Annus Horribilis: What I Learned in 2010

Most of you already know what a shitty year it’s been for me. For many. For others, it’s been a beautiful year: they’ve had babies, new jobs, good news, lost weight, and had plenty of visits from bunnies and unicorns. Instead of rounding out the year with a post summarizing all the shit that’s gone on to make me miserable, I thought I’d turn it around and contemplate what I’ve learned. (You didn’t think I’d get all mushy on you and give some optimistic shit about turning lemons into lemonade, did you?)

1. ON THE BIGGEST THING I DID THIS YEAR: Writing a totally excellent novel and publishing it myself was cool, but apparently not important enough to register on anyone else’s radar. Meh.

2. ON HYGIENE: Certain very expensive skin care products do actually work. And straight hair IS better.

3. ON SPORTS: Eli Manning is not a good quarterback.

4. ON HOT IRISH ACTORS: They are short.

5. ON LATE NIGHT COMEDY: While Conan O’Brien may have fought the establishment and come out alive, he is still not funny. (But neither are any of the other network late-nighters if that is any consolation.)

5. ON INDIE PUBLISHING: Despite all the advances of the past 2-3 years, we are likely still in Independent Publishing 1.0. My guess is that after the xmas 2010 delivery of e-reading devices by the xmas stork to millions of readers, we may see an actual market demand for a more reliable search methodology (or technology) so that the unqualified work is filtered out.

6. ON UNQUALIFIED WORK: Unfortunately for the experimental writers out there, we may not have much of a chance in 2011 to make much of a splash (though we are grateful now and forever for the e-medium to showcase our work). We didn’t create a strong enough force in 2010 to become an influence and in that time, the major publishers, the transmedia people, the private-equity backed tech startups, and Apple, among others, have all caught up so in Independent Publishing 2.0 we will likely be outweighed by the majors’ great power. The good news is that it generally takes a year for shitty writers to realize they aren’t getting any traction, so they’ll leave the platform to more qualified works. Or they’ll find another hobby. (Oh what a mean thing to say. I don’t exclude myself from that category, necessarily.)

7. ON CELLPHONES: AT&T 3G is awful and my iPhone works much better using the older Edge network.

8. ON TUITION: Spending one-third of my income on tuition for independent schooling for my kids is worth it. I have learned though, that there isn’t much point in making this investment now if I can’t afford to send them to Ivy League colleges, which I most definitely can’t afford in 12 years. Now I don’t know what to do.

9. ON RELIGION: I’ve become even more adamantly against the dogma of organized religion as much as I am adamantly in favor of free thinking. So I’m alright with my decision to stiff-arm the priest at a family baby’s christening to save my 4 year old from potentially having his worldview influenced by my godfearing mother-in-law.

I fucking hate top ten lists, so I’ll stop at 9. That is all I can come up with while it is past my bedtime. The thing I’ve learned that terrifies me most is that my parents are getting old; and I fear even just the potential that they may face what my grandmother succumbed to: the soul-eating mindlessness of elderhood. The most important thing I’ve learned is that my kids are the most beautiful, independent, confident little boys in the world and they make me and everyone around them happiest.


Filed under commentary, essay

4 responses to “Annus Horribilis: What I Learned in 2010

  1. I think there are genres right now that are hotter than others and it’s giving a good writer almost an instant “in”.
    I’m enjoying Backstabbed in Brooklyn! I just wish I had more time to read it. It would make an interesting movie from what I’ve read so far…I write scripts and I think you need to also!!
    Wishing you the best for 2011!!!

  2. >>>I have learned though, that there isn’t much point in making this investment now if I can’t afford to send them to Ivy League colleges, which I most definitely can’t afford in 12 years. Now I don’t know what to do.

    FFS, you KEEP MAKING THE INVESTMENT. How do you know one of them won’t turn out to have a talent that can make them rich before college age and then pay for college for everyone? Think, McFly, think!

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