2018 Was The Year When I…

. . . first read Horacio Castellanos Moya and still can’t get over it

. . . started to work out at a group fitness and loved it

. . . started watching Fox News

. . . was invited to speak in Germany

. . . had gallbladder surgery

. . . discovered that I would really love to mentor graduate students

. . . traveled more than usual

. . . had a fantastic reading year filled with authors I never imagined reading

. . . created an essay prize

. . . discovered that I really enjoy running a scholarly organization

I only put the things that really surprised me here and not the obvious like “wrote articles, submitted articles, taught courses, made dinner.”

How would you finish the sentence?


23 thoughts on “2018 Was The Year When I…”

  1. 2018 was the year that I…

    -Started to design my own author/fiction website.
    -Started having chronic pain.
    -Graduated with an AS in Biology.
    -Got my first full-time, non-seasonal job (bonus because it’s related to my field).
    -Bought my first pair of scrubs (and my second, and my third).
    -Found I really, really like answering the phone at work (which I hate doing normally).
    -Paid off my credit card debt, and kept paying it on time.
    -Got digital cable (to watch Doctor Who, of course).
    -Finally found a reading/writing schedule that works for me.
    -First worked an evening shift.
    -First worked a night shift.
    -Worked my first twelve-hour shift.
    -Rediscovered caffeine (completely unrelated to the previous three items — I started drinking it again when I was still in school).


  2. Oh, this is fun!

    2018 was the year I …

    — Had great success in raising grants. Hired my first research scientist, on top of two postdocs and a small army of grad students.

    — Had eldest kid start college. It messed me up more than I thought it would considering I still have two at home and precipitated some serious internal struggle.

    — Had eldest kid start college! I’m so proud of him! He’s so independents and doing so well.

    — Had Middle Boy start middle school and puberty. He already has the largest foot in the family. His appetite and the family’s monthly budget for meat went way up.

    — Went to a first pro basketball game, with MB ! Enjoyed it. Very expensive, though.

    — Went to a first monster truck rally, with MB! Enjoyed it. Great fun, great people watching, and not too expensive.

    — Reconnected with my sister after a very long time. It was great to talk with her.

    — Reconnected with a grad school friend after a very long time. Great coffee, great fun.

    — Met some really cool people on literary Twitter. Some of them restored my faith in humanity. There are many kind, funny, smart people out there. Literary Twitter is the best.

    — Joined a local science fiction discussion group. Met some cool people there. Got reminded to look past the looks.

    — Really upped my fiction writing. 19 short stories or long flashes, 9 drabbles, 1 creative nonfiction essay. Longlisted in several competitions.

    — Realized that I naturally lean toward genre fiction, especially science fiction, horror, and surrealism. I am actually quite decent at writing them. Who knew? Sold some stories to semipro or token-paying markets. Trying to crack those pro-markets.

    — Got nominated for the Pushcart Prize for my story “Mildew,” a surrealist dystopian tale.

    — Started walking 5 km every day, outside. Fresh air is amazing, plus it’s an hour just to myself. Highly recommended.


  3. 2018 was the year that I…

    Not too many surprises (I’m at the age where that’s just fine, thank you very much). But I will say
    – for a lot of the year walked an hour or so a day and enjoyed seeing differences in parts of the city I hadn’t seen in years…
    -went to Italy for the first time (and finally discovered what ‘al dente’ really is)
    -finally realized that the eu really doesn’t have a plan for southern europe beyond permanent poverty and austerity (I had thought they had a plan that just wasn’t working, no such illusions anymore)
    -started to see a prediction come true (citizen uprisings against the status quo in western europe)
    -found out students in Poland no longer have any kind of common cultural background (in terms of music, movies, books etc, it’s all very atomized)
    -found out that ongoing political intrigue had resulted in my work place being “abolished” on Thursday by the head of the university (sounds worse than it is, it’s a bureaucratic reorganization of the kind that has happened a few times before) but the political games (which I mostly stay out of) were not pretty and have created a lot of bad blood in what is usually a very pleasant place to work…


      1. “sounds a little disturbing”
        Well there was a meeting with the dean who kept underlining that our employer is the university and not the abolished… unit (bigger than a department smaller than a college), which will be reconstituted soon in a very similar form. like I said this isn’t the first time it’s happened. And some kind of bureaucratic reorganization was going to happen soon anyway (new law on the organization of universities) so I don’t anticipate any disruption.
        The saddest part is several colleagues who turned on their mentor in a really nasty way. The mentor had… enabled some bad behavior on their part but didn’t deserve that in return just before the holidays.


    1. Helping them work on their research and go on the job market. I don’t have any graduate students, obviously, so I seek out other people’s. It’s pathetic but I’m desperate.


        1. I’m in the leadership of a large scholarly association in my field. When graduate students send us their essays they are hoping to get published, we can reject them without any comments or work closely with their texts to make them publishable, like I do.


        2. “mentoring other people’s graduate students”

          Now I have a mental image of Clarissa wandering around the halls whispering “Hey, you look like a grad student, can I interest you some… mentoring?” under her breath.


  4. …finally found an editor stupid enough to buy my lesbian werewolf novella.

    …literally lost a million dollars in less than two months in my stock holdings, and just in time for Christmas.

    …was heartbroken when my irreplaceable stereoscopic 3-D television died after only 4 years. (Nobody makes 3-D American TVs anymore, so I can’t watch all my 3-D DVD classics like “House of Wax” in their full glory in my living room.)

    …almost punched out my financial advisor for saying for the hundredth time, referring to my young relatives back east, “Take care of people now so they’ll take care of you later.”

    …got my fifth call for jury duty in only 20 years since I’ve been retired here in Arizona. I can’t wait to turn 75 in 16 months, so they can tell the Maricopa County Superior Court to kiss off.

    …made it through the year in good health, and managed to stay the same optimistic, cheerful person I’ve always been.

    All in all, not a bad year!


  5. Too much to list if I start thinking about it & so will try to avoid listing regular-type accomplishments or regular-type fun. I will have to think about it and just make notes now.

    the issues with my father and my brother. meaning of
    the issues with various other patriarchal authorities. meaning of
    the translating / consulting business. meaning of
    painting the offices, at home and at work. meaning of
    the two best days ever at my job. meaning of
    not solving my research / writing problem yet. meaning of
    new approaches to teaching. meaning of
    got dumped by an old friend. and got back in touch with some others of that era. meaning of

    I’ll add to the list & break these bulleted items in parts, and think about it. This is an interesting exercise indeed


  6. Saw my first comet. Two comets, actually (The second one is still visible so if you can see the Milky Way where you are, go look for 46P/Wirtanen – https://in-the-sky.org/findercharts.php?objtxt=0046p&duration=5). Now to see a total solar eclipse and the aurora borealis
    Did my first magnitude estimation of a nova, submitted it to the American Association of Variable Star Observers and had it used in actual research
    Bought my first telescope
    Understood the meaning of Christmas
    Got my first major project at work – I’ve taken part in others, but this time I don’t have someone more senior than me to hold my hand
    Got to visit CERN and the La Palma telescopes.
    Inched half a toe into mountaineering


    1. “Saw my first comet.”

      Impressive list, but you aren’t old enough to have seen the Hale-Bopp comet that was easily visible to the naked eye for about 18 months on clear nights in 1996-1997, and will be back around 4380 AD?

      EVERYBODY saw that!


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