The Stupid 365 Project, Day 91*– Looking Back/Looking Ahead

December 31st, 2010

2010 was a year I probably won’t forget until at least 2012.

On the personal (selfish) level:

It was the year that e-books came out of nowhere to uproot the traditional publishing model, shattering Manhattan’s grip on what America gets to read and opening the doors for writers to write any damn book they want and put it out there to sink or swim.

It was the year that I started making money from that revolution, and more power to it.

It was the year that I began to blog daily for no good reason and promptly screwed up the numbering, as *Everett Kaser pointed out in an exhaustive index to the project.  It would appear that this is actually Post 91, not (as I had thought) Post 89.  Thank God the mistake wasn’t in the other direction.  By the way, I’m giving a lot of thought to the future of this project, and with the new year I’m going to entertain some new approaches.

It was the year I made friends (or renewed friendships) with all of you.  And don’t think it hasn’t meant something to me.

It was the year I read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Number9dream by David Mitchell; Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes; Factory Girls and Country Driving by (respectively) Leslie Chang and Peter Hessler (taken together, the best thing I’ve ever read about present-day China); The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer (thanks, Mun); and started the brilliant new translation of War and Peace by Pevear and Volokhonsky.

It was the year Junior Bender came out into the light, looked around, and decided to stay. (Great review of Crashed yesterday, by the way, by Kevin Holtsberry here.)

It was a peaceful, healthful, and even moderately prosperous year for my wife, my dog, and me.  And most of our friends seem to be keeping their heads above water.

On the larger level:

It was the year of WikiLeaks, which I think revealed some of the darkest aspects of our current government, whether run nominally by Democrats or Republicans.  Freedom of speech, it would appear, is not so much a right as a convenience to be withdrawn at the whim of the powerful.

It was the year it became clear (to me, anyway)  that Obama has either lost or never actually possessed the core of decency and calm certainty that he sold us in the election.  It was also the year he lost his ability to communicate.

It was a tragic year in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  Those are already tragic places, riven by massive internal divisions and home-grown lunacy. They don’t need us, too.

Looking Ahead:

Random reasons to stick around through 2011.

People keep doing things like this, a drawing in pencil by a Russian artist called Guran.

Or like this, a tiny, devastated Chinese library created by hand to be photographed by a New York artist named Lori Nix.

And the world keeps looking like this, at least if you’re astronaut Douglas Wheelock, in orbit with a great camera and an artist’s eye .  The city of light down there is the City of Light itself, Paris; the dark band to its left is the English Channel; and the shawl over the Earth’s shoulders is the Northern Lights.

And also, I get to write some more, be married some more, talk with all of you, and aim at the best book yet.  And I haven’t finished War and Peace, either.

Have a great, safe New Year’s Eve.

14 Responses to “The Stupid 365 Project, Day 91*– Looking Back/Looking Ahead”

  1. Beth Says:

    I expect to have a great, safe New Year’s Eve in that I am spending it with, among others, my sister’s three granddaughters who are leaving for Disney World tomorrow morning on a 7:00 am flight. Our celebration begins at 5:00 pm and will culminate in ginger ale toasts using fancy glasses around 8:00 pm. My husband and I will be off the roads long before anyone else gets on them to celebrate.

    My children are hosting parties at their various residences so I don’t have to worry about them; they will be safe inside when the parties break-up.

    I have to disagree with you about Obama. The day he was inaugurated, Rush Limbaugh and Mitch McConnell both announced that they were going to make sure that Obama could not accomplish anything and that he would be a one term president. What is frightening is that one of the two parties who govern this country put party above country and the majority of the “enlightened” electorate who get all their information from Rupert Murdoch, who is not an American citizen, swallow information from an entertainment channel that admits it is the voice of the Republican party.

    I am a fan of Junior Bender but don’t forget about Rose and Poke and THE QUEEN OF PATPONG, a truly terrific book.

  2. EverettK Says:

    For me, on a personal level, 2010 was the year of Timothy Hallinan. Every year, it seems, I discover one author, or one book, or one series of books that really stands out from the rest.

    I’ve been thinking, the past couple of months, about going back through my reading history as far as I can (probably to about 1963) and creating a list of authors, books or series that meant a great deal to me at various points, picking one for each year. It would make an interesting (and revealing) list. Anyway, 2010 would have the name Timothy Hallinan next to it.

    Thanks, Tim! And my best wishes for the New Year go out to you, Munyin, your dog, and all of the follogers here!

  3. Bonnie Says:

    Beth, we will be celebrating safe at home, too. I’m making a weird pot roast sort of thing (recipe by Alton Brown includes cumin, cocktail olives, and raisins, but don’t ask–it comes out really good!), brussels sprouts, and cheesy stuffed potatoes. It’s my last night in Tucson, where we are sill amazed to look out and see snow on the mountains. I doubt anyone will stay up until midnight, though my brother and sister-in-law may watch a movie when they get home. On our recommendation they downloaded All About Eve from Netflix two nights ago and Judy (who is in her mid-40s) thought it was awesome! I’m going to turn my brother, who got a Kindle for Christmas, on to Junior Bender tonight.

    It was a year of loss for me–January and February I had to put down my 16-year-old and then my 19-year-old cats, my mother’s older brother died in February, and I lost my own brother in September. Strangely, this last event brought my family closer and we are really appreciating each other a lot now. So I hope we can continue that into 2011, and that I will continue to enjoy my circle of close girlfriends and not-so-close but much appreciated cyberpals.

    Tim, you commented once that it seemed highly unlikely to see Poke and Liz Salander hand-in-hand, but the millenium trilogy and your four Bangkok books are the only ones I have already reread in their entirety this year.

    Best wishes for a new and improved 2011 to all in the Blog Cabin!

  4. Laren Bright Says:

    Happy New Year and God Bless us one and all.

  5. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    This has been a year of discovery for me, a year of not terribly serious, but very debilitating illness, and finding myself opening to all kinds of opportunities which make life worthwhile. To my surprise, a lot of this has happened via the Internet which often feels more personal and immediate than some of the other relationships in my life. Finding this blog, and being inspired and moved by Tim makes me feel a little like Everett. I am writing now, and I keep referencing Tim’s teachings-as I read as well as I write. There is a saying in my business, that when the need is there, the teacher appears, and so I’ve been touched by you all. Bonnie, I wish you peace for a difficult year, Everett, thank you for your humor (I don’t know about that limerick though) and all the rest of you for sharing your stories. I wish to all an enriched and hopeful New Year.

  6. EverettK Says:

    Lil said: Everett, thank you for your humor (I don’t know about that limerick though)

    🙂 Tim’s an old softie, but he’s tough enough to take a little Poke-ing and prodding. If we didn’t get poked once in a while, we wouldn’t be sure where our skin divided us from the rest of the universe. 🙂

  7. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    The thing that is delightful about this place is that I usually end up laughing. Everett, how right you are. Unfortunately, I seem to learn more from the “Poke-ing” than from the easy ride.

  8. Debbi Says:

    I think I previously mentioned something about an award. Well, this is also the year when you get one for this blog.

    I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out who to pass this on to. You made the decision easy. 🙂

  9. Philip Coggan Says:

    All the best for 2011 to Tim and to everyone – I find Tim’s energy intimidating (2 books a year???? and blogging????) but also a standing reproof to my primary setting, which is laziness. Ok, let’s get on with the year.

  10. EverettK Says:

    By the way, Tim, since you started this blog on Oct 1, looked at in terms of MONTHS, you’re now exactly ONE FOURTH of the way through the year!

    I know it’s been stressful and treacherous for you at times, but it’s been a wonderful experience from this end of the pipe!

  11. Beth Says:

    Bonnie, was your brother’s death sudden? One of my brother’s died 18 years ago when he was only 37. On November 15, my son’s birthday, one of my nieces died suddenly as well. She was 29. She developed a seizure disorder after a car accident when she was in high school. She left a toddler and now my brother and his wife are raising him. A formidable undertaking for two people in their early 50’s but he is their salvation. They have a reason to get up everyday and a reason to celebrate Christmas. He is keeping them grounded in life so besides being his own wonderful self he is a blessing who keeps his mother alive for them.

    For them, at the worst time of their lives, there is hope wrapped up in a little boy who loves Thomas the Tank Engine and Curious George.

    In four years, the family has had to deal with four sudden deaths. We are Catholics and for us these weren’t endings. The promise of eternal life, that we will be joined again with the people we love, tempers despair. My niece is buried our side of the family, with her great-grandparents, her grandparents, and the uncle she loved. She was welcomed by my sister’s husband, a granduncle who was a priest for 50 years, and her mother’s grandparents. She is with the people from time immemorial with whom she shares a bit of DNA.

    So, Christmas has meaning because it is the beginning of the salvation story. She is safe is the place for which she was created. As her great-grandfather said when he was dying, “They’ll be no tears. I am only doing what I was born for.”

  12. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, everybody, and happy New Year’s Eve. I have to admit that I’m a little embarrassed by all the effusiveness, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it or am not grateful for it. I do and I am, but I’m still a bit taken aback.

    Beth, I wish you and your family the healthiest and happiest of new years and I hope that 2011 will prove that I’m wrong and you’re right about Obama. I can’t tell you how much I’d like to feel differently about him. And thanks so much for reminding me about QUEEN. It sometimes feels like I wrote it three years ago.

    Everett, that’s about as nice a thing as anyone could say to me. It goes both ways, though; you’ve been such an enormous help all year that it’s hard to remember when you weren’t there, volunteering to do all sorts of things I wouldn’t otherwise even have thought of — the table of contents to the blogs, doing a voluntary scan and proofreading of the Juniors and the remaining Simeons, just generally making yourself indispensable. And thanks also for the news that I’m a quarter of the way through (pant, pant).

    Bonnie, another new member of the team — thanks to you for everything, too. I’ll never forget that without you I wouldn’t have a website right now — the domain name would have expired, and then I wouldn’t still be doing a blog every day but instead would be taking it easy and spending time with my — wait, tell me again why I like you? Oh, right. Sorry. And very sorry about the year’s losses. Every time we relax and take our hands off the wheel for a moment, life goes all bumpy.

    Laren, the same back at you, your family, your extended family, and all those you love.

    I’ve got to run to a New Year’s event and will finish up these replies (and holiday best wishes) when Mun and I get back.

  13. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    I’m back! We’re home safely and I hope I can say the same for all of you.

    Arrived to a couple of pieces of good news: reviewer Kevin Holtsberry has chosen THE QUEEN OF PATPONG as best novel of 2010 — not best mystery novel, but best novel. And CRASHED got five stars from the biggest mystery newsletter.

    Lil, it’s so wonderful you’re writing. There’s nothing better for processing a difficult year, or even a very good one, since both events require adjustments (at least when they arise in my life). And I’m so happy you’re turning up here to share things with us. (And thanks for your enthusiasm about the books.)

    Debbi, thank you for the award. I’ve never had a blogging award before, so this feels great. I’ll figure out with Bonnie how to put the icon on my site. That’s very generous of you.

    Philip, happy new year to you and all the best down there in Oz. Here’s hoping we all read your novel in 2011.

    Beth, what an amazing thing for your niece’s great-grandfather to have said. what a blessing to be able to face up to the Big One that way.


  14. fairyhedgehog Says:

    I hope this coming year will be a good one for you!

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