Because I wasn’t invited to today’s meeting. I have mixed feelings. That aside… here’s a yearly round-up questionairre via Vandermeer:

1. What did you do in 2004 that you’d never done before?

Took up martial arts and boxing, started a blog, got a story published in Strange Horizons, got the most “this is a great story that I can’t publish” personal rejection letters ever. Went to Wiscon.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I joined an MA school and *tried* to sell my book. Those were the big ones. I also got hired as a “real” employee at my job. This has probably been my first year as a “real” adult with a “real” job and extracurricular activities that are moving forward.

Next year, I need to finish and sell Jihad. And I want 3 short fiction sales. Also, I plan on dropping back the last two sizes to get me back to my Alaska fighting shape. This means bike riding more, and more boxing sparring, which I’ve been lax on.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! My buddy Patrick and his wife Karin are now raising up Little G.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. But somebody’s going to jail. Anyway, the holidays aren’t over yet.

5. What countries did you visit?

Does Wisconsin count? Also went to Vegas, which is also very like another country. Oh. And I saw Indiana, where the Bush voters live.

Seriously another country.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

Traveling money and time. And a more out-going personality. Can I get one of those in my stocking?

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Election day, cause it sucked. The week I was sick with laryngitis, a sinus infection, and an ear infection just after Wiscon, because I spent the entire time psyching myself up to start kickboxing. And the day of my buddy Stephanie’s wedding was truly awesome: one of those weddings that proves to the cynical (like me) that there really is such a thing as a gloriously happy wedding day that isn’t marred by unwanted pregnancy, unhappy brides, bickering bridesmaids, spastic or drunk family members, or vindictive, back-stabbing friends.

Probably one of the few times in my life where I’ve been at a gathering of people that was really, truly happy.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Six months of mixed martial arts training. It’s made a huge difference

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not selling a book or a story, or getting an agent. Three sales last year: nothing this year, though the SH story showed up in February, they bought it last December.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yea. Aforementioned week confined to bed due to a series of illnesses that all piled on at once.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My tablet PC.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Pretty much everyone’s. A bunch of my Clarion buddies had great things happen. Greg sold a story to Sci Fiction, Patrick sold a couple stories to Amazing Stories, Julian got accepted to Oxford, Jenn got her Master’s certificate, Inez just landed a great job, and back home, my buddy Stephanie got married.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

My sister’s still running after a loser guy. The same loser guy.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Books. Student loans. Martial arts school fee.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Finishing the big rewrite of book one of the fantasy saga.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?

The Secret Machines “Nowhere Again.”

17. Compared to this time last year, you are:

Stronger, denser, more self-confident, slightly better read. Also, much better at popcap.com games.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

More writing. More MA classes. Wish I would have started French. Wish I could get that Planned Parenthood volunteer app. to load correctly. Wish I made more money. Wish I’d paid off more of my student loans.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Less angsting about stupid things, like height, weight, and dating. Should have spent less time playing popcap.com games at work.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

I’ll be going back to WA state for a week so I can clean my parents’ house.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?

Oh, at least two or three times.

23. How many one-night stands?

::snicker:: For an SF girl, I sure am a prude about casual sex.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

There’s actual shows on TV? Well, the one I’ve seen the most of is Lost.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. The same people who were blowhards last year are blowhards this year.

26. What was the best book you read?

Ack. I’m always reading The Hours (I just keep it by my bed, and when I get to the end, I just start over). But this year’s favorite discoveries were Balzac, Vandermeer, Bishop, and Joanna Russ’s nonfiction, particularly On Strike Against God and What Are We Fighting For?.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The Secret Machines.

28. What did you want and get?

A job that pays my bills, and some happiness, however fleeting.

29. What did you want and not get?

Agent/book contract, you know, the usual.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

Well, favorites that I *saw* this year: Run Lola Run, followed closely by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I did absolutely nothing for my birthday. I think I bought some food or something. My roommate wrapped up two books and gave them to me. I got quite teary-eyed about it, because I hadn’t gotten her anything for her birthday. I turned 24 this year.

32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Sex?

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?

Hats. Particularly, newsboy caps. And coats. Boys’ coats and striped scarves. Also, boots with good square heels.

34. What kept you sane?

The usual. Writing. This year, that included blog writing.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Kate is the best. As always. But I did officially fall in love with Paul Bettany this year.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

The election sucked ass. The erosion of women’s rights continues to trouble me.

37. Who did you miss?

My buddy Stephanie, back in WA state, and my buddy Julian, now rowing his heart out at Oxford while writing a Ph.D. dissertation.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Sifu Katalin & the Amazons.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:

Here’s this year’s: there are often long stretches of downtime on the road to where you’re going. You know, those long stretches of highway between New York and LA, or the shitty stretches of nowheresville between Seattle and Chicago – but those distances, those driving times, are neccessary to get to where you need to go.

2004 has been a shitty stretch of midwestern highway, with road stops along the way like Toledo’s Tallest Tree & Billy Bob’s Lint Museum, intercut by signposts that say stuff like “Civilization: 2000 miles,” and the car has mostly run pretty good, but it overheated once (luckily, I keep a couple gallons of water in the back), and got a couple of flats (ever since my roadtrip to Skagway, I keep two spares in the trunk), and there was the odd problem with something hanging off the engine that was resolved by tying a couple of choice parts back together with a shoelace before I got to stop off at the shop and get it fixed proper, and I didn’t stop for any hitchhikers along the way, but I felt bad about it. I’m now consulting a really confusing map somewhere in the Salt Flats of Utah on my way to the ocean, and yea, I’m stronger and more confident, and I’m getting better rejection slips, but I can’t see the ocean yet, likely because I’m just not ready to see it yet. Likely because I need to pick up a few hitchhikers and learn how to play the harmonica and trade in the car for a motorcycle, but I switched from fast-food to granola bars sometime back, and I’ve got better shoes and a good pair of sunglasses, and there’s nothing so cool as arriving at the seashore on a sweet-ass motorcycle, wearing a floppy newsboy cap as my striped scarf streams behind me, and maybe that’s the whole point.

There’s a place I want to be. This is the road I’m taking to get there.

I don’t mind that it’s a long road. It just means I’ll be a more interesting person by the time I get there.

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