we know inside out, and yet, at the same time, giving a better understanding of it. And it’s helped to set free the chains of logic and the concept of “this is how things are done” in my writing. I love it.
Anime and Manga
Yeah, gotta put this in there too. Just real quick. I won’t wax lyrical for a huge length of time–mostly I just wanted to touch on the fact that the breadth of storytelling these media offer is what draws me in, perhaps back since my first episode of Sailor Moon back in the 90s. And it’s an industry that’s always continuing to surprise and give me new wonderful things to latch onto in terms of emotional inspiration and entertainment value. Which is a nice anchor to have when your fandom tendencies were once restricted to YA book franchises that must all, regrettably, come to an end. I don’t like to think that anime and manga will end (at least not in my lifetime–but heaven forbid if it doesn’t last at least until the end of days!).
The TBR List
For my birthday recently, I had a book buying spree, and grabbed a bunch of titles I’ve really been looking forward to reading. Like…
The last two books in the Blood of Eden trilogy by Julie Kagawa
The Girl at Midnight trilogy (last book comes out later this year) by Melissa Grey
The Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown
Magonia and it’s sequel Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley
And of course we’ve already discussed American Gods
Earthsea series by Ursula K. Leguin
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (maybe–first I have to make sure it ends happily romance-wise, otherwise I don’t know if I could bear it) by Laini Taylor
The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
And the list just keeps growing!
I couldn’t write without this. I couldn’t live without this.
I basically love anything that’s got a good beat and melody to it, and well-written lyrics aren’t bad either (if the song’s not instrumental). But I wanna give some props to a few that really get me going creatively:
Anything that on YouTube that starts with “World’s Greatest (Insert Adjective Here) Music”. So a lot of epic, trailer-music sounding stuff–but it’s amazing how gloriously beautiful a lot of that stuff is. That and some Vangelis-y stuff to get my sci-fi/fantasy fix.
Almost anything by Yuki Kajiura goes without saying, but gotta give a shout-out to Yoko Kanno as well. She’s the epitome of what it means to compose rich and lovely music for an OST. And, well, there are any number of anime soundtracks I could get into, but that would probably be a whole post in and of itself.
Lately I’ve been on a Sia kick as far as pop stuff goes, but I’m very attached to Clean Bandit’s “Rockabye” too. And high-octane emotionally packed, screaming symphonic metal songs go without saying too. As do songs by Lindsey Stirling, and anything else with a moaning violin and the rich tones of a cello.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (And Other Celeb Nerds)
Ha! Another Neal made this list. But seriously, I was never that into science per se until I watched “Cosmos” (which deGrasse Tyson hosted) on Netflix. And I’m a huge nerd, but I subscribed to his podcast, “Startalk” too. I mean, he’s like this one math teacher I had in seventh grade who was the only teacher who get me to get As in that subject because she was engagingly enthusiastic. He just makes facts about the world awesome, and a lot of those are facts are mind-blowing, which is a plus.
And OMG Bill Nye has a new show for adults on Netflix. Ugh, the childhood feels. Okay, so Bill was there before Neal, and he made science cool for me first, but Neil reminded me how awesome it could actually be to read about physics, whether astro or theoretical (unless you’re reading something REALLY dryly written, which I did once).
Here’s to hoping though that Michio Kaku has the same effect on me.
The Joy of Writing (Once I Can Get Myself Going)
Sticking in the ear buds now and gonna try and get some writing done. And editing. And re-reading. And re-drafting. But I love it I swear!
Seriously, apart from the books and the people I love, I can’t imagine my life without it. I love being in that place of my own making, taking the helm of a world I created and driving it for myself, if only to help me understand it better. It’s the same reason I love stories as much as making them up. I honestly can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t making up stories.
And with the novel I’m writing in particular, I really hope I’ve created something sculpted from everything precious and meaningful to me.
Okay, okay. Enough with all the flowery prose. Real people don’t talk like this! (Lol) But in all honesty, no matter what I’m writing, it’s that breathing space I can find within myself that keeps me going the most through every day that passes. It’s…my one and only true, true love (until maybe that special someone comes my way *sigh*).
The Kitchen Sink
I dunno. Because I probably forgot something, and that something is probably been thrown in with the kitchen sink.
Ha! Story of my life. Well, not the ghost part. Just the crazed expression.
That’s that for now, and I’ve got quite a bit on my plate on things considered. Things like $$$ (the utter bane of my existence at the moment–that and idiot “politicians”). Long as no one is threatening to break my legs, I think I can still manage to count myself lucky. That and the friends I have in my life. (Which should probably go up on my list, but then, they’re so integral to my life that I figured that it went without saying.) Nonetheless, don’t let it be thought that I don’t appreciate my friends and family, because I would definitely be nothing without them (and that’s why you’ll get to be named in my acknowledgements page when my book(s) get published–you know who you are).
Now let’s try to have an an awesome 2017 (or what’s left of it, anyway). I leave you with Sia, and I wish to all of you the very best! 😉