Well, my plans to throw myself back into blogging this semester didn't really come to fruition, did they? My last post was September 26th. In my defense, I did write several essays, a short play, and a short story since then. The short story has even been accepted for publication-- it will appear in the forthcoming issue of Bluestem. I'm sure you'll like it-- it's got torch-wielding religious fanatics, vegetarian cooking, and Bigfoot. It's sort of a Carver-esque dirty realism kinda thing, obviously.
I've collected a fair amount of rejections since we last spoke, too. Nothing to weep over. That's part of the whole process. I'll be sending the book-- which is now titled Cells-- out to a few places in the next few days. I'm also now working on a new book project-- a mixed-genre thing co-authored with Emily Isaacson called The Heretic in Exile. I'm really excited about that one. If you're looking to really improve your relationship, I heartily recommend co-authoring a book about that relationship with your significant other. We've been having a really good time with this, and we're hoping to have a first draft done in the early months of 2013.
2013. I wasn't sure we'd get here, to be honest, but as a drunk guy I was talking to at the Hotel Bar in Madrid, New York shrewdly observed (on December 22nd), "Those Mayans didn't know what the fuck they were talking about."
I've written before about how New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday. As a day that lends itself to reflection, it seems like a holiday specifically for essayists. I find, this year, that my reflection isn't quite as pleasant or positive as it has been in recent years. 2012 kinda sucked in a lot of ways, to be honest. I'm not one to complain too loudly, and I don't want to risk repeating myself here, but the first six months of this year were lousy. And though things got better when I changed jobs and excised the truly toxic people from my life, that did mean having to live apart from Emily, who I've concluded is the only person I really, really want to be around. So though the new job is the best job I've ever had and I no longer find myself surrounded by hateful people, it comes at a cost.
In the past, I've spent New Year's Eve reflecting on what I've accomplished, and what I still have to do-- most often, that's involved counting publications and vowing that the new year will be the year I finally publish a book. I can't quite bring myself to care very much about these things. I mean, I'm thankful for all of the publication opportunities that came my way in 2012, and that are coming in 2013, and I do plan on getting my book accepted this year (honestly, I do), but those things aren't highest on my list of priorities, the way they have been in previous years.
As much as I love my job and my friends at St. Lawrence, I've learned in these past few months that a life without Emily doesn't quite feel like life as I've known it for the past ten years. Yeah, we Skype every night and call every morning and text each other throughout the day, but it's just not the same as reading in bed next to each other or sitting in front of the TV and watching Barbarella together (as we've recently done). When Emily's not around, my hypochondria-- which is always a little out of control, because, you know, it's hypochondria-- really goes into overdrive. Heartburn becomes a massive coronary, every aching muscle is a sign of cancer. In recent months, I've thought a lot about mortality, and about the passage of time, and I've concluded that, whether I have another fifty years or another fifteen minutes, I don't have time to waste. And time spent living apart from the person you love is not time spent wisely.
Don't get me wrong-- taking the job in New York was the right thing to do for the 2012-2013 academic year. I just wish she'd been able to come with me, and my resolution for 2013 is that, by June, we'll be living in the same house again, full-time, and it will be that way for the rest of my life (Emily, of course, will out live me, because she's filled her spare time without me with exercising and vegetarian cooking, whereas I have filled my spare time with Canadian beer and General Hospital).
Nobody's likely to ask me to give a toast at tonight's New Year's party, as I am pompous and long-winded, but if they did, I think it would go something like this:
"2012 was a mixed bag for everyone-- every year is. Some of us lost people we loved very much; some of us welcomed new life into the world. Some of us thought, at one point over the course of the year, that we stood to lose everything, only to discover that what truly matters can never be lost. I wouldn't be so foolish as to wish that the coming year be free of suffering-- everyone on earth suffers, every single day. But I will wish that, in the coming year, the joy outweighs the hardship, and that we're all able to remember how fortunate we are to have friendship and love in our lives."
Something like that, anyway.
"And now," as Lamb wrote, "another cup of the generous! and a merry New Year, and many of them, to you all, my masters."