I never do New Years’ resolutions anymore (setting little goals scattered throughout the year seems a bit more reasonable and attainable), but it’s nearly the end of the year already, and instead I decided to do a retrospective collection of the things that made it worthwhile.
Of course, there have been things that have made it not so worthwhile as well. There have been issues dealing with post-college unemployment, despite trying to apply for some small odd jobs here and there, as well as a few writing/editing jobs for small presses that could’ve been really interesting and exciting. There has been literary loneliness and reclusiveness, and confusing periods not dissimilar to adolescent identity crises in which I really wanted to go back to school just to discuss books with people again. There have been periods where I didn’t know what to do at all anymore (and still do), which have brought on severe panic episodes and moments where I suddenly found myself bolting out of bed. There was a lot of yearning for the nineties, to go back to the way things were, back before high school, to regress and exist when things “used to be good, you know?” And alongside these periods throughout the year were some illnesses and serious surgeries for other family members as well.
But there have been many really nice moments too, which is always worth sharing to keep your balance: such as making new friends online (some that I even got to meet this year in real life) and going to my very first concert in Miami with a band I fell in love with. I spent a lot more time getting to know my sister: helping her with Physics homework, giving her ideas for her artwork, playing Harry Potter video games, listening to the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack in the car, reading Ethan Frome aloud together so she wouldn’t fall asleep. I spent some time cooking with Mom and writing stories for Nana. I spent some time with friends, which is always a nice excuse to leave the house, even though I wish there was more of it. Mostly, there are just friends scattered everywhere: I’ve kept up with my really good friend Melissa in Orlando (watching Jeopardy! on Skype together and helping to keep ourselves sane), I wrote letters to my friend Thea in Wisconsin, I helped my friend Genie from New Zealand procrastinate on her thesis (and she’s helped me procrastinate in other ways), I started a secret blog with my friend Zying that is just between the two of us.
I made some new pen pals and talked to fellow writers. I managed to get myself motivated in times of dejection and insecurity, and sometimes inadvertently inspired others as well (reading through some old things online, I always find that kind of surprising—to look over some of these messages I’ve gotten). I pushed myself to finish writing projects (Letters for Burning, my collective effort ended up being over 100,000 words long). I learned a bit more about the publishing industry and the art of editing, I found new book blogs and literary journals to possibly submit to, and of course, I discovered great new books and music and films.
Sharing is caring—this is not everything obviously, but here are some things that defined 2011 for me, and maybe they’ll interest you too.
Black Hole by Charles Burns
The Scott Pilgrim graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Not Simple by Natsume Ono
Blood Music by Greg Bear
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor by Flannery O’Connor
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Son of Rambow
Exit through the Gift Shop
Run Lola Run (AKA Lola Rennt)
In the Mood for Love
La Vie en Rose
Ghost in the Shell
Au Revoir, Les Enfants
“After the Rain” & “Constant Surprises” by Little Dragon
“Boy Lilikoi” by Jónsi
“Down by the Water” by PJ Harvey
“Black Sheep” by Metric
“Sadness is a Blessing” by Lykke Li
“What Else is There?” & “Circuit Breaker” by Röyksopp
“Pavlov’s Daughter” by Regina Spektor
“Lions!” & “Quiet” by Lights
“A Cause Des Garcons” remix by Yelle
“Comme des Enfants” & “Berceuse” by Coeur de Pirate
“Belle à en Crever” by Olivia Ruiz
“Je suis un Homme” by Zazie
“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
“Soldier of Love” by Sade
“Parting Gift” by Fiona Apple
“Basic Space” & “Islands” by The XX
“Video Games” by Lana del Rey
My 8tracks mixes
This American Life
The complete Daria DVDs
Jónsi and Alex
Pogo’s remixes of the real world
Simon Amstell’s standup
American McGee’s Alice games
Myers-Briggs personality tests
M. DominicDecember 23, 2011 at 11:38 pm
best end of the year list ever!
J.D.December 24, 2011 at 12:04 am
Oh why thank you, M!
melissaDecember 24, 2011 at 12:13 am
aww, I'm proud of you for getting through this year, and I'm so very thankful to have you in my life for yet another
J.D.December 24, 2011 at 12:43 am
Right back at you, my soul sister.
BethanyDecember 24, 2011 at 2:58 am
Like this a lot. Much better than a resolutions list. <3
J.D.December 24, 2011 at 4:55 am
Thanks, Bethany. Hope you have a lovely holiday! Probably more snow than here, that's for sure!
GenieDecember 27, 2011 at 6:07 am
Oh look, I made it to your blog! You just wait till I finish that thesis, Joey! After this, I'll be procrastinating for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING (okay, maybe I'll be procrastinating for the downward spiral of depression that I will eventually find myself in after being unemployed for a long period of time). Anyway, THERE SHALL BE MORE FUN TIMES AND PROCRASTINATION AHEAD.
J.D.December 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm
Yes! I look forward to it come the new year!
NikkiDecember 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm
Oh Simon Amstell <3!
I've really loved his work this year.
J.D.December 30, 2011 at 3:23 pm
Yeah, he definitely made this year more memorable! I don't know how many times I've watched Grandma's House…
NikkiDecember 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm
PS – you have 8tracks?! ME TOO! Adding you.
J.D.December 30, 2011 at 3:25 pm
Yeah, I've had it…I need to get back into making mixes though! I really enjoy doing it.
MariDecember 31, 2011 at 6:03 pm
Pretty nice list :)
J.D.December 31, 2011 at 7:38 pm
Thanks, Mari. Hope you have a great new year!
» 2012: The Retrospective Collection : joseph danteDecember 29, 2012 at 4:50 pm
[…] is to simply not have any resolutions (in fact, you can read about last year’s retrospective here, in which I bring this exact thing up) because they are usually silly or unrealistic, but I’m […]