The year 2022 was strange. For me, it was a year of solitude. Until recently I always had one or more of my sons living with me, but that is no longer the case. My youngest son spends most of his time away at college; he stayed with me only for a couple of months during the summer. Other than that, I have been on my own. Combine that with COVID precautions and the fact that I work from home, and it leads to a very solitary existence. I tried to step out; I really did. I went to a few get-togethers of a group of people interested in international traveling. I loved the conversations and the opportunity to meet new people. But guess what? At one of those meet-ups near the end of the year, I finally got COVID. It was unpleasant although not completely debilitating, but it showed me the danger of letting down my guard. I’m sure it’s a dilemma many of us are faced with, especially those of us who are in one of the high-risk categories: the need to get out and socialize versus the need to avoid life-threatening diseases.
This year I also faced an unusually stressful struggle for financial survival. My income is down, and it has been difficult to come up with the rent and other bills at the end of each month. This caused me to put aside my usual reading and writing schedule for a few months in the spring and focus on studying marketing techniques, setting up social media sites, and creating book trailers. I haven’t yet seen too much improvement in sales as a result, but at least I have built up the infrastructure and I will continue to persevere on that front.
Because of the COVID intrusion, the emphasis on marketing, and the time I took to proofread two upcoming books, my overall creative word count is down: 138,365 words compared to 176,939 last year. (This is not counting the hundred thousand words or more of articles and essays I ghostwrote to help pay the bills.) However, I still managed to publish two new books: The Relocation Blues: An Inquiry into Transitions (a memoir), and Invisible People (a novel). This year I have also had several stories published in magazines and anthologies.
The publications are good news, of course, but I have kept the best news for last. This year I became a grandfather. My grandson Charlie was born in the spring. He is healthy and bright and almost always happy, and he already loves books. My oldest son and his wife are doing a great job of parenting, even though it was a bit stressful in the beginning. Because they live several states away, I have not had a chance to meet Charlie yet in person, but I video-chat with Charlie and his folks almost every day, and I am hopeful I will be able to meet him face to face soon.
As for the future, well, I have no specific plans other than to keep doing what I’m doing. I love writing, and I plan to write many more novels, memoirs, stories, and so on. I’ll continue the marketing too, of course, and keep hoping for good results. I’ll visit my grandson one way or the other. And whether things are going ill or well, I will rejoice and be thankful for the great gift of life.