Word to all of our various mothers, and Happy New Year, ya'll!
2008 was a difficult year on our planet. China was laid low by a devastating earthquake. Terrorists wrought havoc throughout India and Indonesia, among countless other locales. Israel and Palestine finished the year off by trading missiles and rockets like blushing fifth graders swapping notes in class. The American economy tanked, leading to record home foreclosures and the worst year for the financial markets since 1931 (!). The publishing industry finished '08 on shaky footing. California might be sending out I.O.U.s this year instead of state tax returns.
It was a trying year and a tiring year, but it wasn't without its merits.
I think the financial situation in America was a necessary correction. Years of deregulation in the lending markets artificially inflated housing. Many who shouldn't have leveraged themselves did (and were permitted to in this new lax economy), and our current financial situation rests wholly on that bedrock of poor decision making in the housing sector. Things will improve as the market adjust over the next year. And this had to happen. We need to get in better touch with ourselves and our needs, and stop catering to our desires. I think things will get worse before they get better (I've heard the idea of 10% unemployment bandied about for this year, and it wouldn't surprise me at all), but that we will adjust our attitudes about debt and come to terms with living within our means. Americans have already illustrated this in terms of our driving practices over the past six months.
I am encouraged by America's decision to honor intellect and optimism in its choice of our new President. While President Obama faces a litany of nearly unprecedented challenges, I think he's up to the challenge. The partisan political bashing will, I hope, subside in 2009 and our country can make positive strides as a whole.
From a personal perspective, 2008 was good to me. I enjoyed my work at the college. I think I worked harder than I ever have in higher education and, as always, my students inspired and surprised me with their growth and intelligence. My colleagues at Deerwood kept me on my toes intellectually, and we saw our school go through some phenomenal physical changes as the renovation ran its course.
I can't wait to use the new theater for our cinema course. If you're a student reading this, look for the summer offering. Lots of changes in store for that little beauty.
My wife continues to amaze me with her strength and spirit. She spent 2008 as a tireless advocate for the students she works with at Forrest High, and she's done it all while adjusting to her first pregnancy.
That's right, we were fortunate enough to conceive a child in 2008! She'll be joining us in about ten weeks.
I read a lot of books (roughly seventy, if you count cookbooks) and had a great time with the writing. I think I matured in my ability to tell a story this year, and I'm thankful to editors Lyn Perry, Emily Thorp and Joe Vaz for accepting my work for publication. Your confidence is much appreciated, and I'll work hard to get the word out on these magazines and venues.
I finished thirteen short tales in 2008. I'd like to complete at least fourteen in 2009. I wrote a novel last year. I want to polish it in 2009 and find a publishing contract for it before this time next year.
Book #3 begins soon.
2008 was dim in some ways, but luminous in others. I hope those who read this will embrace 2009 as a year for positive growth and development. Best of luck in the new year to all of you, and thanks for reading.