Monday, December 30, 2013

Alive in 2013

Being alive in 2013 has meant embracing the worst case scenario. To be honest, on the grand scale, this year didn't have a lot to recommend it. Politically this country seems to have slipped a gear. Yeah, I know that this isn't the first time the government's been shut down or certainly the first time when our two ridiculous political parties couldn't agree on anything. But for a year beginning with such minimal hopes, seeing them crushed again and again and again was dispiriting. In the process of writing these few year-end posts I looked back over my posts this year, especially the ones post-Newtown. Boy did I get that wrong. I figured worst-case scenario there would be some token expansion of the back-ground checks and a renewal of the assault weapon ban. And then it was just the background checks and then it was the NRA dancing in the streets. What an absolute failure.

I get a weird twinge of jealousy whenever I see reports of the Chinese space program sending a probe into space or making plans for a space station. Why can't that be us? Why is this country so screwed up that we can't even get anything done anymore? Is that all we are, a country of people content to watch movies about space disasters instead of funding actual exploration?

So, I spent the year reading a lot of fantasy, a lot of science fiction and watching a lot of Star Trek. Honestly, other than the original series and TNG, I never really watched the other shows back in the day. I don't read the expanded universe fiction. I don't have a Star Fleet uniform. And yet, increasingly I could hear myself talking about this one show again and again. My friends' eyes glaze over, my dog wanders into the other room when he hears the opening theme, my cats sit in silent contempt.

But I can't stop. There's something about this show that I want to believe in this year. I need to believe in a ship, a family, out there in the stars, exploring the unknown. I want to think that beyond of this back and forth between politics, job, and all the rest that there's something better waiting. We just have to wake up and change things.

Even as I stay the same. Everyday I'm at my desk, writing a few hundred words, sending out stories when I think they're as good as I can make them right now. Getting my first story published was a tremendous lift to me this year. I've got another one coming out at some point this next year on a science fiction story a day website. I've been sketching out a few details for another novel. Every draft I discover another tiny little trick, or another mistake I never noticed before. If something is important you keep working on it. You keep doing it.


I'm grateful for my friends and my family. I'm happy to have a house to slowly, steadily improve each year. I'm grateful for my wife, my best friend, and another year together trying to make things better, one small step at a time.
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