Goodbye 2016

Well, it’s that time again, another year gone. This has been one crazy year. Though I began the year optimistic what the year had in store for my work, my country, and my world, few of the good things I was hoping for materialized, and things I had not even known to worry about came to pass.

From the start to the end, we had a lot of celebrity deaths. We have them every year, of course, but 2016 seemed worse than others, and especially cruel at the end.

Most incredibly, a candidate for president of my country, a man with objectively no qualifications whatsoever for the job and a tremendous number of disqualifications, was declared the winner of the election. What made his “victory” possible was the discarding of hundreds of thousands or millions of minority voters by the Republican-controlled states, together with the support of the proudly ignorant and the unabashedly racist. This is not what I thought my country was. And now, even though the incoming administration has abandoned the pretext of doing something useful and isn’t even trying to hide their profiteering, a large chunk of the country doesn’t care. I thought we were better than this.

And probably worst of all, it was a terrible year for medical issues, with my father-in-law experiencing an event that changed all of our lives in ways of which we still don’t know the full extent. And when that seemed bad enough, we found that my mother needs open heart surgery—that she should have had it already, and she will get it within days.

In all this distracting mess, I still tried to get writing things done, and though moving put me in the role of full-time childcare provider, some of it actually worked out. I had much bigger plans, of course, but I still managed to release a couple good books, first Long Way Home and then Angel of Death.

More importantly, I think, I figured out some things about improving my productivity. I discovered the Miracle Morning routine, and I got into the habit of daily meditation and gratitude. I also discovered the ultradian rhythm concept and how to mesh the Pomodoro technique into larger scale productivity. And I’ve become more of a disciple of Dean Wesley Smith (and Kristine Kathryn Rusch), and I think that bodes well for my future.

Perhaps the best thing is that my daughter started kindergarten this year. She is very smart, and she has been a good reader for quite a while, and I was afraid that she would be put into a classroom where the lessons started with letters and colors. And that happened. However, they started the year by doing assessments of the children, and they reported to us that our daughter tested above the first-grade level for reading and above kindergarten for everything. They recommended that we move her up to first grade, and we did, and she has been very happy there. She is already reading chapter books, and I couldn’t be prouder.

Looking forward at 2017, I’m excited. I plan on getting a lot of books finished and out, and I think I have the pieces in place to make it happen. That actually seems to happen every year, but this year … well, we’ll see. As I said, I’m excited.

These are interesting times. I hope I can make them more so. I have plans to.

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