2018 Not Entirely In Pictures

Posted: December 31, 2018 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Well first of all you’ll notice I’m doing this on my rarely-used-these-days blog page. Perhaps that’s a sign of something in itself? Probably not. Try not to read too much into it.

So 2018 then? Well, I’ve got very mixed feelings about it, which I’ll get to with a bit of preamble. The main thing is that it showed signs of improvement in the final quarter, which I need to carry into 2019 at full speed. But to really nail down where I’m at with it, I guess I’ve got to talk a little about the last three. You haven’t seen me much on this blog page, and I think I can briefly explain why.

Anyone around me in 2015 will know that it was the kind of nightmare for me one can only wade through, and truly kicked of a patch of total awfulness, some of which remains under repair. Mostly autopilot through that and into 2016, which was somehow arguably worse. 2017 was not great by any means and ended on a rough note. That led to starting 2018 with a Grand Tour. If you ever need anyone to stress test your suitcases I’m probably a good bet. Think I got through four of them in total.

I spent most of January in Stoke recovering from a bout of fatigue I didn’t even know I had until I worked out the headache and entire days in bed *might* have been related to this. Thanks to Farah and Edward, Miles and Ivan, I got through to the next stage. I spent some time in 1987 in an excellent LARP I managed to attend because I have amazing friends. I have more thanks to that weekend, not to mention a fresh spin on With or Without You, We Are the Champions (for the first time this year) and We’re Not Gonna Take It . These days the Void is conversational when screaming into it, which is a reasonably positive development. I had another year whereby I was not exactly prominent in LARP areas but got to some great stuff.

The tour itself ended up being a lot of bouncing between London and Manchester thanks to a bunch of great people keeping me moving. I’ve had a great base in the last few months thanks to two in particular. And I’m never short of pet company either.

So the less good things so I can get them out of the way. Had a miserable year of job hunting frustration overall. Biggest interview I had did everything they could beforehand to ensure I was wracked by nerves, which isn’t me in interviews at all. The real kick though has been that on at least four occasions, I got as far as interviews, and then the employer disappeared off the face of the earth as far as I was concerned, no matter what approach I took to chasing up. I’ll politely say other aspects of my life have been remarkably similar without getting into detail.

Also, just as I built up a bit of writing momentum in the second half of the year, I had it rather dramatically swatted away by something out of my hands. I have a couple of potential solutions in place but only time will tell how that one pans out. However I’ve a good chunk of the Grenshall Manor Chronicles book 3 drafted, and I think the finished work will be fine once I have polished it to what it needs to be. I had plans for a fourth book, but they have altered quite considerably. More on that some other time. Get me a drink first.

And one particular loss hit me very hard this year, and a few others in one of my little gaming community. A really good person gone far too soon, but certainly not forgotten there. We’re seeing to that.

2018 is a year I’ll remember for letting go of some rather unexpected things I was close to. But the saying goes, as one door closes, another opens. I’ve had a bunch just slam in my face as I was walking too, but in a few cases, just end of an era, or an enforced change I didn’t necessarily see coming. It’s okay; just required deep breaths and a bit more of a plan going ahead.

So, good things. I have managed to do pretty well for conventions this year. Eastercon in Harrogate was great, though I have unfinished business at Betty’s Tea House as I didn’t make it while I was visiting, and also the guest house I stayed in was fantastic, complete with fresh baked bread at breakfast each morning and a brilliant room mate. I’ll be honest, he’s a regular for me on that front and we’ve been friends just about half my life now, but that’s just an additional bonus point, David.

Nine Worlds I’ll mention because I’m pretty sure I had a great time, great company and I have learned so very much in the programme role I worked on in the two years I was doing it, and made yet more excellent friends. I step down from that spot happy in the knowledge that I have some great stories to tell from there, and experiences that I can take elsewhere to other capacities. It’s been emotional.

And Fantasycon, whereby I am one of the Redcloak volunteer staff, as well as happy panellist. I’ve got myself a little con family there, which is just amazing and far beyond any possible expectations on my part. I’m certainly looking forward to the 2019 adventure there!

Deadlands convention counts as well. I wasn’t threatening to go up the Doomtown world rankings at any point there but I did run an RPG, I think the only one I’ve run this year, and loved it. You can do an awful lot with a good bunch of players. Plus, I got to play cards. Lots. More of this please. Oh, and UK Games Expo. ‘Survived the Bear Pit.’

 

A huge surprise was getting along to the amazing Adventure X convention, which totally rekindled my love of gaming just by hanging out with some great folk involved in the industry. Maybe…

There were a couple of other LARPs, both of which down, once more, to really lovely folk who helped me to get along. The Danger Market took me back to the 60s as a spy, and cosmetic factory employee, in one of the most fun opening acts I’ve had to an event yet. Players believed I was crew for quite a while, so evidently did my job! Most recently, I attended the second run of Returned, which was wonderful, terrifying and every other kind of entertaining in between.

2019 then?

Well, I don’t have a huge amount of power to poke the things blowing up around us all at the moment, but behind the scenes prodding is something I occasionally do very well, provided I can find the right buttons. So I can assure you I’ll be looking. MPs have been spoken to, petitions signed, and other letters written as well. I might not talk about it that much but something affecting us all so also doesn’t find itself easily ignored.

I haven’t had the space to set myself any goals or targets in recent years: once I’ve stuck at the top of the list, ‘GET THROUGH IT’, that pretty much took up the entire page. Hopefully personal focus will move slightly away from emergency survival mode protocols and more into featured activities, though thanks to the loveliness of others I have still managed to turn up to things. This part has a good schedule already, with Worldcon being held in Dublin and having my fond enthusiasm for some time now, and of course more than delighted to don my Red Cloak once more. I intend to play more cards, continue to hang out with excellent people and all of that fine stuff.

However note that I’ve taken on at least one small writing project for life after book 3, which you will see in some capacity in 2019, sorry for keeping you all waiting, but I can assure you it’ll be worth it in the end. I’ve laid the groundwork for some new projects, including a different urban fantasy universe, something a little more historical; something a little different, and a more space-shooty thing which I’m more than enthused about and will be delighted if sees the light of day. I’m also going to be jumping on more short stories because I enjoyed the bug I got for a few I did this year. Didn’t get published unfortunately, but at least they got out somewhere. Long-ago followers will know how much of a big thing that is given my third paragraph on this post. Oh, yeah—I’ve taken on editing an anthology as well, which you will know much more about as 2019 unfolds. Unexpected? Yes. Exciting? You bet.

And as well as new faces, I’ve made some contact with some of my classic friends too. This is on one hand long overdue and on another, timely. You’ll see!

So here I am, raising a glass to what has gone, to the wonderful people I have, and to what is to come. There are some gritted teeth in there of course, but if I can get half of what I’m planning to done, I’m already eager to give you that review this time next year! This is before we even get into the thing I’m enquiring about that some of you already know about.

Good luck to all of you out there who have read this, and thank you for everyone who has had my back up to now. There aren’t enough words to express quite how much I appreciate it.

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  1. […] after being name checked in Russel A Smith’s blog yesterday I have been shamed into doing a new year post of my […]

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