What else do I need to say? Those four digits in that particular order summons all the frustration, angst, shock, and exhaustion of the past 365 days, doesn’t it? I’m at a little bit of a loss for words beyond that, to be honest. Yet, I’ll clack at the keys and try to come up with a few other thoughts on the year that’s been.
I can make a list of all the global events, like the pandemic, the American civil rights protests, the American elections, Canadian politics (I’m Canadian, for those who don’t know), global politics, and so forth, but I’d be here until 2022. There was just so much and at times, it felt that it just wouldn’t stop with the onslaught. Go to any news site right now and they’ll have a million words written between them all to wrap up the overall crap year it’s been, and I don’t know that there’s anything else I can say that they already haven’t.
On a personal level, I’ve seen so many of you, whether old friends or new, through Facebook, Twitter, and in personal interactions, going through so much this year. We’ve experienced heartache and loss on what feels like a whole other level, and the pandemic only seems to have exacerbated that. For those who have felt the stress of it all this year: you’re still here, and I’m proud of you and all you’ve accomplished to make it to this moment. I don’t know what’s in store ahead, but you’ve made it this far, and that deserves to be recognized. We’re all in this together, and we’ll get through it all together.
It’s been a tough run for me too. I published The Worth of Gold (vol. 2 of the series) over the summer, making it my third book in print, and that was a highlight. Otherwise, as far as writing itself went, I almost quit at several points. In the nearly ten years that I’ve been earnestly working at the craft, and in the nearly five years since I’ve had books on the market, I hit my lowest points in 2020. I’m not going to bog this down with the details, but I will say that this year I learned just how cold and callous the writing/publishing industry can be. I had always heard the same about pro wrestling, and to a degree, I experienced that as well. I even thought, (naively so) that pro wrestling would have prepared me for whatever the writing world could throw at me, but not so. Wrestling can certainly have its trying moments, undoubtedly, but writing is a beast all to itself. I’m still putting myself back together from it all, if I’m being honest. I look at the word processor these days and the first thing I have to do is push through the self-doubt and anxiety and force myself to try to put some words on the screen. I’ve had a few good writing days, that way, but it’s still a struggle, and at times I wonder if it ever won’t be.
Health wise, I’m lucky to be here, and I’m thankful that I am. I was in a great deal of pain, and I made the stupid, proud mistake of ignoring it. Don’t be me. Pain is your body’s way of speaking to you when things are terribly wrong. Heed its warnings. In my case, I started hurting in late spring, and I continually brushed it off. By late November, a doctor and his amazing team at the Carbonear Hospital were putting me under to remove my gallbladder. The surgical team did a wonderful job fixing me up, the day surgery staff got me back to walking and I was seemingly on the road to recovery. Through no one’s fault, two stones escaped and lodged in my bile duct. That’s where the close call came in, and it took the equally amazing surgical and nursing staff at St. Clare’s to remove the stones before I went septic. My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone involved at both hospitals (special shout-out to my St. Clare’s roommate for keeping an eye on me too when I was in racks of pain) for taking the best care of me. I never once felt like I was in anything less than the best of hands. Every doctor, nurse, staff member, and security guard I spoke with were of the highest quality, and each one of you are a credit to your respective hospitals. Thank you, so much, to all of you. Because of you, countless others and I are here to see 2021 in just a few hours. It’s gruelling and often thankless work, and however much you’re commended for it is not nearly enough.
It’s not all bad, though. There’s been bright spots of hope among it all, and the optimist in me can’t help but feel that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel with this pandemic. I’m on the road to recovery from my gallbladder setback, and I’m hopeful that my anxiety with writing will eventually ebb. That upside goes for you, too. It might not happen immediately. January 1st is just another day, after all. Yet, the storm must abate at some point. It won’t be what we had before, but a new normal will emerge from what we’ve lived through. Life itself won’t stop, and there will always be personal, local, and global struggles we will endure, but there’s hope to be found in each other and what we do to help one another. With that, I want to give a few shout-outs to my bright spots.
To Kyra, first and foremost. I can’t wait to be your husband. Through everything that came at us this year, we proved ourselves to be more than capable of taking on that storm together. You’re my everything, and I’m ready to face all of life’s challenges with you just as we did this year.
Again, to the incredible staff of both the Carbonear and St. Clare’s hospitals. I wouldn’t be here without your tireless dedication.
To Stacey, who stepped up to conquer the mountain that was editing The Worth of Gold in the eleventh hour. You’re the real deal, and a true friend. I hope we can make your writing dreams into a reality soon too. To Catherine, Nathan, and Stephanie, who signed up to beta read the book. It’s because of you three that we got it over the finish line and onto store shelves. Be proud of what you accomplished. Be sure to check out Stephanie’s writing efforts too. She publishes as S.S. Yasumi and produced her own novel, Game. Set. Match! just this year. A great read for the fantasy and romance fans. To my friends and family who supported and cheered, I see you, and I love you all. I can’t ask for better. To my readers, raise a drink (alcohol or otherwise) to yourself. I’m so glad you decided to take a chance on my work and invest your time and energy to read it. Thank you so much for that.
To Andrew Marc Rowe, you’re a credit to the writing community and humanity in general. Read his work if you haven’t, folks. [His profile on Amazon] If you like my writing, you’ll love his; he’s funnier and a better writer than I in every way.
To the other writers, and those who have kept hope alive this year with their work and friendship, I see you all, and I thank you for being here.
To those we lost this year, through the pandemic and otherwise, you’ll not be forgotten. I have seen more than a few tributes to some of the amazing people to which we bid our farewells, and there have been some amazing legacies left behind that we’ll continue to honour and remember.
And to everyone who made it this far through 2020, I’m proud of you for sticking it out. Here’s to the future, whatever it may hold.
Happy New Year.
Here’s to 2021.