#TakeBack2016 Retrospective–Let’s Do This!

Happy New Year everyone!

So, wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I kinda fell down in the second half of last year, and I’ve had a little trouble getting back up. And I suspect I’m not alone in this: 2016 was such a horror show for most of us, regardless of which side of the political aisle you might be on. (And if you didn’t know before which side I’m on, you’ll have a pretty good idea after this post).

#TakeBack2016 TigerI think my year personally wasn’t as difficult as 2016 was for some others: I still have my health, I haven’t lost any people dear to me thank goodness—except for my sweet boy Tiger, who was about 17 or 18 years old (not to belittle that; I’m still sad), I did have a little professional setback (that continues to haunt me), but I won’t go into that now… so things could have been worse. But from the various celebrity deaths to the absolute dumpster fire that was the entire presidential “campaign,” it was still a dreadful, hellish year.

I started out pretty well in 2016, professionally. I had set a number of strong, concrete, ambitious but conceivably achievable goals, and I did fairly well at starting to accomplish them. But then Alex and I moved, which is stressful in even the best circumstances. And then the election got into full swing. I got so hung up on the latest incredible bullshirt strewn out by the campaign of a certain disgusting orange individual whose name I can barely bring myself to say, never mind call him my president (#NotMyPresident, #NeverMyPresident), that I got a bit obsessive with checking Facebook and seeing what the latest was. It was a horrible, vicious cycle that I’ve fought hard to get out of since the election. And the worst part, professionally, is, with all the important discussions going on about who might lead our country, I felt like anything I would want to write about (ie: pop culture, entertainment) was trivial and frivolous, and just unimportant in the grand scheme.

I don’t mean to blame the election for all my problems, but I also know I’m not the only person to feel this way about it. The arts are probably more necessary now than ever, and it’s more important to fight for them than ever, so we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Since things have calmed down a tiny bit since the election, I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, and try to have a better 2017. (Please, whatever higher power may be out there, let us have a better 2017.)

But first, I’m going to do what some others have done and make an attempt to #TakeBack2016. This meme, which asks people to name 16 good things that happened to them last year, went around a little bit in November and December. I actually made this list for a meeting on December 3rd (the second annual San Gabriel Valley Women Writers‘ December Tales meeting, where the women’s writers group I co-founded meets and shares some of our stories for the past year and goals for the new year), but I haven’t had a chance to share it publicly since then. As I’ve mentioned here before, it’s so important to make lists like this so we can focus on what we have accomplished, and what good has happened, rather than always focusing on the negative or what’s left undone.

So without further ado…

My #TakeBack2016 List:

  1. We bought a house! We moved pretty quickly and successfully without any major problems, I think.
  2. My cats Arya and Leeloo have gotten a little more comfy with the move and are even starting to sit on our laps from time to time. Yay.
  3. I went to the Society for American Music conference and I will now be writing a chapter for an upcoming book on musical theatre (which means a lot of work to come, but that’s an exciting thing).
  4. I went to the Song, Stage, and Screen conference, and wrote a little about it, so I made a teeny tiny bit of money back for it.
  5. I successfully pitched a story to Contently’s The Freelancer, which I really hope will be published soon.
  6. I got stuff published in a few new pubs, including The Toast, before it shuttered :(, LA Weekly, and New York Observer (I’m so proud of that piece), as well as HowlRound. As my readers know, I also posted a lot in my blog in the first half of the year.
  7. I called with Culver City English Country Dance twice this year, and again this past Sunday, and am now among their roster of regular callers, so it seems. I’m almost done building their new website too. If you’re in Southern California, come dance with us sometime!
  8. #TakeBack2016 Ragtime dance flyerI taught a few times for the Victorian Tea & Dance Society, and hope to do more in the future—starting with a Regency waltz workshop on January 29, 2017, before their Jane Austen tea dance. Join us!
  9. I set up my own Ragtime Dance Workshop in May, and hope to do more of that in the future too (and not just ragtime).
  10. I went to New York in June and saw a bunch of great shows, including Waitress, which I fell in love with. We also had a lovely Queens Symphonic Band reunion at my parents’ house (my father founded and ran the band for many years and I played percussion in it), and saw old friends we haven’t seen in years. I also met with Maureen and Joe, two high school friends who I haven’t seen in years. That was fun.
  11. I successfully taught a website building workshop, two actually, to the San Gabriel Valley Women Writers group.
  12. I built a webpage for a writer friend, and I look forward to doing more paid web building.
  13. Alex became a semi-finalist and then a finalist in his screenwriting competition! He’s anxiously awaiting the results. Keep your fingers crossed for him!

    #TakeBack2016 John Flansburgh

    Gina, Me, and Alex dancing with John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants. Yes, it was as bizarre as it looks.

  14. We went on the JoCo Cruise again… And got to dance on stage with John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants. That’s kinda cool!
  15. I made a new dress for the JoCo Cruise: my Tardis dress!
  16. I had a lovely visit with family in New York over Christmas, and saw many close friends in Maryland over New Years—one of whom kindly encouraged me to keep writing in my blog. He’s part of the reason I’m posting this. (Thanks Sean!)

So, you know, these aren’t all bad! Things certainly could have been worse. Hey, that’s not a challenge, 2017!

Speaking of 2017, I’ve also put together a new list of goals for the new year, but I think I’ll save them for a separate post.

So how was your 2016? I hope it wasn’t completely awful.


One thought on “#TakeBack2016 Retrospective–Let’s Do This!

  1. […] week I shared my #TakeBack2016 items: a retrospective and an attempt to find the good that happened in 2016, rather than focusing […]

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