Way back in the day, when I was a young, spry booksofjobe.com and my wife and I first started sending out Christmas cards, I used to try and write little personal messages in them. Nothing major, just a couple of paragraphs on how my wife and I were, and some questions about the recipients—how they were doing, what was new in their life, etc. My efforts were sporadic at best, but the intention was good.
As time went on, however, the messages became less and less frequent, until they pretty much just petered out completely. This year a crazy idea occurred to me: what if I had the ability to write a sort of a general Christmas letter, updating family and friends on the goings on of me and my family, and post it in some central location where everyone could read it at their leisure (the fact that it’s after Christmas notwithstanding)…hey, wait a minute…
It’s been a pretty eventful year around BoJ HQ, for better or for worse. New job, hospital stays, published stories, writing a freakin’ novel, holy smokes! Okay, let’s break it down:
New Job: I ended the relationship with my previous employer and started working for my county’s Emergency Communications department—i.e., 911. I never would’ve guessed I’d end up doing anything like this, but man, is it ever a blast. It’s not for everyone, and not for the squeamish, but I absolutely love it. I work with a—mostly—crass band of sarcastic misfits (who know that’s a compliment), and I actually look forward going to work every day (well, okay, most days, who am I kidding?). I start training next week for Fire/EMS dispatching, with Law Enforcement dispatch down the line. It’s a little stressful, a lot rewarding, and to the coming year all I can say is: bring it on.
Hospital stays: For my wife, it’s been a year of doctor’s appointments, procedures, prescriptions, pokes, prods, and of course, one nerve-racking hospital stay. I’m not going to rehash it all right now—you can read a little more about it here if you don’t know what I’m referring to—but we end the year on a more hopeful note than we imagined we would a few months ago. The news we got, while not exactly good, wasn’t as dire as we were led to expect. She will still need surgery someday, but ‘someday’ means (with proper diet, exercise, seemingly constant doctor visits and a plethora of medications) a decade or two, not the near future. So, it goes without saying that was a bit of a relief to hear. That’s not to say every day is full of unicorns eating glitter and pooping rainbows, but it’s a hell of a lot better outlook than we had over the summer. All in all, things could be a lot worse.
Writing: Last but not least, there’s the writing, which, lest we forget, is what got this whole ball o’ wax I call a blog started. I ended 2013 resolving to, among other things, get a story published in the coming year, and I managed knock that one out of the park by getting 5 stories published this year (along with 26 rejections, but that’s beside the point). The feeling you get when someone tells you they want to publish something you’ve written is kind of hard to describe—rewarding, validating, and a relief are words that come to mind—but what’s strange is how quickly you move on to the next thing. A story got published? Awesome, on to the next one, it needs a home, too.
I’ve started submitting my new stories to markets that are harder to get into, so the rejections are really going to pile up, but that’s okay, because possibly the most important thing that happened with my writing this year is that I gained a small semblance of confidence. I still wonder if all the thousands upon thousands of words I write amount to little more than a steaming pile of poo, but I keep writing anyway. You know that saying, ‘dance like no one’s watching’? It’s kind of like that—write like no one’s reading. It’s been put more eloquently by others, ‘write for yourself,’ ‘write the kind of stuff you’d like to read,’ etc., but the gist is the same.
And that’s probably a good attitude to have, because have I mentioned I finished the rough draft to a goddamned novel? I’m super proud of it, which is good, because lord knows if anyone will ever read it (in an officially published form, anyway). I’m also *this close* to finishing a second one, so next year I hope to have not one but two completed novels to send out into the big scary world to try and get published. Wish me luck!
One strange thing about having a blog: I literally have no idea who’s reading it. Don’t get me wrong, I know a few things: I know roughly how many people look at it, and in what country they reside, and I do know who a few of you are, but that’s about it. So if you took the time to read this blog, now or ever, thanks.
Feel free to hit me up, here or on Facebook, and catch me up on what I may be missing that’s new and important in your lives. And may your new year be filled with whatever it is that makes you happy. Unless what makes you happy is something really weird or illegal, in which case, c’mon, get your shit together.