Let’s be honest here: 2017 sucked. If your year was awesome, well, chances are you’re either a millionaire, you are oblivious to the outside world, or you are Taylor Swift (which means you are a millionaire and oblivious to the outside world).
This is not to say nothing good happened. Of course it did! Through the smoke of the gigantic dumpster fire of 2017 you could catch glimpses of beauty and truth. I hope that your personal life involved at least a few lovely things, and that here at the tail end of the year you’re able to look back and see those lovely things no matter how much of the world’s bullshit wound up burning in a bag on your porch. Let those be the things that warm you as we head into what is likely to be another difficult year for those of us with a social conscience and a lot to lose.
As for me, I feel an immense relief that the year is over even though I have no real reason to imagine 2018 will be less of a turd soufflé. And rather than analyze it all to death, I’m just going to bury it in the litter box and try to be done with it – I need my strength for the year ahead.
But here are ten small-to-medium things about 2017 that I did love, in no particular order.
1 – I did kind of publish another book. That’s pretty cool.
Incidentally it’d be really awesome if you read Shadow Rising and would be kind enough to leave a review or rating on Amazon. I don’t read reviews (no, not even good ones) because they’re bad for my mental health, but every writer needs them to help encourage people to try out their work.
2 – Wonder Woman.
Even though DC has misfired dreadfully on 90% of its superhero movies, this one was like a breath of fresh air and optimism in an unrelentingly dreary year. At long last a movie with a female superhero character who wasn’t constantly framed for the male gaze – no long shots down her cleavage, no posing with her butt positioned toward the camera in defiance of anatomy and logic. Was it a perfect movie? Oh gods no. It turned into a giant CGI brainless brawl at the end, and I still can’t get past Ares’ porn stache, but if you didn’t see a bit of yourself – of our collective soul and sanity – in the No Man’s Land scene, standing up and resisting, refusing to be moved – well, you should probably watch it again:
3 – Hamilton.
Late to the party as usual, but listening to the soundtrack on a whim one night led to my falling head over heels in love with this weird hip-hop retelling of the founding of America and, by extension, its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who I think might be an actual unicorn. If you want someone on your Twitter feed who’s positive, hilarious, and full of heart (and who writes sonnets on a whim just to say good morning), follow him, you won’t regret it. I think when the purge of horrible men in Hollywood is done it’ll be just him, Chris Evans, and Patrick Stewart left standing. I’m totally okay with that.
Enjoy, here, the Tony Awards performance of Hamilton’s original cast, introduced by the Obamas. Notice that the “battle” involves no guns – the props were removed for the performance because that was the day of the mass shooting in Orlando.
4 – Lucifer.
And now for something completely different. I don’t quite remember what made me start watching Lucifer, or what inspired me to slog past the first few ridiculous episodes, but by the time the first season was halfway over I was HOOKED. Aside from the gorgeous and talented cast, the show is way better than it has any right to be – the characters, especially Lucifer, Amenadiel, Mazikeen, Doctor Linda, Chloe, and the Goddess of Creation, are so emotionally compelling. Based on the characters from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series of graphic novels, basically the idea is that the devil leaves hell to live in Los Angeles, run a night club, and eventually fight crime. Yeah, it’s as dumb as it sounds, but it’s also amazing, due in no small part to Tom Ellis’s performance as Luci.
I tried to find a clip to show you, but the really good stuff depends on context, so just take my word for it and go watch the show.
5 – My new Tarot deck.
After a long, long dry spell in the mystical department, I’ve gotten back into Tarot. Rather than trying to work with oracles that aren’t really talking to me anymore, I decided to try something brand new, and have embarked on learning actual Tarot (my preferred oracles have been, as you may know, the Runes of the Elder Futhark and the Brian Froud Faeries Oracle). Inspired by YouTubers like Katey Flowers, and the fact that I’ve always been a sucker for a beautiful deck, I re-bought the Tarot of the Hidden Realm, and am currently studying it along with a more traditional Rider-Waite-Smith deck and my Shadowscapes deck by Stephanie Law.
And lord, does the Hidden Realm deck talk to me! For the moment I’m concentrating on using the cards for myself, but I’ll probably start reading for other people once I’m more comfortable with them. I have something of a divinatory spark, and it always wants to catch others on fire.
I’ll have a full post about my Tarot explorations soon.
6 – My Funko Pops! collection.
My desk at my day job is like a toy store at this point, and my Funko Pops! are the stars. My favorites so far are General Leia and Bob Ross, who are front and center (along with a vastly amused black cat figurine):
My other favorite, of course, is Dorothy Zbornak, a gift from m’bestie; here she is having none of Stephen Strange’s nonsense, while Patty from Ghostbusters stands guard nearby.
7 – Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl”
I wasn’t as thrilled with Ed’s newest album as I was with the last one, but it does have some great songs, and the two that are Irish-inspired are probably my favorites. This one for some reason just always makes me smile and bounce. Smiles and bounces are important.
8 – Contouring 101.
If you haven’t seen this video…I don’t even know how to describe it to you. It’s…a parody? It’s bizarre and hilarious and I’m STILL laughing about it. My roommate and I quote it constantly, specifically “…NOSTRILS” and “IF THE MEN FIND OUT WE CAN SHAPESHIFT, THEY’RE GOING TO TELL THE CHURCH.”
9 – Coffee.
Life continues to bamboozle and explode. Coffee is always there for us. Coffee understands. My drink of 2017 was a raspberry soy mocha. Trust me, the combination of flavors is exquisite. I even had my birthday cake, which was DELICIOUS and gorgeous and made by local vegan bakery Capital City Bakery, made in mocha and raspberry.
Actually my 40th birthday party should be on this list anyway, as it was a fabulous time with some of my favorite people, and I got delightfully squiffy on Moscow Mules (my favorite form of squiff-ening beverage).
10 – My new pendant.
Speaking of my birthday, I had my eye on this piece for an entire year before I finally ordered it. I’ve long worn a pewter compass that says “Trust Your Journey,” but as my 40th loomed I felt it was time for a new “me” necklace. The pendant below bears the calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my all-time favorite spiritual writers and a true inspiration; it’s one of several pieces in the series, and is a sentiment I try to be mindful of every day: No mud, no lotus.
11 – (Special Bonus Round!) All of you.
I know, it’s cheesy, but all my readers and Patrons and friends and Twitter followers and Facebook peeps helped immeasurably to keep 2017 from being a total misery-orgy. I’ve never been good at communicating with actual people – I’m awful at returning emails and comments, not because I don’t read them or want to reply, but because…I don’t know, exactly. It might be the same thing that makes it so impossible for me to make phone calls. I absolutely blow at reaching out. But I know you’re there, and i adore every one of you. I hope that my infrequent blog posts, occasional novels, and sporadic attendance at my own social media are at least worth sticking around for. I hope to have a new book for you this year – probably not Book 8 (although who knows?), but something new (I hope I hope I hope), and I really want to offer more Shadow World Extras and, gods willing, more of the Agency. But none of this would be possible without all of you staying with me through my silly seasons and sad storms, so thank you, thank you, thank you.
Let’s all have a solidly good 2018. It seems a bit laughable to ask for awesome, given the state of the world, but let’s all do what we can to make it better – for ourselves, for each other, for everyone.
Everyone hold hands…take a breath…and…jump!
I’ll be back soon with posts on my new bullet journal/planner situation, a wrap-up of last year’s favorite planner spreads, some musings on divination, and my goals for 2018.Become my patron for exclusive online content and read new stories before anyone else!