It’s hard not to feel like the world is in peril. So many of my personal heroes have died this year. American leadership is questionable at best (and downright devious at worst). As this year comes to a close, I have not felt merry or bright. I’ve spent the last few months feeling small and hopeless and afraid for the the future.
This has not been a great year.
While it feels like the end of the world, it isn’t. Probably. And good things DID happen this year and will continue to occur in small and large ways, I’m sure. These days I often find myself overwhelmed by fear and doubt of whatever is to come. It feels natural, almost reassuring, to lapse into paralyzed grief. But instead I want to fight. I want to read about all the things I do not know, to educate myself and make myself a better and more informed citizen. I want to help those who cannot help themselves and protect those at risk. 2016 was a disaster, but 2017 will have its own series of battles. Instead of wallowing, I vow to fight back, whatever that entails, and I beg for the strength to keep going when everything gets hard, as I know it will.
I’m not going to dwell on the bad things that happened this year. We all know them. We lived them. Drumpf. The election. The loss of so many great artists: Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Anton Yelchin, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, among others. War and horror in Syria. Black lives lost over and over and over. Terror attacks. Gun violence. Hatred. Homophobia. Racism. Misogyny. The list goes on.
Instead, I’d like to look back at what good I was able to find in an otherwise very difficult year:
- I turned 25.
- I watched Singing in the Rain and O Brother Where Art Thou? for the first times.
- We had many lovely friends over for brunch and dinner and games.
- I finally finished Gilmore Girls just in time to watch A Year in the Life (I loved it).
- I invested in replacing all our bulbs with CFLs.
- I tried to say no to projects that weren’t bringing me joy.
- All my friends came over and dyed Easter eggs at my house.
- I successfully explored New York City on my own.
- I SAW HAMILTON WITH THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST (minus Jonathan Groff).
- We saw Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder talk about Serial at Symphony Hall.
- Got to go to PAX East.
- I helped run the very small Cambridge Community Comics Arts Fair.
- We saw a special screening of Don’t Think Twice with a special Q&A with Mike Birbiglia and Chris Gethard following. (I also met Mike and he was very kind.)
- We went to Neil’s cousin’s wedding and it was just so beautiful and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.
- PODCASTS. All of them. What a glorious time for radio.
- I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $18,000.
- I was a second round reader for the Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest.
- I visited my dear friend Ross for a summer weekend in New York and we saw WAITRESS on Broadway.
- I apparently wrote “God help and forgive me I want to build something that’s gonna outlive me” at least three separate times in my diary.
- I was the Managing Editor for Boundless, which is a real book I helped publish.
- We threw what may have been the best summer house party of all time.
- We drove out of state to a casino to see a free Hellogoodbye concert.
- I was stalked by house centipedes (I know this doesn’t sound like a good thing, but I really learned a lot about myself and my relationship with insects with too many legs.)
- I work with some of the best people on Earth.
- We went on a Pacific Northwest tour of Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Vancouver, British Columbia and got to catch up with some truly amazing friends.
- I ate SO MANY gluten free treats. I made a lot of them myself.
- I get to eat apples again (in reasonable quantities).
- I started playing Vampire: The Masquerade with an absolutely phenomenal group.
- Neil and I celebrated four years together by watching Wolf Children and eating cookies and strawberries and drinking wine.
- I saw Built to Spill and Hop Along.
- FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM.
- I helped found Robot Camp, a comics collective.
- I took care of a lot of people’s cats.
- I helped plan, organize, and execute the 2016 Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo.
- I printed my very first comic: CATSTAR (illustrated by the illustrious Olivia Li).
- We finally caught up on Steven Universe.
- I invested in multiple pairs of long underwear for the winter.
- I am executive producing an audio drama podcast.
- I saw The Scottsboro Boys, which was one of the most brilliant performances I’ve ever seen.
- I made new friends.
- I saw MOANA!
- I had a Christmas that felt truly special for the first time in years.
- I started reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Also known as Game of Thrones. (God, it is taking me forever to get through.)
If you want to see my full book list, click below. It’s a little small this year, but I’m hoping to do better in 2017.
Happy New Year everyone.
Books read in 2016
Star (*) indicates graphic novel
(re) indicates re-reading.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (re)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (re)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (re)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (re)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (re)
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (re)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (re)
- SuperMutant Magic Academy* by Jillian Tamaki
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
- Frost Bite by Richelle Mead
- Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
- Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
- Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
- Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
- Something New* by Lucy Knisley
- Summer Days and Summer Night edited by Stephanie Perkins
- Hellbound Lifestyle* by Alabaster Pizzo & Kaeleigh Forsyth
- Maus* by Art Spiegelman
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
- Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
- A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
- A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
- A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin – currently reading