So, What Sort of Year has it Been?

20150516_160337Looking back at 2015 it was a year filled with more highs than lows but the lows were pretty tough ones to deal with. Overall, it was a pretty good if unspectacular year.

We achieved our 35th wedding anniversary, a milestone of some note. To celebrate we made a weekend of it in New York City and loved every windy moment of it. We also squeezed in a 10 day trip to Tennessee which was much needed and thoroughly enjoyed. I doubt we’d enjoy these highs and lows if we were there for one another.

I also began my third year as a teacher and as we approach the halfway mark, I see the improvement in my planning and delivery so I just need to attend to classroom management. It’ll be a few more months before I find out my fate (i.e. do I get tenure or not).

One good sign of support was the administration waving a magic wand and providing me with a writing lab that best services the needs of both the creative writing and journalism programs. It took some patience but once everything was set up, both the kids and I were eager to put them to good use.

Me and my Austin team learning to be Journalism advisors.

Me and my Austin team learning to be Journalism advisors.

To prepare to be a better teacher and newspaper advisor I embarked on a busy summer. First there was the beginning of my second Master’s Degree, this one in Creative Writing and Literature through Fairleigh Dickinson University. After a three day residency to kick things off, the coursework has been online. With three down, I can say I am learning a lot, some of which has already been applied in class.

I also spent an amazing week in Austin at the University of Texas, training with the Reynolds Institute alongside nearly three dozen other teachers. I love that we remain in touch, supporting one another.

Flipbook coverIf anything was sacrificed for the above, it was time to write. As a result, my output was fairly minimal. I maintained an online presence with my twice-monthly columns at Westfield Comics along with my reviews over at ComicMix. But beyond that, it has been largely small pieces such as the short stories for Pangaea, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, and an essay for a forthcoming Planet of the Apes collection. I also managed five articles for Back Issue! and Doc Savage.

The rest of what little time there was wound up being devoted to revising Sherlock Holmes but I suspect it’s worth the effort.

I also did a lot of coordination work, mainly for Crazy 8 Press but also the Science Fiction Writers of America’s 50th anniversary blog tour (it went so well, I was asked to handle another one for 2016).

Pangaea Cover V2 (Large)

My one contribution to Crazy 8 Press was in the Pangaea anthology.

I somehow read about 70 books this year along with too many hours of television. We took in a nice variety of theater and performances which enriched us. We caught a handful of Mets games including Game One of the National League Playoffs which was very exciting.

Still, all the good times were tempered with loss. This summer we bade farewell to Dixie, who at 14, still had the spirit but had a failing body. We also tragically lost our nephew Nicholas too young and the extended family is still coming to terms with that.

The year began with Deb dealing with a horrible cold but thankfully, we’ve been relatively healthy since. The move to Maryland continues to be an adjustment but it’s now home and our roots grow a little deeper each day. We have plenty of things to look forward to in the coming year which is certainly nice.

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