I think it’s no secret by now that 2016 has been a really hard year for me and my family. A year ago, after another really hard year, I sat down and made a list of the best moments of 2015. There were sparks of bright light even in the dark of that year, and it felt good to highlight them. This year, I’m attempting to do the same. I want to look back at the brighter parts of what can accurately be called a wretched year, both personally and in the world (yikes!). So here goes, in time order:
1. Library Palooza – I went to this event with my friend Stephanie, and the two of us not only got to hear from many fantastic writers, but WE MET BRANDON SANDERSON!!!!!
2. Run 4 Hope – For my birthday this year, I requested no gifts, but instead for my friends and family to come out to a 5K with me to benefit the Rape Crisis Center in San Antonio. It was amazing to have everyone out there with me, and to be able to do so much good!
3. Maldralith – For just a few months this year, on the right combination of medications, my brain cleared enough to allow me to write again for the first time in a couple years. It was glorious! I finished a manuscript that I’d been working on for about a year then, and I’m really looking forward to working on the edits soon.
4. Haircut – It’s silly, perhaps, but the haircut I got last June was probably the most confidence-bolstering thing I’ve ever done and I was completely in love with it. It’s unfortunate that I’ve never found another stylist to replicate it, and the stylist who did the original left the salon to go elsewhere. Boo.
5. Vacation – I may not be particularly happy that I moved up to Wisconsin again at the moment, but our two weeks here this summer were incredibly peaceful and happy.
6. Wedding – My sister Becky got married the day before we moved across the country this August, and it was so wonderful to see her and Jeff so happy on that day.
7. Baby – My sister Aaren had her second son in September. Circumstances have prevented me from going back down to Texas to meet my nephew, Rory, but it’s still a wonderful thing to see pictures and to facetime-meet him and to have another member of the family join us.
8. Kitties – One of the lovely things about moving again is that we got my older cat, Ash, out of that old house. He was depressed and sick the whole time we were there, and since we moved, he’s been loving and kind, sitting in my lap again, acting playful, purring again. We thought he was depressed because we’d gotten a second cat, but now think it was all the gunk (mold, termites, etc) in our old house that caused his changed demeanor.
9. Movies and TV – I’m not sure what I would have done the last few months without various TV shows and movies to keep my brain steady. Particularly good experiences have included Ghostbusters (the new one), Me Before You, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Finding Dory.
10. Zoloft – This speaks for itself, I think.
11. Stick – I couldn’t end this post without including one of my favorite photos from the year. Jason gave me this shirt for our anniversary this year. Most people will look at it blankly and wonder why I’m so excited about it. This is a booknerd photo, most specifically a booknerd photo related to my very favorite book of the year, Words of Radiance. There’s a brief appearance of a character – yes, a stick – which speaks to one of the main characters for a few minutes. The stick says, “I am a stick.” (“The stick was not particularly eloquent.” – Brandon Sanderson) This still won’t make a lot of sense to those who haven’t read the book, but I love that particular scene, and my boys got a kick out of it when they heard the audio version (Kate Reading does an amazing job of narrating the stick’s conversation). I’ll wear this shirt with pride – once it’s warm outside again, of course!
That’s it! I hope 2016 has been a better year for many of you, though I know it’s been rotten for many as well. Just a few more days to the new year, though, right? Hang on!