It's my thought that years, like decades, are best reviewed with a bit of hindsight. Just like 2010 felt like the last year of the '00s, despite the regenerative rituals and retrospectives, Januaries often feel like the long walk out of the last year.
Any sort of accurate hindsight doesn't tend to start for me until March or April, at which point the full stuff of current years renders reflection superfluous. Still, in the interest of head-clearing, communication, and a throwback to the days when transparency meant connection instead of liability, I always feel compelled to year-in-review.
A) "A tough year of hard decisions that ultimately has spurred a lot of personal growth and has me set up for much more."
B) "If I could pay to watch 2015 die in a fire, I would."
Depending on my mood.
Let's start with the good, the potentially exciting, or the highlights:
Soliana Monillas: The day before 2015 ended, my Uncle Status was upped by one, as Amara had Soliana Brynn Isaac Monillas. Zion is stoked to be a big brother, and I'm stoked for more Uncle Time. Any year that neds this way has lots of good to recommend it.
ZAPP. So I'd already started to re-acquaint myself with the Zine Archive And Publishing Project, attended some meetings, helped recruit some writers and readers for the Xenographic series, and become loosely re-involved.
This year, however, both Emily Van Der Harten and Kathryn Higgins, who'd been largely steering ZAPP's fundraising/space-finding/still existing efforts both stepped back for various reasons. After talking to them both, doing some soul-searching and self-assessment, I decided to step into the position of Managing Director (informally, I prefer "Team Captain") of the Zine Archive and Publishing Project.I'm working with some great people and the hope and plan is to get ZAPP into a new permanent physical space this year.
I may write more about this later, but on a personal level, I am very excited- and challenged- by this. It will be a better use of my organizational/curatorial skills than co-running 2-3 literature events at a time to no particular end. It'll also help me build new skills in the non-profit field.
Freeway Park. In 2014, we played our first handful of shows, had fun and started to coalesce our sound. In 2015 we got tighter, wrote better songs and played shows in Bellingham, Olympia and San Francisco as well as Seattle nearly monthly. The Makeshift show in Bellingham, Charlie's birthday show at Rendezvous, San Francisco, and the gig at the Highline were particular highlights. Right now we're working on our first official recordings, which we hope to have out first half of 2016. Personally am working on being able to harness the shots-fueled, beer-fist swinging energy of live performances into a bit less comic (or booze-dependent) intensity.
And I really want to sell you a "People in Seattle Love It When You Travel." t-shirt.
Writing. I've been back writing for Nadamucho, I had a goal to write six short stories and have them all submitted out by the end of the year and that didn't happen. But I did write a few that I think have promise. And in addition to having The Third Best of All Possible Outcomes come out on Shotgun Wedding, the newer poems and writing are things I'm pretty happy with. But such things are ephemeral, we'll see how I feel when I check back on them. Either way I'm stoked to have some stuff to work with.
2015 was also the year that Graham got an I-phone. That is neither here nor there, but it's definitely a thing.
Okay. The rough chuckles.
There were plenty of them in 2015. From the supersweet pest invasion that marked the beginning of the year in my apartment (at a time when Rachel was dependent on the space for her air b'n'b biz) to my friend and Co-worker Beau Martin's suffering a stroke that will take a long time for him to recover from (it's going pretty well, he'll be home with his folks soon) to multiple of my friends and family spending time in the hospital for various reasons, there was a reason that my motto for 2015 became let the bad times roll. . .because at some point, that's just what seemed to happen. This at least gained some catharsis in the event Bummed Out, which could be accurately described as my first time curating a "club night." It struck a chord with a few people, and may go quarterly.
Which would be a weird "making a shitty year into art" move, but I'm rarely opposed to such moves.
The roughest for me personally was ending my 4.5 year relationship with my girlfriend in June.
The reasons for this, and subsequent social fallout, is best left off social media both for our privacy, and desires to move forward. I'm sure if you're curious and haven't had one or both of us give our interpretation of events, you know where to find us. I believe I made the right decision, that it's already better for both of us, but that doesn't mean it was easy, or casual or didn't make me incredibly fucking sad.
The one other thing I will say, is that in the event of such a momentous life change it's really easy to take a long view (especially when said event occurs mid-year) that places every event in the context of The One Event. Everything that happens being somehow related, directly, or indirectly, to The Thing and How It Was Handled. where the first half of the year was all building up to this, every argument or bad day was another brick in the wall, that subsequently every instance of progress, (or regress) was a direct result of said thing. Which is reductive and stupid; while there was a lot in the first half of the year (and last half of 2014) that played into things, there were also lots of decent-to-great times. Likewise, while the remainder of the year can sometimes feel like aftermath-and-regrouping, there's also lots of stuff, good or bad, that would have happened either way.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm also trying to be a bit less dramatic in my self-narrative.
That's a lot. If you made it this far, congrats. You get a cookie, the metaphorical salutation kind, not the actual, delicious kind.
In short, yes: 2015 has been hard. I got lots to work on, both internally and externally in 2016, but I can say with cautious confidence, that I'm starting '16 way better than I started '15, and hope to be able to say the same next year.
And hope that for you as well.