Sunday, January 01, 2006

2005: An Overview

(I had intended to do this yesterday, but if you think I'm turning the Decepticon on in the middle of a 45 degree day, well, you're mad. And I'm not.)

2005, in the Chinese calendar, marked the Year of the Rooster, a cocky bastard of a creature with a whole lot of strut and bugger all balls. Being a rooster myself, I made sure to let everyone know that it was my year, this year, if ever it came up in conversation.

That said, the Year of the Rooster was not slated to be a kind year for roosters, (how very typical), and it wasn't. It was a very, very up and down year. I suppose extremes are character building. (My character is built! Leave it alone or you'll poke a hole in it!)

The year began with Clarion South, which shall remain one of the quirkier experiences of my life. It was wonderful. For six weeks, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, I got to be a writer, and nothing but a writer, and hang around with writers, and talk shop with writers, and write, and have to worry about nothing but writing. I'll never have that luxury again. Although I learned scads of useful bits and pieces, and can exercise far more control over my writing because of my time there, the best thing I took away from Clarion South was a lump of new friends.

Love ya guys.

From there, till July, the year wasn't so great. I've blogged enough about the true trials of being unwillingly unemployed, and while I could go over it all again, I think only those who are in the middle of it, or have been there recently, will understand. It's a horrible place to be. When I flipped through my diary for 2005, and saw how many jobs I'd applied for (at least 2 a week), and counted how many interviews I was granted (I can count them on one hand), I was surprised I got through at all. Even now, after having held down a job for 5 months, I'm still getting job rejections from applications I sent out. It was not a good time, and my family bore the brunt of it.

Love you, family.

And then I got a job, at last, at freaking last. To be honest, I'm still waiting to be pulled aside, and be told it was all a rather silly mistake, and they don't have a place for me after all. After a year and a half of job hunting, this job is precious to me. It will be the ruin of my shoulders and wrists, possibly my eyes, but I'm going to cling to it like a limpet. I will not go back to being unemployed, never again.

That said, being employed full time isn't easy either. It would help if I didn't have a hour commute on either end of the day, but that can't be helped. I don't mind the shift work (although I do mind having only single days off at a time), and the work itself is wonderfully undemanding and will not follow me home, but so much time has been stolen away from me. My brother feels the same; how has society managed to get itself into a position where the majority of people have to work so much they have no time for any of the things they want to do? How have we come to work so much that we are perpetually tired? I regret losing time.

If I learned anything from the whole unemployed/employed experience, it is that I need validation. Something to measure myself against. Even if it is merely doing my quota of 40 reports a shift, that's enough. I can prove to myself that I'm worth it. Whatever it is.

There were conventions along the way. Conflux was fun, Continuum was...well, to be honest it was a lot of time spent waiting in signing queues, but that's my decision, and I got my signatures, dammit. I got to talk to Neil Gaiman about Quentin Blake, and I got to do possum impressions at Jeff Vandermeer. What else does a year need?

I read, but that's hardly surprising. It's a failing of mine that I don't have a particularly good memory of when I read a book, so I can't say what books I read this year without pouring back over this entire blog and hunting out reviews. In fact, I don't think I will mention any titles, as they've all been mentioned. Every book is worth it. (With the possible exception of The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks.)

As for writing...My other regret. Although Clarion South ensured that I wrote probably 6 times more than I would have, I hardly wrote for the rest of the year. I've dribbed and drabbed here and there, but nothing serious. I pulled together the giant crab story (although I'm not sure if it I pulled enough, so to speak, and I'm afraid to go back and look at it), and secured myself a publication for early 2006, (see, that's me! If anyone can offer a better title, DO) and banged out a fun little piece for the Gastronomicon (which never fails to produce the reaction I was after), but I really don't feel that I wrote at all. I'm coming out of that, slowly. Although I have good (very good) intentions of fixing up a couple of Clarion stories, I've been swimming around in a spaceship world instead. I wanted to try a novella, to have some largish project that I could finish, and finish soonish, and thus be able to say "Huzzah! I am finish-ed!" but the more I drib and drab at it, the large the story seems to get, and the bloody thing is looking distinctly novelish. Still, I will stick with it. I've made a conscious effort to stay away from action and big monsters, and concentrate on relationships and the dynamics between people. Whether or not I can pull it off is another matter entirely.

Still, I feel I can still call myself a writer and not be called out as a fake.

I ushered in the new year at 5am. Midnight wandered past while I was sleeping. Yes, while you lot were comfortable in your beds (or not in your beds, as the case may be) I was staggering around in an overheated stupor getting ready for work. The house never actually cooled down after 45 degrees. Not fond of the burninating.

On the first day of 2006, I drove to work, alone, to the freaking city, for the very first time. Going in wasn't hard, the roads being 100% deserted, but driving out was horrible. To begin with, I had to do a 50 point turn to get out of the carpark it was that narrow, and I was that scared of scratching mum's car. Then, it shat down. To make up for 45 yesterday, the sky is trying to drown us. Torrential rain, like Melbourne never sees, and no! I haven't driven in the rain before! Alone! On the highway!

It was all rather traumatic, and I'm never driving ever again.

(Till next time.)


  1. Anonymous1/1/06 06:31

    till next time indeed :) happy new year!

  2. Anonymous1/1/06 06:41

    '05 does indeed seem to have been a tough year for a lot of people, in a lot of different ways.

    Here's to '06 being the rebound. Happy new year.

  3. Anonymous1/1/06 18:29

    Oh yeah. I forgot 2005 was a rooster year. And a not very good one. That could explain some things. Figures we'd get a crap year when it was our turn. :p

    But Happy New Year.