Every year I feel obliged to explain this post, because it’s a little bit odd.
Some time ago — four years, I think — I was having a crappy birthday. Nothing big and dramatic; just the kind of day that makes one slouch angstily in a chair and think, “I’m twenty-three years old, and what do I have to show for it?”
This was a stupid question, and so I set out to prove that to myself. You see, I’m veryverygood at being self-critical. Not so good at patting myself on the back. Ergo, I made a post about the Awesomeness of Me: all my accomplishments, all the things I had learned, all the things I could do, everything I might be proud of in my life to date. I made myself do so publicly, because the point was to toot my own horn for once. And I didn’t let myself put in any qualifications or disclaimers — which was damn hard for me. Nothing but the positives, all in one place so I could go back and re-read it if I ever sank back into that Slough of Despond.
And this has become a tradition.
Mind you, this year’s birthday has been fantabulous so far. Lunch with friends, then a road trip out to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center — in five years of living here, I’d never managed to go. It’s sunny and the perfect temperature (as far as I’m concerned), I had ice cream, I’m relaxed and happy. But this is tradition. So here is this year’s update of Birthday Egotism: everything from the last year that I’m proud of.
So. I’m twenty-seven years old. What have I got to show for it?
Let’s start with writing. My second novel was published in October and is still selling at a steady rate of more than a hundred copies a week, which is encouraging. (So’s the first one, while we’re on the topic of numbers.) I’ve written four short stories, sold three and a reprint, and had three previous sales appear in print. I’ve also written my eighth novel, which I can say with confidence is by far the strongest one I’ve produced yet. I’m so very proud of it.
I’ve been a guest and panel moderator at a con. I’ve given interviews. Newbie writers have asked me for advice, both in a craft and business sense. I’ve come up with several intriguing notions for series that I can’t wait to pursue someday.
Academically, I’ve presented a conference paper on the drow (I love my line of study), and had presented in absentia the first collaborative conference paper I’ve ever attempted. I’ve agreed to write an article for an upcoming journal issue. I’ve pitched and had accepted two different course proposals, and last week I started teaching on my own for the first time, with positive results.
I’ve planned most of half of a wedding, in cooperation with my wonderful fiance. (Maybe I should post on his upcoming birthday about the awesomeness of him.)
I’ve traveled to England, my first trip abroad since 2002.
I’ve played in several games, creating characters I’m very fond of, some of whom managed to get all the way to the end of the games in question. I’ve been in a Regency LARP that’s one of my best gaming experiences in recent memory, and gotten numerous compliments on my achievement of sewing a Napoleonic Era naval lieutenant’s uniform. I’ve made more character soundtracks (and one two-disc set for the aforementioned novel). I’ve brought to a successful conclusion the first tabletop game I’ve ever run, and my players still reminisce about it to this day. I’ve (as of today) had one of those players ask me out of the blue if I’m ever going to run “that dragon game,” an off-the-cuff notion I cooked up nine months ago. (Since the asker is “not a gamer,” this is a particular accomplishment.)
I’ve co-hosted the inaugural Indiana Milk & Cookies, and been asked repeatedly when we’re doing it again.
I’ve moved and decorated the new residence. I’ve started cooking more, including one or two recipes that I halfway designed myself.
I’ve gotten friends addicted to TV shows and books I think they would like, in a pleasing affirmation of my ability to judge such things.
It’s been a quieter year than some, but a good one. And today is a lovely milestone marking the change from one year of my life to the next. If such things are omens, then this upcoming year will be lovely.
And full of other things to be proud of.