The End of the Year.

I’ve been writing this post a lot in my head over the past few days. Partly because I very much wanted to mark the end of last year with some words and it wasn’t until June that I finally accepted that wasn’t going to happen. But surely if I *thought* about it enough, then that will make it happen this year. And it has, sort of. I mean, I’m here and I’m typing.

Originally this was something rather heartfelt, but I imagined I’d regret that about five minutes after I posted it and thus deleted. Then I wanted to rank the Pets of Star Trek, because that was pleasingly trivial. But also cheating, since it wouldn’t mention this year at all. So instead there is this. It’s not stream of consciousness, but it veers far enough in that direction for me to be highly suspicious.

My sister chose the film we watched on Boxing Day: Masters of the Universe, one of our childhood Christmas films. Not because it had anything to do with Christmas, obviously, but because we always watched it during the festive season. My niece upgraded it from “boring” to “all right” by the end credits. Quite a respectable rating from an almost tween.

My dog, Hector

I got a dog this year. I’m a cat person. He is absolutely a Pandemic Puppy, and all the things I ever thought a good dog should be. Plus he doesn’t shed. He’s a biewer terrier. Very small and very cute and walks with him have meant more time talking to strangers in the past few months than in the past two years. After one lady asked his name, she replied that “He doesn’t look like a Hector.” I was very polite and did not make any irritated comment about how he absolutely was a prince of Troy and by gum, if he was there the city would never have fallen.

I’m not sure how much better this year has been than last. My mental health has been much improved, which is usually my barometer of how well things are going, so I suppose it *is* better. It’s certainly less scary for me personally. But the mist feels more viscous, a sense of lost uncertainty of where we are actually going. It’s a funny thing, but I can, most of the time, tell the difference between a “real” emotion and one that’s prompted or exaggerated by mental illness. Something about the texture. And I feel sad, and the sadness is me, and much of it comes from two sources, and there’s nothing I can do about either except find better ways to cope.

Christmas gift from Mum. “I saw this story on the telly.”

My sister cooked Christmas dinner. It was delicious, and I was a bad vegetarian and ate turkey. We had games afterwards, where there was the best kind of arguing because it was loud and petty and silly and I had all the sympathy in the world for my niece because I used to get so wound up about winning too. (Obviously, I still do, I’m just much better at disguising it now.) I learnt that flowering plants first evolved millions of years after dinosaurs did.

There was a lot of writing this year. On a par with the amount of writing last year. This was mostly for Big Finish. So if you like my audio dramas, there are more. I wrote what are probably my two favourite scripts. Neither have been announced, both are recorded. The director for one of them went *dizzyingly* above and beyond in casting and I was utterly blown away by what they did.

Bayban the Butcher! Twas out just in time for Christmas!

Hopefully, I’ll be going abroad for the first time in two years come February. It’s the Gallifrey One convention, and I will, hopefully (yes, lots of hope here) get to see so many friends I only get to see at that place, at the time of year. The rest of the time they are words on the screen. Some have voices, and this year they’ve also had faces. Looking forward to things is so much wobblier than it used to be.

There were three things I meant to write yesterday. None of them have been written. Instead I started a new game of Skyrim and it was beautiful and familiar and full of tiny little dopamine hits. I’m playing the survival version of the new anniversary edition on the highest difficulty. I have to eat food. And can’t fast travel. The world has become so much bigger and more dangerous. So far, there seems to be a decent amount of content for £15, but so much of it is replicated in mods. That modders have been making for the past ten years. So I do kind of feel I should maybe have chucked that money to the talented person who gave me Elysium Estate (beautiful player home) or to whoever made that neat little one where townspeople actually run away from the dragons.

Next year I want to complete the Ghàidhlig Duolingo course. I want to finish my photography course. I want to be more confident driving a car. I want to redraft my completed novel manuscript. I want to finish a new manuscript. I want to get an agent. It’s absurdly scary for me to type some of these. As if by saying them out loud I will ruin any possibility of them happening.

There are some truly exciting work things that I do get to do though. Probably. Hopefully.

I played a decent amount of RPGs this year. The ones without pictures. I very much want to run a proper game, not the sort I’ve threatened, where I try to get everyone killed, but one where I do my best effort to make it fun for all. (It’s easier to hide behind making people miserable, it’s so much easier than making people happy…in RPGs anyway.)

A picture of a robin that I took…the picture, not the the robin, the robin is free.

My niblings met Hector for the first time at Christmas. They wanted to make friends with him. They did. And then they discovered that being friends with Hector means throwing toys for him…forever.

You’re supposed to finish your BulletJournal before starting a new one (not that there are any hard and fast rules, but that is the spirit of the thing); instead I’ve started a new one and set up the pages for January. I made a mistake on the first page. Which is fine. It’s not supposed to be perfect. It’s very calming, BulletJournalling, and it means I have a reason to buy stickers. And I tend to forget less things, and have some illusion of being vaguely organised.

If I could have a superpower it would be to read faster. I suspect more than half of what I read this year was Dragon Age fanfiction. It brought me joy, but it’s very inward-looking, very comfortable; next year I want to read more uncomfortable fiction.

Caspar Friedrich’s Winter Landscape with Church

So this is what my end of year post is, rambling; which seems in-character. As are lists. I do like lists, so here is my attempt at a favourites of the year list (or, should you think my taste impeccable (it’s not ), a best of the year list). These aren’t necessarily things released this year, and even if they are, time has become very confusing, but they are things I enjoyed for the first time:

Favourite Film: Probably one of the many marvellous found footage horror I indulged on. (An incredibly underrated genre if ever there was one.) I’m pretty sure I saw Hell House LLC earlier, but I only watched the whole trilogy this year. It does one appallingly, ridiculously awful thing that nearly kills it for me in the sequel. But the final film pulls it back and was a profoundly moving end to the series.

Favourite Telly: I think it might have been Lower Decks? I can’t recall one which gave me more respite from the inside of my head, anyway.

Favourite Game: It’s a toss up between Disco Elysium (recced to me on the grounds of a Monkey Island vibe and it *so does* while also being completely its own thing), or Inscryption, which was made by some deranged genius. That game was an *experience*. With extra fun/chills if you were gaming in the nineties.

Favourite Book: PIranesi by Susanna Clarke. I think it took me three months to read. That’s no reflection on the novel, obv, that’s me despairing at my reading speed.

Favourite Music: I’m going to cheat on this one, on the grounds that I can’t remember the names of any new music from this year offhand. For the past two years, my most listened to song on Spotify has been Ava Max’s Sweet But Psycho. Despite my clear devotion to this music, I had to go and look up who the artist was.

In less than twelve hours, it will be a new year. And I will get to share the moment via the Zooms with some truly wonderful people. I want to close this post with something uplifting or meaningful or true (ideally all three, but that seems a bit much to ask); but, at the moment, I am melancholy. I know my mood will lift later. I shall be cheered by virtual company and I will try very hard not to drink too much.

I’m going for a nap. A very uplifting, meaningful, and true nap.

2 thoughts on “The End of the Year.

  1. A lovely contemplative end of year thingy. Thank you for sharing. Love you Big Finish work and hope you get that agent for your novel. I would certainly read it when (optimism) it is published.

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