The most significant thing that happened to me in 2022 was my father’s passing in May. He had a good life and a good death, and I have no regrets about any of it. I know that my dad loved me and was very proud of me, and I was happy to be able to be there with him in his last days. But dealing with the event really shook me up and I haven’t written a word of fiction since then.
On the other hand, once I dealt with the paperwork (and there are still, seven months later, a couple of outstanding accounts to be dealt with) I found that my life had changed substantially in several very positive ways. One is that I have had a powerful reminder that life and health are finite and that we all need to spend time with the people we love, do the things that bring us joy, and take opportunities when they arise. Another is that I no longer have to devote the time and energy that my father’s care have taken — an increasing burden, though never overwhelming — in the last few years. And another is that the money in my dad’s accounts, which I had been managing with the assumption that he could live to as much as 100 with increasing medical expenses, was now no longer needed for those purposes.
So I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. Travel is my favorite thing to do with my time and money, and is what Kate and I retired to do. In the past five months I’ve been to Chicago for the Worldcon and the Papal Election Simulation, Dubrovnik and Rome, Disneyland, New Orleans for the World Fantasy Convention, Madison for Teslacon, New York for Broadway, and Ashland for the Shakespeare Festival (twice) plus several events in town and nearby. All of these were happily shared with friends and lovers. It’s been delightful.
I’ve also been making substantial donations to people and organizations that matter to me. I joke about “the David D. Levine Foundation for Theatre, Science Fiction, and Sexual Minorities, AKA The Geeks & Queers Fund,” and although there’s no actual foundation, that’s not too far off the truth. A lot of this year’s donations were one-time contributions (including the xestablishment of a scholarship in my father’s name), but with what remains I’ll be able to make a difference going forward. This giving is, to me, kind of a form of Retail Therapy but without having to deal with the things purchased. It feels good.
In 2023 I hope to keep traveling, keep spending time with the people I love, and keep contributing to people and causes that matter to me. I also hope to get back on the writing horse. I have a goal of writing something every day, which I’ll be starting on right after posting this, but I’m trying to be realistic and not doctrinaire about it — I have a calendar where I’ll be putting a star on every writing day and my metric is “I should be able to look at the calendar and not feel embarrassed.” I’m also applying a similar metric to exercise.
Another writing goal for 2023 is to support the publication of my SF novel The Kuiper Belt Job, expected to be published by Caezik SF & Fantasy in Septemer. A prequel novelette, “The Bucket Shop Job,” will be appearing in the January/February issue of F&SF, and I expect editorial comments on the novel to arrive in my mailbox any time now. And I hope to complete a draft of the “Vaudeville with Aliens” novel I’ve been working on since 2021 before the end of the year (fingers crossed).