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2016: The Retrospective

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This year was certainly a year. It was full of good and full of godawful, in equal measure. High peaks and deep valleys. However, I know most people want it to just end already due to all the political outrage and deaths of several cultural icons (and subsequently, many childhoods). I know there’s a lot of uncertainty in the air. Thunder rolling in, all the twitching and panic while we wait for more omens as evidence of the inevitable American apocalypse.

On a smaller level, in my little bubble, there has been a lot to celebrate. For one, this year has been full of wonderful music. Sounds and lyrics that allow you to walk on air. Music played around the house and blasted in my ears at work. I went to several concerts with my boyfriend, including seeing Florence + the Machine, Bonnie Raitt, and Rose Cousins. Almost every day I woke up with a song in my head.

This year I became a vegetarian. Well, technically, a pescatarian. It hasn’t been as challenging as people make it out to be. I don’t have cravings for anything. I still get to have chocolate and that’s all that really matters.

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We tried growing a little garden in the backyard. It was a failure. Partially due to the severe summer heat, partially due to laziness. But our trees gave us plenty of fruit this year. Our lychee tree yielded hundreds and hundreds of lychees. We made a sweet sorbet. We picked lemons from our lemon tree and made lemonade.

There has been traveling and a lot of exploration. We visited California and Texas. We attended our first videogame convention, GaymerX. I fell in love with San Francisco and dream of having a second home there.

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Oh, and I got engaged. It is still surreal and absolutely wonderful. What would teenage Joey think?

I got promoted as an editor at my real life job. I conducted interviews with journal editors at The Review Review. My poem, “Pugnacious Boy” – the only piece of writing I had published this year – was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I read some books this year, but mostly poetry and literary journals (those received to review and those received after submitting to contests). I need to read more. We all need to read more. Especially in 2017. Books improve our capacity for empathy. Empathy allows compassion for other human beings.

Empathy has been the word for some time now. But empathy should always be the word.

And now, here’s the obligatory favorite lists that helped to define my year.

Books:

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Our Lady of the Ruins by Traci Brimhall
Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros
3arabi Song by Zeina Hashem Beck
Pagan Love Songs by Gavin Geoffrey Dillard
I Felt Their Teeth in My Bones by Magen Cubed
In Their Arms by Thomas Moore
The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

Literary Journals:

Poetry
Rattle
Permafrost
River Styx
CALYX: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women
Witch Craft Magazine
Luna Luna Magazine

Glass: A Journal of Poetry
Burning House Press
Bracken Magazine
The Shallow Ends
Minor Literature[s]

Rise Up Review

Movies:

Philomena
Grandma
Poetry
Carol
Suffragette
The Lady in the Van
Spotlight
Holding the Man

Those People
C.R.A.Z.Y.
Fargo
People Places Things
Kubo and the Two Strings
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

TV Series:

Daria (1,871st rewatch)
Jane the Virgin
Sense8
Stranger Things
Black Mirror
Teachers
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
The West Wing
Mr. Robot

Video Games:

Mortal Kombat X
Uncharted 3
Lego Marvel Avengers
Neko Atsume
Pokemon Go
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
Rune Factory 4 (again, and probably forever)
Moon Hunters
Black Desert Online
Song of the Deep
Read Only Memories

Fran Bow
Silent Hill 2
Pokemon Moon

Music Albums:

To the Faithful Departed by The Cranberries
Shepherd Moon by Enya
Mexican Moon by Concrete Blonde
Goddess by Banks
This Is Acting by Sia
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence + the Machine
Cry Baby by Melanie Martinez
Stay Gold by First Aid Kit
Every Open Eye by CHVRCHES
Hopelessness by ANONHI
All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend by Aurora
Kaleidoscope Heart by Sara Bareilles
The Whole Story by Kate Bush
Strange Little Birds by Garbage

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