There were plenty of bad things in 2009 out in the world (need I explain what they were?), and the bulk of my friends rang in 2010 with great anticipation and relief. But in the realm of things, I still don’t think my 2009 could be worse than my 2007 (the year that is now the marker for “the worst year of my life,” what with my stroke, inability to write, inability to read, my mother-in-law’s sudden death, and other things that are more private and painful). In fact, 2009 was pretty okay, despite its financial nadir.
Here are some things about 2009 that make me proud, make me happy, make me smile:
- New York, where I had some of the best days of my life.
- Many excellent books like 2666 by Bolaño, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, Big Machine by Victor LaValle, Lullaby by Palahniuk, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- One of my stories was a finalist for an award!
- An awesome road trip to Yellowstone (and back)
- Despite my many travels, and my deep love for New York City, I still found my moments of deep love for Berkeley
- Perched on a rock, I watched kokanee salmon spawning in a Sierra stream.
- Fun with The Alphabet Meme–writing prompts that stirred me out of slumps multiple times, and prompts that brought up sometimes long-lost memories and sensations.
- Despite my writing ups and downs (mostly downs) and so many litmag rejections, despite (and because of) being laid off from my job, leaving me scrambling…despite the stroke, which set back my writing for two years….this year I finished my novel manuscript, possibly the biggest achievement of the year.
- I started teaching community college English…and I LOVE it.
- I started a running regimen; having never been able to run faster than 4.0 mph for more than 5 minutes at a time without gasping, I can now run 20+ minutes at 5.2 mph without gasping. Running and writing a novel are, for me, inextricably linked.
- I finally lost the 10 pounds I gained in 2008.
- I went “off” chocolate.
- Friends, family, laughter, wiener dogs.
And last but not least–in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti…I urge you to help your fellow humans and send money to the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Partners in Health, etc., so that we can bring the people of Haiti, aid. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere–unlike Hurricane Katrina or the earthquake in Sichuan, this earthquake is impacting their entire country and infrastructure…they will be suffering for quite some time. I hold back tears every time I turn on CNN to watch the news updates…but there need not be tears of helplessness.
For those who would rather buy, or would like to, additionally, buy a cupcake to benefit Haiti…my friend Samin is holding a bakesale for Haiti on January 23, from 10am-2pm at several locations in the bay area: Pizzaiolo in Oakland (and Pizzaiolo is donating 100% of proceeds from its baked goods sale that day to the cause)….Gioia’s Pizzeria in Berkeley and Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco.
2009 sucked in a lot of ways–but let’s start 2010 with good karma and help those who need us.