joseph dante

retrospectives

2019: The Retrospective

It was very, very hot this year and continues to get hotter. There are fires everywhere. I stay inside more and more. I admire what Greta Thunberg is doing, even though a lot of people don’t seem to care. I’ve had loved ones say it doesn’t really matter what happens because they’ll be dead, even though their grandchildren won’t be. Which is a shame because this is the only planet we have and I don’t think we’ll get to the point where we’ll start inhabiting another planet. If we do, I don’t think the human race will be doing so great by then anyway.

As a respite from this hellscape, we took a trip to Colorado in the spring around my birthday. It was still snowing by the end of May. This was David’s first time ever seeing snowfall. We walked around a frozen lake, saw elk crossing roads, and drove through mountains. It was beautiful and I wanted to stay. I wrote a poem about it. We plan on returning with some friends next time.

We took another trip to Texas to visit family in the summer. It was hot as you can imagine, but probably hotter. We visited Austin again and paid another visit to Malvern Books, my favorite bookstore. We visited the Cave Without a Name. It was amazing to see all these huge natural formations underground. They have bands play in the cave for special occasions because of the acoustics.

I played a lot of mindless, repetitive phone games this year. However, at the same time, I played a lot of console games that were really, really wonderful and easily became some of my favorites. Among them: Night in the Woods, What Remains of Edith Finch, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Sayonara Wild Hearts. For me, all these would be contenders for best games of the decade.

I listened to a lot more audiobooks and podcasts than ever before. They fit in perfectly with my long days at the office where time becomes an illusion/delusion. Also, this is South Florida, so I am always driving everywhere and always will be. Listening to strangers on the internet discuss things I love in my car distracts me from all the terrible things going on around me.

I lost my paternal grandfather this year. He was not doing so well for a while, but it’s been hard for my dad and uncle. We’d already lost my grandma at the end of last year. Even though this has been difficult, I am grateful that they both lived long lives.

I didn’t publish any writing this year and that’s okay. This doesn’t mean I didn’t write. I worked on character sketches for a novel. I wrote poems and some auto fiction. Publishing is the most tedious part of the writing life, I’ve realized. I’d rather spend my time actually writing and revising. Maybe this will change next year.

I realize I’ve actually been plagiarizing myself. On this blog and in my writing. Maybe my memory isn’t great. Maybe I only keep a small amount of things preserved and discard the rest. Those fragments preserved become mantras, literary tics. I wrote a poem about it. I guess I wrote more this year than I realized. Unfortunately, many projects remain unfinished.

The holidays this year were very busy. This was the first year that David and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house. Both sides of our family came over. We cooked our very first turkey and the whole process was disgusting. Our guests approved, but we will probably never do it again.

David and I celebrated our second anniversary. The traditional second-year gift is cotton, so I got us a little decorative pillow with our wedding date. This coming year we are decluttering our house in hopes of eventually selling it. Along with my starting graduate school and a new career path, this coming year is going to be full of big transitions.

Finally, here’s a list of all the cultural objects and media that helped defined my year:

Books:

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
Why God Is a Woman by Nin Andrews
Black Wave by Michelle Tea
blud by Rachel McKibbens
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
From a Whisper to a Riot: the Gay Writers Who Crafted an American Literary Tradition by Adam W. Burgess
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Useless Magic by Florence Welch
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig
The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee
Telepathologies by Cortney Lamar Charleston
RED by Chase Berggrun
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Screen Tests by Kate Zambreno
Vincent and Alice and Alice by Shane Jones
Shrill and The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West
Meaty and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones
Brute by Emily Skaja

Movies:

Us
Captain Marvel
Booksmart
Downton Abbey

(and that’s it? Guess we don’t really go to the movies anymore…)

TV Series:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Yuri on Ice!!!
The Dragon Prince
One Day at a Time
The Umbrella Academy
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Pose
Tales of the City
The Golden Girls
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Aggretsuko
Black Mirror
Shrill
Atypical
Disenchantment
Dear White People
The Great British Baking Show

Video games:

Overcooked 2
Night in the Woods
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Battle Chef Brigade
Gems of War
Ghost of a Tale
Nine Parchments
What Remains of Edith Finch
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
Lego DC Super-Villains
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy!
Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled
Magic Scroll Tactics
Dream Daddy
Planet Coaster
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Detroit: Become Human
Soul Calibur 6
Breath of Fire
Little Nightmares

Furistas Cat Café
Untitled Goose Game
Pokémon Shield
Sayonara Wild Hearts

Music albums:

Mint by Alice Merton
Blood to Bone by Gin Wigmore
Masseducation by St. Vincent
Infections of a Different Kind by Aurora
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go by Billie Eilish
Cuz I Love You by Lizzo
Let It Die by Feist
Amidst the Chaos by Sara Bareilles
Be Not Nobody by Vanessa Carlton
Love + Fear by Marina
Lost Girls by Bat for Lashes
The Bluebird of Happiness by Lotte Kestner
Cheap Queen by King Princess
The Sayonara Wild Hearts OST by Daniel Olsen

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