As 2019 ends, and the final year of the decade begins (at least that’s how I count it), it’s time to take stock and judge the year as a whole.
Deb and I had a relatively quiet, relatively good year. We saw plenty of television, a handful of plays and a bunch of movies, did a touch of traveling, got closer to new friends in the area, saw a close couple relocate, and the usual ups and downs of living.
We did welcome Harley to our home, rescuing him in July. He’s been an interesting work in progress, making friends with some dogs, getting accustomed to the sights and sounds of our community. With Deb on the road so much this year, it was nice to come home to someone and have companionship at night.
We did catch Stephen Kellogg, Bela Fleck and Chick Corea perform an amazing duet with banjo and piano and I spent my birthday watching Lori McKenna. I also caught Eileen Jewell which was a delight.
For work done in 2018, Deb earned a spot in her company’s Medallion Club so I got two days off from school and accompanied her to a resort in Mexico which was luxurious and has spoiled me. We also traveled to Florida to visit mom and to Georgia for a mini-family reunion which was a delight, especially since it was the first time in years my brother, sister, mother, and I were together. She also spent the year training new hires so we were both teaching which was an interesting set of experiences for comparison.
Perhaps the most interesting weekend was when I was on Long Island, performing a wedding ceremony for family friends Sammi Rozakis and William Cosgrove. I had my Internet-issued credentials and helped ensure the day went off without a hitch. It was scripted for me and the readers from top to bottom although we were expected to ad lib and that we did. It was one of the most original and happy events I’ve ever attended.
In addition to my usual Shore Leave and Farpoint convention appearances, I was invited to be a guest at Camden Comic Con, spending a lovely day talking with fans and reconnecting with numerous professionals I don’t see often enough. Sadly, I had to miss Baltimore Comic Con this year but we had committed to spending our 39th anniversary together at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, which included time with family and a stealth visit to Fairfield where Deb sang with her old church choir and was welcomed home like a lost sister.
The second semester of the 2018-19 school year and the first semester of the 2019-20 year have been a study in contrasts. The student composition was vastly different between the two and I find myself far happier with the current crop of classes and students. In both cases, teaching six classes a day has been tiring and time-consuming. I also spent a week in July attending a workshop on Teaching with Primary Sources, which was invaluable. So was attending the National Council of Teachers of English annual convention in November.
In May, I was reelected to a two-year term on the HOA Board of Directors and now serve as its Vice President. It’s been a busy year for the Board as we completed our arbitration work and have turned our attention to maintenance projects. I have fallen into the role of writing the opening note to our monthly newsletter, which gives the Board a friendly voice.
Speaking of writing, this year saw the publication of short stories in Defending the Future, Beyond the Cradle, Thrilling Adventure Yarns; Who’s Who entries for Heroes of the Public Domain #3; articles for Back Issue! and RetroFan; an essay for Outside In Gains a Soul, intros for various Eaglemoss Star Trek Graphic Novel volumes and DC’s Crisis Companion Vol. 3, and of course, DC Comics Super-Villains: 100 Greatest Moments and Batman: 100 Greatest Moments. I’ve also written, for 2020, stories for Pangaea III, Bad Ass Moms; Justice League of America: The Wedding of The Atom and Jean Loring (intro), The Batman Interviews Vol. 1-2 (intros), From Bayou to Abyss: Examining John Constantine, Hellblazer (essay) and The Flash: 100 Greatest Moments. I fully expect there to be more.
On the editing front, I handled New Dawn: Exiles for Valerie Mikles and The Art of Luis Garcia for Dynamite Entertainment in addition to assembling Thrilling Adventure Yarns. The Kickstarter success for that volume blew me away, a freelance highlight of the year.
And of course, the usual twice-monthly columns at Westfield Comics and assorted reviews for ComicMix.
Finally, when I hit 40 I decided the warranty on my body was up and became religious about seeing my various doctors on their recommended schedules. When I was having an annual check from the dermatologist, she found too many pre-cancerous growths on my forehead (from years without sufficient headgear or sunblock) to be happy. Two Blue Light treatments later, I should be in good shape. My ophthalmologist diagnosed a dramatic weakening in my left eye as well as the beginning of cataracts. A new prescription solved the former (dismissing most the eyestrain that had bothered me the last few years) and we’re now keeping watch on the latter. The lesson here is never to neglect your health.
#Tags: 100 Greatest Moments: Super-Villains, Batman: 100 Greatest Moments, Bela Fleck, Beyond the Cradle, Chick COrea, ComicMix, Crazy 8 Press, Defending the Future, Farpoint, Harley, HOA, Howard Weinstein, Lori McKenna, New Dawn, NYCC, Outside In, Sammi Rozakis, Shore Leave, Stephen Kellogg, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Valerie J- Mikles, Westfield Comics, William Cosgrove