Most people agree that 2016 has been a bit of a flaming tyre fire of a year on a global political scale and by sheer number of celebrity deaths, which is why I feel a little guilty that… on my own personal scale, and my own professional scale, it was actually pretty good. But perhaps it’s even more important to reflect on positive triumphs in a dark time, to shout into the void and say “it wasn’t all bad”.
In any case, I’m calling 2016 my Hamilton year because a) it’s the year the Broadway masterpiece Hamilton broke into worldwide popularity and graced my ears, which I think we can all agree was a good time for everyone, and b) it’s been the year of writing day and night like you need it to survive. I’m not on Alexander Hamilton’s ludicrous scale yet, but compared to past achievements, this year I am Published As Heck.
I finished my journalism major in a terrifying crescendo of running in all directions and trying not to scream, culminating in five short articles published on my uni’s news website. I also got a good enough grade on a longform feature article to have it uploaded onto the web as well, which was very exciting since to write that piece I spent about seven hours in a local mall, and it was nice to be rewarded for that.
Through the good old vice of networking, I got my foot into the door at Good Reading Magazine, a Sydney-based publication who I’ve been reviewing books for all year. Here’s the pile:
- We Ate the Road Like Vultures by Lynnette Lounsbury (surreal and racist, but a fun enough road trip adventure I guess)
- The Death of an Owl by Pierce and Paul Torday (politics and journalism with a hint of ancient magic and vengeful animals)
- The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders (a little old lady solving unnecessarily violent crimes in Victorian England)
- Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones (Southern Gothic werewolves, anyone?)
- Sweeties by Leon Silver (an exciting dip out of my comfort zone, since it’s entirely stream of consciousness and has about 17 line breaks in the entire book)
- Elegy by Jane Abbott (I… probably don’t need to gnash my teeth about this book more than I already have. It got my first one star review)
- Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast (an interesting if drawn-out fantasy. The dog is the best part)
- Someone I Wanted to Be by Aurelia Wills (miserable and bleak but strangely enthralling YA painting a miserable and bleak but strangely enthralling picture of life in small town America, in the pipeline to be published next year)
I also wrote two three-page feature articles—about Treading Air for the July issue, and Beyond the Orchard for November—which involved interviewing the author and waxing poetical about the book and the process behind making it. These are all printed on real, glossy paper, I might add, which makes them twice as exciting!!
Two articles, about Captain America: Civil War and a review of season one of Sense8, went up on PopGates when they were trying to expand their pop culture section. The site admins have since decided that they’re going to keep their focus on basketball and ditch the pop culture section altogether, so those pieces are no longer available on the web, but hey, it was kind of fun while it lasted.
As I write this post, I’m currently working on another contribution for a pop culture site: the up and coming AniFem! The team behind it are very professional and dedicated, and it’s very cool to be collaborating with them. Once the piece goes up I’ll officially be published “next to” writers I admire a lot like Vrai Kaiser and Frog-kun, so I’m a little stoked.
I also wrote 20,000 words of an original novel (also very exciting!!!) and a metric ass-tonne of fanfiction. Woohoo!!
And hey, there’s The Afictionado of course, for which I’ve been writing all year as usual (including pumping out the ToraDora! rewatch project, for which I currently have the first 20 episode reviews queued, so that’s… already 20,000-ish words I’ve dedicated to that. Dang). Every day I thank goodness I started this blog—it makes sure I’m writing something at all times, and gives me a platform to spout my thoughts and hone my skill. And talk to—and read the work of—some really neat people!
Next year I’ll be writing a creative thesis, which is also very exciting if a little daunting, so I’ll keep you updated on what will happen with the blogging schedule. I wish you all the best of luck, creatively or otherwise, for 2017, and thanks, as always, for reading!