I’m not going to make a great big deal out of this, but any year that starts with a cancer diagnosis is going to be weird. 2019 was weird. What began with a late-2018 visit with my GP turned into thyroid cancer surgery in February. But other than some post-surgical bullfrog-like throat swelling and some stuff that’s supposed to stay inside one’s neck leaking to the outside, it was all really, really okay. I know people who’ve lost loved ones to cancer this year. I know people who are currently struggling with it. I got lucky. It was all so weird and unsettling, but I’m grateful. Not for cancer, but grateful for the love and support from Lisa, my wife and partner in all things, and from my friends and family, and from people I hardly know, and from people I didn’t expect to hear from. I’m grateful for good medical insurance. I’m grateful for good luck. But it was weird.
More upsetting (and expensive) (and frightening) was the palm pit Amelia, our little angry snuggly dog, ate in June, which got stuck inside her and made her very sick and required emergency surgery to get out. I know she and Dozer aren’t our children. Children are human persons. Our dogs are better than children because dogs are better than humans. We love our dogs. They’re awful.
On the job front, it was a very good year. COG, my eighth novel, came out. It showed up on more bookstore shelves then any of my other books. It was the book of the month for the OwlCrate Jr. subscription box. It’s even in Target stores, which is weird. My publisher sent me to New York, LA, Dallas, Austin, Orlando, and Philadelphia. I got to meet readers and teachers and students and librarians and booksellers and other writers and book lovers, and everyone was really, really nice to me. I got BBQ and watched live music in Austin. I visited Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time. I ate dinners in airports for a week and checked into hotels ten minutes before the bar closed. I swam through school and airplane germs and got sick, and I’m grateful my publisher believed in my book enough to send me places.
Voyage of the Dogs came out in paperback. And I had a couple of short stories published: “Polly Wanna Cracker” in Wastelands 3 and “Big Box” in Uncanny. My agent and I sold two more middle-grade books to HarperCollins, so that’s my next year sorted. I’m currently wrestling with the edits on the first one, Weird Kid, and I have no idea what the second one will be. And rounding out the year, I sold a short story to the upcoming Clone Wars anthology. I get to play in the official Star Wars universe!
Lisa and I didn’t do any major travel this year, and we missed it. We’ll try to make up for it in 2020. I did fly up to Portland for a career spa with my friends, Deb Coates, Sarah Prineas, and Jenn Reese. Our spa included some amazing cocktails and the best sushi I’ve ever had. I went to the Nebula conference and World Fantasy Con, both in LA, which was a nice opportunity to see more friends.
I started playing ukulele and got kind of obsessed! I’ve been a beginner guitarist for like the last 80 years, and at San Diego Comic-Con I got a sudden craving to strum something, so I picked up a ukulele at a pawnshop and then got a slightly better ukulele and haven’t put it down since.
And, so, that was 2019. We didn’t do nearly enough to combat climate disaster. The Republican party and its supporters continue to make the nation a worse place. I had cancer. But for the most part, it was a good year, and I’m grateful to those of you I got to share it with. Thank you.