In this post I talk about some personal, end-of-the-year stuff.
For a number of reasons, too many to list here, it was not a good year. It ended with me leaving the fulltime work position I held, watching several other friends' living circumstances get markedly worse, and gettting a bolt (complete with the washer still on it) stuck in one of my tire treads on the way back to my house the other day. That last little bit of fun required me to spend something like three hours waiting at a Mavis Discount Tire that was, mercifully, only a mile or so away.
A lot of my 2010 plans have been shelved or canceled. I had been planning to go to a lot more conventions this year as a way to get my books that much more out there, but now all that has been shoved aside: the money simply isn't going to be there. Or, rather, I can't count on the money being there, and I have to think about far more important things first. I'm still determined to get to AnimeFest in '10 — it's where it all started, and it's where I still have the best success — but a lot of that is me gambling on the fact that by the time it rolls around the money situation will have been dealt with in one way or another.
The worst part, though, has been watching friends of mine suffer. Good people, who did nothing wrong, and whose worst offenses against the universe were to want a little better from themselves. I could not offer them anything except my sympathy, when I wanted to be someone who could offer them a great deal more than that. But it's not possible; we're all limited creatures, and sometimes the loan of an ear is all any of us really can do for each other.
The utopian optimist in me rejects this worldview and insists that somehow, somewhere, there is more. The realist, the guy who sits down and writes checks to pay bills — and who is, to a great degree, the one writing this post — says that wherever there is more, it is only achieved through the accumulation of a million little gestures. Like, say, lending an ear to those who need it.
I did a lot of that for people this year. I didn't mind; they needed it. They lent me their ears in return. I needed that, too. So maybe out of that comes a few tottering steps closer to where both of us need to be, if only because we no longer have that much suffering stuck inside each of us and weighing us down. When very little else is certain, knowing you can still put a grin on the face of someone you give three darns about is a great certainty.