Not Too Bad, All Things Considered – 2022 and all that it involved.
There’s a profound difference how different nationalities respond to being asked how they are. The wonderful Bill Bailey evokes such differences in his sketch, “Not too bad all things considered.” (I’m not doing links to anything but this sketch is to be found on You Tube) I’d recommend watching it because it does encapsulate how most Brits are. Self-effacing and with a level of quiet pessimism, we’re often incapable of being enthusiastic about how things are going. Maybe there’s a fear the gods will hear us and think, “Ha ha, let’s see about that then!” and send us something truly awful. Maybe it’s the constitutional reluctance to boast about the good things (again, lest they be ripped away from us). Whatever it is we’re often to be found playing down both the good and the bad that life sends us. Well, I am, anyway, hence the title of this blog.
I’ve only blogged once this year till now. Given I began blogging in 2009 and sometimes blogged a number of times a week and even daily, that’s a huge change. Blogging itself is not the draw it used to be, either for readers or for bloggers. The instant-noodle appeal of such platforms as TikTok (avoid, avoid!) have taken over, though I hope that will change. I can’t cope with short form anything and I can’t watch TED talks, or listen to podcasts. It’s rare I can watch anything much; it grates on my nerves.
So how has the year been? Another curate’s egg, I fear: excellent in parts. I published “A Voice From The Cave”, which did very nicely for a few days, being a mover and shaker in Hot New Releases, and was a bestseller for a few small categories on Amazon. I have doggedly continued to chip away at one work in progress “On Hob Hill” and it stands at 85k words, and almost finished. The hardest bit by far is to come: to complete it, tying up all loose ends in a neat and entertaining bow. I need a couple of weeks without any sort of crisis, chaos or difficulty. Other works in progress await me getting back to them.
There has been too much of ongoing health challenges, both mental and physical, to find energy for much more than surviving. Every time I think I might have carved out some time for me, for writing or for exploration, something else comes along. Given that my cousin died shortly before Christmas, I am reminded that life is uncertain and one needs to carpe diem (seize the day) but I’d rather just watch the carp instead.
Day job, I had a single assignment this year which I enjoyed immensely, working with a primary school group, and visiting the beautiful and historic city of York for a couple of days in May. There was an incident in the hotel we stayed in that may one day be woven into a ghost story but I won’t spoil that by explaining further. Keep your powder dry (so to speak) is good advice for writers.
I’ve read a fair bit; my notebook tells me I’ve finished reading 57 books, but it may be higher as I kept forgetting to write them down after I finished them. Highlights include, “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” by Elisabeth Tova Bailey, “Maus” by Art Spieglman. “A Closed and Common Orbit” by Becky Chambers, “Precious Bane” by Mary Webb, “Transforming Depression” by David Rosen, “Bone” and “The Maiden King” by Marion Woodman, “Gathering Moss” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf and “The Mystery of the Coniunctio” by Edward Edinger. I was less than impressed by “The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman but given the propensity of celebs/celeb writers scouring the web for criticism, I’m being cautious in my comments. I will say that I won’t be bothering with the rest; were the author not already a celebrity I would not have felt that was a sufficiently impressive debut to justify to continuing series. There are many superb writers whose series got cancelled because their first book didn’t do well enough. Publishing is almost entirely about money, something I still find difficult to accept.
I’d like to thank anyone who has bought, read or reviewed any of mine this year. You don’t know how much that has meant to me. I feel ever more invisible and without value or worth, and that makes it even harder to keep writing and publishing to a largely indifferent market. I keep telling myself it’s not about the numbers but it’s hard not to feel useless.
As 2022 ticks (not toks!) to its conclusion, I would wish all my readers (long-standing and new) the very best. I saw a meme recently that talked about how instead of hoping for good things to come to oneself in the coming year but rather resolving to BRING good things to it, and to others, and that is what my own resolve is. To bring good into the world in whatever ways I can manage.
May 2023 bring you blessings, though. We all like those.