Merry Crisis: December ’20 Roundup

This is the final roundup of 2020, which makes it tempting to make it something of a retrospective on the year. But if I’m being honest I kind of don’t want to dwell on it: the best way to sum up 2020 is to say that it’s left me more exhausted than I’ve probably ever been, and I would rather spend what remains of my energy writing about literally anything else.

That said, there’s some stuff to celebrate among all that tiredness: I’m bone tired because a bunch of bad things happened and my mental health has rarely been so fragile, but I’m also bone tired because I worked really hard and achieved some really cool stuff this year. I got an article published on The Conversation, which is quite probably the most looked-at any of my writing has been so far—and it garnered a spark of media interest and I got to go on not one, but two radio stations and talk about queer YA for ten minutes. One was local, but one was in Sydney, and people know where Sydney is even if they’re not from around here, so that feels very special to me.

I also got my paper on Every Heart a Doorway published, and got to write for AZE about Alice Oseman’s novels. All of my scholarly (and semi-scholarly) writing has been published open access so far, which means none of it is behind paywalls and anyone can read it, which is super important to me and frankly super cool, so I’m really glad I’ve been able to do this.

Most bonkers of all, I lectured and ran a whole undergrad creative writing unit from July to November. This was a mildly terrifying experience, but also a very rewarding one—and if I can do it and get such good results in weird semi-online semi-pandemic conditions, it bodes pretty well that I can do it again and even better during a “normal” semester, so fingers crossed that I get the opportunity again in 2021!

And, in my final Big Career News, this year I was contacted by the good folks of AniFem, who said they were looking to expand their staff as the site matures ever further, and offered me a place there as a reviewer and editor. As you know, I’ve been writing for AniFem basically since they got off the ground, and it’s been a hugely rewarding and fun space to grow as a feature writer while working with some really cool people. So of course I jumped at the chance, and you’ll find me there doing premiere reviews and stitching away behind the scenes, for the foreseeable future! (…but not next month, because I have a thesis to finish. It turns out that having a busy, harrowing year takes energy and time away from your PhD)

Looking at that list of milestones and achievements really does make for a sense of structure and productivity in a year where it felt like my brain turned into soft cheese. I hope you have some good things–small or large or of whatever size—that you can also hang onto. Maybe you just survived, emotionally and physically, which frankly is an achievement never to be overlooked in the modern day.

Measuring by years and trying to determine if they were good years or bad years has always felt kind of arbitrary, as has looking to the next set of 365 days and making predictions about them. So I’m just going to carry my exhausted self over this pre-painted finish line and keep going, hoping for the best as I do every day but not putting 2021 on any kind of pedestal. I hope that you’ll come with me.

And now, a writing roundup, and in the spirit of the season, a pile of funny reviews of weird Christmas movies.

On the blog

Why Do We Love Coming-of-age Stories So Much? – well, maybe I can’t answer that question for everyone, but here is some musing from me.

Tell Me Why: A Beautiful Game About the Strangeness of Trauma and Memory – a spoiler-free overview where I tell you why I found this quiet, personal little game so meaningful.

A Big Ol’ Pile of Book Recommendations (2020) – a roundup of my favourite books I read this year. See any you liked as well?

Web content

Because what’s more romantic than mail and confusing dialogue?

Because what’s more romantic than hitting a time traveller with your car?

Because what’s more romantic than a romance that was filmed during social distancing protocol?

Because what’s more romantic than a crumbling European economy under the reign of an uncaring monarch?

Because what’s more romantic than… uh… killing Santa and taking on his identity? (contains a musical number!)

That’s going to do us for this one, reader. Onwards and onwards, and I’ll see you in the new year.

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