As I write this , the sky is bright baby blue. There is snow on the mountains, but none on the ground. It is icy cold, but not in a bitter way. There is some hopefulness in me and in the air.
So in a nutshell: on a personal level this year was certainly interesting. I mean–you all know why it sucked on a national and global level–I don’t have to rehash that (besides I think John Oliver did that best a couple of weeks ago anyhow).
This was my first whole year of NOT TEACHING. Which is to say that even though teaching doesn’t pay crap, it actually pays more than writing. So my first full year of post teaching was successful in some senses (figuring out what the hell I’m doing and you know the first year of any new career is always rough that way. But I wouldn’t go back or change my life in anyway that would put me back where I was. So yay.
I couldn’t do any of this career switching without my family–specifically my mom and husband but also my dad and his wife as well. Whether it be phone guidance or taking the kids for awhile or costco runs or great health insurance–I am lucky and being taken care of in many ways. And it is reciprocal.
Happy Accidents. I didn’t realize that when I decided to be home in Greenville more that that would mean my kids were hitting the teen and tween years and probably would benefit from me being around more so YAY! Hooray for that one.
I feel like I did a lot of stuff this year but at the same time feel like I didn’t. Ever feel that way? I decided to go back through my iCal and see what I could see of events and what not.
So going backwards here–trying to finish book proposal for my new non-fiction book manuscript Throwing the Curve about the rise of plus size alternative models. Like this one:
That’s me photographed like the hussy I am by Marilee Caruso in Vacaville. I wrote about the experience in the book and I got to meet some great women around the west coast who are in and around the body positive and plus size model scene.
I’m still DJing at Plumas Community Radio and this year because of my book I came up with the idea for a cool fundraiser. A Pin-Up Calendar of women in Plumas County! It’s on sale tonight at Quincy, CA downtown Sparkle event and on my etsy account: Pin-Ups for Plumas Community Radio. Catch my show on Wednesdays from 2-4 pm PST.
(cover of calendar)
So that’s December. I’m also trying to edit a book of poems by a fellow Los Angeles poet Rafael Alvarado.
November of course SUCKED. A friend of mine’s husband died in a tragic accident. Election woes. But there were moments of sunshine. I had a trip to Los Angeles and North Orange County at the beginning of the month and got to speak on a panel at my alma mater Cal State Fullerton–which looks far better than it did when I went there.
In October Wretched Productions produced my first ever audio book—eight creepy quirky and sometimes strangely erotic stories from Mary of the Chance Encounters. It can also be found on audible, iTunes, and all that. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it! Yay!
My mom said it was very well-written but she thought it was too creepy and questioned what goes on in my head. To which I say: HA.
In September I participated in my first ever fashion show. Which felt often a little odd (I need to see where I am walking).
I wore my favorite Monica dress from http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com. Go PUG!
And OMG MY KIDS AND I WERE IN OUR FIRST FEATURE FILM AS ACTORS (ME WITH ADDITIONAL RANDOM CREDITS FOR BEHIND THE SCENES THINGS). CHECK OUT DOLLY DEADLY!
Then there was the summer. I hosted the annual Wayward Writers Retreat with writers who are alumni of Ariel Gore’s Literary Kitchen. I host it here in Greenville and Quincy every summer.
We are an usual group as we do this with our kids sometimes:
But the focal point of my summer was the Library Project. In June I wrote a blog post on my sister blog Throwing Chanclas asking for book donations to start a library at the local junior/senior high school Greenville and the charter based program Indian Valley Academy where my kids attend school. The response was overwhelming. We received about 15,000 books and other library amenities. We ran out of room. We gave away books to other schools and programs. It’s been awesome! It serves as the hopeful note in the year for me. People can be good. Really, really good. And people care about the brain atrophy of rural America.
I met so many cool people in Plumas County this summer who came out of the woodwork to help put the library together! We opened up so many boxes. We are still sending thank you cards!
The spring is a blur of activity all geared towards writing–I got to go to Carmel with a blogging retreat, AWP in Los Angeles this year, readings at the Anarchist Book Fair in Oakland, readings in LA, cool stuff!
I got to see my dad both at his place in Green Bay (Thanks Dennis and Celeste for taking tweens/teens into your home you brave souls), and in Los Angeles in early Feb. Grandma who is 1995 scared us a few times with a few hospital and rehab visits. I got to take trips with my kids individually as well as together. And a couple trips with Jules by himself. So the year maybe wasn’t as bad as it seemed. There are high points after all!
I’m not kidding myself that the world isn’t bleak. It is. But I am in a fighting mode. That’s the thing with perimenopause. It makes the 15 year old in the pushing 50 year old go punk ass.
I’m getting political in 2017-2018.
I’m getting this book out too if it kills me.
I’m getting more things in at more places.
I have a part 2, to my play the sadgirl in the works as well as a musical homage to Tom Waits in the wings. I’ll be directing Listen to Your Mother Show one last time in Plumas County. I’ve got a few other surprises in store. I’m just going to keep doing the stuff that I feel like I do best and hopefully will make a difference. Hopefully someone pays me well to do something FUCK . SOON.
My kids don’t want me to write in my Christmas letter how proud I am of them but I am. They stand up for things, for people, for themselves. They are artists and thinkers and readers and sometimes a little jockish too.
I wish you peace this holiday season. I wish you warmth and rest. Like Mars and Ivy:
I wish you twinkling lights too.
(We went and got our own tree in the woods the day after Thanksgiving like mountain folk do).
I guess I did some things this year. I need a nap. And perhaps a cocktail.
I wish you and I the strength we will need to save our world come 2017.