Hoo boy.

A year ago I summed up my 2019 and made some optimistic plans for 2020. We’ve all looked back at least once during this long, dread year and remembered those sweet summer children of January 1.

I actually accomplished most of my goals. I did indeed finish and publish volume three of the Voidstrider saga, The Angel and the Djinn. Alas, despite working quite a bit on notes on planning, I still haven’t drafted a single word of the Florida Man vs the Elder Gods novel. I did manage a couple short stories and a novella, so … mixed bag, I guess.

I also managed to re-connect with distant friends, exchanging several letters with a friend in England and one in Amsterdam. I, obviously, failed utterly to reconnect in person with friends in nearer locales. So, again, mixed bag.

As for my efforts to be less cyncial and angry, well…. ::gestures broadly at the hell year just ended:: But, my goal was to “make efforts to be less cyncial and angry,” and I have never made such constant and strenuous efforts in that regard, and nevermind these efforts were entirely in vain.

I guess what I’m saying is Dread 2020, as a whole, was itself a mixed bag. You’ll likely not remember it with any fondness, but take a moment here to appreciate the unappreciated. It truly wasn’t all bad, it just felt that way because the darkness was unrelenting and terrible.

We — you and I, that is — have survived. (I assume. I am typing this up a couple days in advance, so…) Survival is not all we take with us into the new year, but in this of all years it may be enough. I don’t know. I’m as shell-shocked as the rest of you.

Whatever you’ve learned and accomplished during the Dark Times, you’ll take that forward as well. Maybe you learned to bake something, or create an enduring physical object with your hands. Perhaps you embarked on a new, distance-friendly career. Perhaps you made amends, and perhaps you cut toxic ties. Perhaps you began the year with one dog who spent too many hours without you, and ended it with three who are honestly starting to feel a little crowded and maybe you might want to go back to work at least, like, one hour a day. Y’know. For a bit of variety and excitement.

I spend a lot of my time in imaginary futures; I claim no special awareness of the actual future. 2021 may be worse. The clusterfuck our species has made of our world will not vanish or reset. There is work to be done. There is always work to be done. But this is not to say optimism is dead. There have been many deaths this year, but let us not allow that to be one of them. We have work before us, but we are alive and perhaps equal to the task and as we are carried unstoppably downwhen we can allow ourselves moments of joy and hope. Surely we can.

As always, friends and neighbors: be excellent to one another.

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