Each year has been an adversary of sorts. I get up in the morning, brew coffee and wonder what will happen today. When the year is a string of victories, defeats and armistices, both modest and colossal, it makes sense to celebrate its passing – a ritual to acknowledge my survival. This year, I feel about things in a different way.
As I look back at 2014 with no particular plans to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a boisterous manner, I feel like a wandered who has reached a safe hill on a mountain, whose spine loses itself in mist. Behind me most of the road I’ve walked is hidden in lush vegetation or greater rocks, while the road ahead is vaguely outlined. The journey through 2014 feels short as a summer lightning flashing in the distance, but the exertion is written in my flesh. My bones sing with the echoes of every step taken. I pull the backpack off my aching shoulders, sit down in the dew-kissed grass and consider everything that’s happened in this full silence.
In 2013, I frequently joked with a friend how 2014 would be the year of perpetual change, though I didn’t take my words seriously, because who doesn’t imagine great things coming to their front step. I had no idea how prophetic they would turn out to be. I had the opportunities to do things I never thought I’d get to do and learned invaluable lessons about life, people and happiness.
I learned being a writer isn’t the loneliest profession in the world. It is only through the great generosity of the SFF writing community I was able to afford to travel half the world and get to attend Clarion UCSD 2014. There I learned more about storytelling and writing than I ever have in my entirely life.
I learned what acceptance truly means. Acceptance is seeing a gay pride where parents hold up signs saying “I love & support my gay child”. It’s something I’ve never experience openly in my home country and I hope in the years to come I’ll have the means to find a place where I do get to experience this.
I learned about working hard and pay-off. This year has been truly generous in terms of my career. I’ve managed to sustain myself entirely through freelancing, have sold stories to top tier markets, sold a reprint to a Best Of anthology, got an honorable mention by Ellen Datlow and will see a story of mine translated in Bulgarian.
I also learned that you can choose family after all. The biggest disappointment for the year is the proof that just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean you should trust them or help them all the time when the result clearly throws your own life in disarray. At the same life throws at you incredible, quirky and loving people who make up for all of that.
I have goals for next year. I’m already doing the groundwork, but nothing is too concrete. I’m open for change, wrong turns and getting lost.
The sun is rising again and I turn towards the uncharted frontier. The mist hides the treacherous chasm, but I see the gleam of lakes in the distance, the waking color. I get up, pick up my bag and I go. The horizon awaits. Are you coming with me?