Looking back, looking forward

25 years ago I met a cute redhead at a New Year’s Day brunch. I got her phone number, but did I call her? Not before she called me. We went on a date the next weekend — to the movie 2010 — and didn’t spend a weekend apart for five months. Within the year we’d moved in together. (You can get her perspective on that meeting here (part 1) and here (part 2).)

10 years ago I was a manager at Intel, and miserable. I had an Employee From Hell and I had no one to blame but myself, because I’d hired her; I was under enormous stress which I was transmitting to my employees; and I’d just been turned down for a transfer to a position as an individual contributor in Intel’s Smart Toy Lab, so I felt trapped in a position for which I was manifestly unqualified. I had written a few short stories but not yet sold any, and I was preparing to apply to Clarion. There were other things starting to happen in my life at that time that have since borne strange fruit, but at the time I had no idea how significant they would turn out to be.

The year 2009 for me was Made of Win. Looking backward from here I see a surprise acceptance into the Mars Desert Research Station; a trip to Disney World; winning the Endeavour Award; the Worldcon and subsequent travel in Quebec; joining the Wild Cards consortium; giving a talk at the Library of Congress; many fun conventions, workshops, and fly-ins; and an exceptionally successful year of short story writing, with the most stories written, most stories submitted, most stories sold, and most stories published of any year in my career. I put my butt in the chair and wrote — 250-500 words or an hour of editing or research — every single day this year and it really paid off.

My biggest area of disappointment and frustration this year was my two novels. Remembrance Day was rejected after over a year, and due to an email snafu has not yet been resubmitted (it will go off again in January), while The Dark Behind the Stars languished all year on the desk of an editor who has not, to my knowledge, even looked at it and doesn’t return my agent’s calls or emails. If I don’t hear back on that one soon I’m going to pull it for non-response and send it elsewhere. I really want to be a published novelist, and I’m already working on a third novel, but these absurd (non)response times mean that the effort/reward ratio for short stories is so much higher.

New Year’s Eve was spent with my beloved Kate, the abovementioned cute redhead, preparing and eating one of our favorite festive meals (a garlic-crusted prime rib) and watching… 2010. (We also ushered in 2001 with 2001).

New Year’s Day was a delightful brunch at the new home of the same friends who hosted the New Year’s Day brunch at which we met. It’s so nice of them to throw us an anniversary party every year.

The year 2010 looks busy, with my mission to “Mars” coming up next week (gulp!) and a trip to Australia in August/September, as well as many other fun travel opportunities. My new year’s resolutions tend to be quirky, and this year’s is to read Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey/Maturin books in order. I have other goals for the year, including a revised pledge to write every day (starting in February), but that’s my resolution.

The next 10 years will no doubt include many surprises. If the last ten years are any indication, currents in my life that are already beginning to flow, if only as a trickle, will become the rivers that course beneath my days ten years from now.

25 years from now, if the fates allow, I will be celebrating my 50th anniversary with my one true snookie. Beyond that I’m not going to even try to predict.

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