Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chapter 94: In Which I Review the Year

Made it through 2012 safe and sound. Yes, people, there are no gods. Neither the Jewish ones nor the Mayan ones will give you convenient Armageddons to justify your faith. We might just have to live for the day. Oh well.

2012 was a year of extreme ups and downs for me. Here are some highlights:

January--Location means everything. I moved from the hippie house, which had become a wretched hive of scum and villainy, to a spot in West Oakland with a fellow Millsie named Logan, a lady named Charisse, and her 1-year-old daughter. Awesome folks. I finally had the time and space to focus on what I needed to get done, while being around positive people. I didn't live with them long, as I eventually moved in with my girlfriend. But finding that spot--and so soon after I got back from Pittsburgh--was very fortunate. In other news, I published a piece in the Weird Fiction Review that I was pretty proud of.

February--My girlfriend took me to a hot springs in Napa Valley for my birthday. There's nothing like being on a mountain to remind you that the sky is really full of stars. We went on a few walks, and chilled in the pool with the other naked people. So relaxing.

March--Focused a lot on my thesis, The Motley & Plume Players. Sent out resumes for jobs. Generally acted like a responsible adult. Also workshopped some of the stories that would go in Hard Times Blues. Published "The Lucky Ones" in Writing Without Walls.

April--Reworked a performance piece I did for Rebekah Edwards' class for the Low Lives 4 Festival. Rented out a room in Mills College, reading the script while my girlfriend handled the background visuals. It dealt with the Tulsa Race Riot, and was sure as hell intense to research. I still need to go back and watch some of the other videos from Low Lives, which I'm sure were amazing, but I didn't see them, as I spent the whole day stressing about my performance. When all was sad and done, we went to the bar, 'cause we'd earned it.

May--Did Fanimecon and Baycon on the same weekend. Never again. Both cons were inspiring and wonderful, but I didn't get the full experience of either of them. Had a ball doing panels on Yoshiaki Kawajiri and Leiji Matsumoto. Even more excited to do academic scholarship on them. So I'm leaning towards doing Fanime. Also: Finished recording my audiobook! A two-year project, and just as significant as completing my thesis. Graduated Mills, a school I still have a complicated relationship with.

June--I'm blanking. Mostly just worked on the stories for Hard Times. Was living with my girlfriend. Drank a lot of wine. Watched a lot of The Tudors. I have a feeling this month was awesome.

July--Worked as an ESL teacher. Published my essay about Dreamchild in Cabinet des Fees. Love the movie. Loved writing about it.


Girlfriend broke up with me, thus ending the longest, most intense relationship I'd ever been in. So it goes. The breakup also meant I had to get out of her apartment. The upside was crashing with my brother in San Fran for my last week in the Bay. Went to a reading in Golden Gate park, saw Purple Rain in the Mission, saw Beasts of the Southern Wild, went dancing as often as I could. Helped a little bit to fight foreclosures in Oakland. Not only was it good (and necessary) to have that alone time, but it was good to reconnect with my brother, who I barely saw when I was doing grad school. That is one relationship that I know is solid.

August--Moved to Lafayette. Survived a mellow hurricane. Finished a story for Hard Times Blues called "A Song for the Yellow Prince," of which I'm very proud. Also: had my star-making role as an extra in Lauren Soldano's Camp Butchinson, a film where a bunch of sissies are sent to a camp to be trained how to be butch lesbians. And then they kill the counselors.

September--Knee-deep in PhD classes. Didn't accomplish much else. My favorite course was Research Methods, a mandatory class designed to weed people out of the program, focused around how the academy is a desolate, depressing, and hopeless career with few benefits, financially or otherwise.

October--I had my freshmen comp class analyze the rhetorical strategies in Dr. King's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail." Learned how depressingly little kids from the South--the SOUTH!--know about the Civil Rights Movement. So I got to teach them. I consider that a highlight. What was even more of a highlight? Nightwish. In New Orleans. Oh yeah.

November--World Fantasy. 'Nuff said. WFR printed my piece on "The Boy in the Tree." This was also my first month being full-fledged homeless, having failed to find an apartment in Lafayette on the short notice I was given. Read lots of student papers. Felt miserable for the most part. Ate Thanksgiving dinner at the department chair's house, didn't mention the homeless thing despite the fact we all knew about it, went back to my hostel.

December--Oh my god, tour was so good. Invigorating and exhausting, often at the same time, like tour should be. Spent lots of time around radical, talented anarchists. Had many political and philosophical discussions. Got to stay with my friend in Asheville who I taught ESL with over the summer. Rounded out my year partying in the Williamsburg area of New York, pretending I was Lena Dunham.

Some of the highs and lows from a crazy year. 2013--let's get it on!

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