What was 2022?
looking back and forward
About one year ago, I had my first kiss with my then-long-distance partner and then we found out that Betty White was reportedly dead. It was both of our first gay kisses and it was too much for the universe, apparently.
So much has happened since then…the various anniversaries of my manic episode that caused some havoc in 2021, including leaving my teaching job; my partner came out and lost her grandma; we traveled to see each other; I moved from Indiana to New Jersey and helped my partner and her mom move out of their family home; I left my collapsing small newspaper job to work in education again; I had car trouble; we traveled up and down the northeast, visiting bookstores, theatres, concerts, zoos, and aquariums…It hasn’t been easy. But we have each other and we’re building this little life.
In other news, Twitter, the website where we met and the book/writing community thrives, is falling apart. I tried Mastodon but then it seemed like more people from the community went to Hive, and I just could not start another new thing. I found myself posting and even lurking less and less (getting into Duolingo and a solitaire app also helped), and I am…fine with that. I don't have anything to really promote right now, so I might as well just write longer form things, here and in my novel. Twitter is also killing Revue, where I previously had this newsletter, and I honestly don’t have enough energy to archive it. I think I am just letting go and moving on. I can’t even get much traffic from posting this to Twitter since that website deprioritizes links, apparently.
I also didn't spend much time at all trying to pitch to outlets, because everything I had ideas for was too timely to get done with my schedule, or I wrote something too long for the submission guidelines. It wasn’t worth the energy when I could be writing other things. I think I will gravitate more toward essays submissions for more literary places instead of pitches. I often don’t want to center my hot take opinion on various things anyway, and I don’t have the time or connections for more thorough freelance journalism.
I read lots of great books this year, too many to do a proper round-up…and like last year I also am enjoying keeping some of my thoughts to myself. While reading is connected to my writing, of course, I also want to preserve some of it as enjoyment. Still, here are some favorites from the year:
Nonfiction: Ace by Angela Chen (audio); Girls Can Kiss Now by Jill Gutowitz; I Came All This Way to Meet You by(audio); Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby (audio); The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman (audio)
Literary Fiction: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (audio); Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour
Graphic Novels: Heartstopper: Vol. 4 (and beyond online) by Alice Oseman; The Girl From the Sea by; The Fire Never Goes Out by N.D. Stevenson ( ); Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Middle Grade: The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga (audio); Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake; Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow; Starfish by Lisa Fipps; Both Can Be True by Jules Machias; Attack of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King
Young Adult: Loveless by Alice Oseman; The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore; Nothing Burns As Bright As You by Ashley Woodfolk; The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta; Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore; Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender; I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman; How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow
Romance: Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake
And yet, I still didn’t even read 50 books this year (not including picture books), which used to be the norm for me. I fell behind reading newsletters, too. But my partner reminded me that this isn’t about quantity. The quality of what I did was significant. Emotionally, I think I came a long way.
So, I think for next year I am just going to have the main goal of working on my novel, and whatever else I create will also happen without the added pressure. There doesn't seem a point in doing paid posts here and on Patreon, because no one is paying, so they would go to no one. If you would like to support my writing though, you can do so by subscribing or pledging here or on Patreon.
Elsewhere, I am working on becoming a certified teacher in New Jersey. I would like a teacher job in the fall, but I need to make sure it is the right fit for me. Right now is the anxious waiting time before applications start appearing, which is before I’m (hopefully) certified. I have a back-up plan, too.
But. One day at a time.
Finally saw Hadestown and the Company revival on Broadway, with my partner, which we wanted to do in 2020 before the world shut down.
Saw a professional production of one of my favorite musicals, Next to Normal (Westport Country Playhouse)
Visited my alma mater Indiana University and its town Bloomington for the first time since February 2020 and got to show my partner the various places I’ve texted her.
Went to New Jersey Pride in Asbury Park with our friend Cody, who I finally met in person
Swam in the ocean for the first time and read many books on the beach
Met my favorite author, A.S. King
Started rock climbing
Made some more peace and closure with having to leave my teaching job last year
Work as a 1:1 aide with a wonderful student
Saw one of my new favorite bands, the UK’s Bears in Trees, play a magical show in a bar in Brooklyn
Went all-out decorating for Christmas in our new place
The End of Discourse by DongWon Song
This essay from: