2013, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:
Start with the Bad: The biggie for the year was recovering, such as it was, from the bad arm break and shoulder injury from December 2012. I wrote a series of posts throughout the year (see all the "The Arm" posts here) detailing the various ups and downs on that front. At year's end, I still have trouble and pain from that shoulder; if I don't remember to take a couple of hefty aspirin/Tylenol tablets several times a day, I notice. Oh, how I notice. (A small pillbox is now an obligatory part of my pants-pocket inventory, along with wallet and car keys.)
Range of motion and strength for the arm are still significantly compromised. I figure I can still do about 80% of what I used to without more than mild discomfort, then about another 10% involving stronger reaching and grabbing and lifting that I can do but have to work thru discomfort/pain to do so. And then the last 10% beyond that, which the arm just plain Don't Do Dat Shit No More.
It is what it is. I deal with it. But sometimes I deal with it by feeling broken and fragile and old.
Which leads into the Ugly: In 2013 I got yet another year older. This happens every damn year. What is up with that shit? In a sensible universe, you'd be able to skip that whole aging schtick once in a while. Somewhere, there's got to be a button you can click for a drop-down menu that includes "Stop Aging" or even "Get Younger" options. I'm getting a little tired of looking in the mirror to see some grumpy-looking old guy with a receding hairline and advancing wrinklage looking back.
But, hey, let's end this post with something a little more upbeat, the Good: 2013 was the year when I started writing and marketing fiction again on a moderately regular basis, after falling out of the practice back around 2006. Ironically, it was in large part because of the broken arm and subsequently being off work for months that I started up again. I've found myself enjoying the process again, enough that I've tried to continue writing even since going back to work at the end of July.
Concurrent with starting to write fiction again, I seemed to enjoy reading more this last year. I've delved into the explosion of self/indie-published books that have come out the past few years. That experience has been mixed. I've found a few gems, some pretty decent books, but also a large proportion of books that should have been worked over and rewritten more before publishing, and *sigh* a few that just made me cringe.
(The self-published work I enjoyed most this past year was THE DIRTY PARTS OF THE BIBLE by Sam Torode, a picaresque bildungsroman set in 1930's Hobo America with a slight supernatural element. My own review here.)
Among works from traditional publishers, I found myself reading ebook versions, or listening to audiobooks, more than printed hardcovers or paperbacks. Primarily this is because I have my smartphone within easy reach on my belt almost every waking moment; with several reading apps installed on the phone, I have access to a choice of books -- there are about 50-60 books downloaded to the phone at the moment, plus I can borrow library ebooks and audiobooks via the Overdrive app -- without having to carry around an additional bulkier object to read during free moments. Convenience trumps physicality.
My favorite traditionally-published books this year was an older one from 2001, Pat Murphy's ADVENTURES IN TIME AND SPACE WITH MAX MERRIWELL. It was fun to read. This 2010 review by Tansy Rayner Roberts says pretty much everything I'd say in a review of my own.
And so ends 2013.
(I've mentioned it before, but Tatsuya Ishida's SINFEST
is one of my favorite webcomics, including the traditional year's-end sequence
\when Death goes on the hunt for Father Time.
Big archive, large cast of characters, long backstories,
and multiple plotlines, but worth the effort to get into.)