Thanks

This has not been the best year of my life, which is particularly bad as I was saying the same thing last year. It hasn’t been all sewage and shadows–I’ve had some really good times this year. But it feels like the bad has exceeded the good, in effect if not in actual instance. There’s been a whole lotta feh this year, is what I’m saying.

So I’ll gladly take this day to give thanks to all the good, to polish the sunlight and kick depression in the kneecaps.

I’m thankful that Julie and I found each other and continue to discover good things about each other. I’m thankful I get to be Morgan’s father and have her in my life. I’m thankful my parents (in-blood and in-law) are doing relatively well. I’m thankful my siblings (sister, brother and sister-in-law) and their beautiful children are doing well.

I’m also thankful this is the last Thanksgiving I’ll ever have with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their whole cabal in the White House. I will sing and dance when the Worst President Ever leaves Washington. These are bad, bad people, and I want them out of my life.

As my friend Steve Lawson says, I’m thankful for the internet and the World Wide Web. (I’ll throw in cell phones and other information-communication devices, too.) I’m not sure I would have made it through this year without the friendship of the amazing people I’ve met and grown to love online. I’ve also reconnected with old friends because of the internet. This is really a fantastic time to be alive, and I’m thankful that I am alive to live through this and enjoy it. To all of my friends, near and far: thank you.

NaNoWriMo, How Does It Go?

This latest go at NaNoWriMo has been both a resounding success and a crashing failure. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing marathon writing sessions on Saturdays, but doing little to no writing any other day. I’ve fallen far behind in my word count, and there’s really no way I’m going to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month.

But that’s OK by me, because the main reason I wanted to do this was to get myself back into the habit of creating for fun, creating just for me. I wanted to reconnect with impulses and passions I had when I was a kid. Here’s the thing: I’m only just coming to terms with the fact that I’ve lived my adult life with anxiety and depression. Most of the time, I can keep it under control. Most people seem to think of me as a pretty happy, enthusiastic guy. I am, but I’ve also got a lot of anxiety that I find ways to work around, and I’ve been subject to some pretty bad bouts of depression (usually accompanied by intense social phobias and/or hypochondria). For the past year or so, it’s been pretty bad. I’ve been feeling more and more disconnected from those things that make me want to dance with joy. I’ve been waking up dreading each day, slogging through life as if it were a dense, dismal swamp. I decided to do NaNoWriMo as a form of self-therapy, to indulge my basest inner-child desires. What I wrote was for no one but me, and even when I haven’t been writing, I’ve been thinking about my story, woolgathering, brainstorming. I’ve been keeping my story, and all of its associations, in my head. And it’s worked. I’ve been feeling lighter, more at ease, more excited about the days to come. The times when I feel like running and laughing and dancing with joy are the majority, not the minority.

So, I’m publically owning up to the fact that I’m not going to finish my NaNoWriMo story. Not this month, at least, but probably not ever. I am thinking I’ll keep at it, though, writing when I need that particular tonic. I’ll tell you what, it’s a huge relief to write openly about failing and feel good about it. And it’s a huge relief to feel this childlike joy and enthusiasm again.

Who Lurks in the Swamps?

When I was a kid, I wrote and drew a lot of comics. It was one of my burning passions, and I still kick myself for giving up drawing. (I gave it up because it got too hard. I didn’t want to have to practice, I just wanted to be able to draw the things in my head. Giving things up because they got too hard was pretty common for me, I’m sad to say.) Through multiple moves and the usual purging of possessions, all the comics I did as a kid are lost–except for one, which I’ve somehow managed to hold on to. It’s deteriorating, though, so I scanned it in to preserve it.

And so I present…Swamp-Man #2! It’s crude, it’s goofy, but it’s all mine, and I’m still very proud of it.

(One of the main reasons why I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month is to reconnect with that comic-making mindset I had as a kid. Hence the posting of this now.)

Going Wireless

We’re finally getting a wireless router at our house (Amazon just notifed me that it’s been shipped). I’m really excited, since it will free up my laptop. (I currently use it at the dining room table, with a cable running from the office, through the hall & into the dining room plugged into the laptop.)

My question to my friends out there is: should we set up a password to access the wifi or leave it open? My beliefs push me to leave it open, but I’m wondering if there are consequences to leaving it open that I don’t want to deal with. I realize that anyone who really wanted to could certainly break into a protected network, but I also doubt anyone like that is going to be hanging around our neighborhood. So, open or not?

Yes We Can!

Tonight, I watched as Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States of America. I’m so happy right now, I have tears in my eyes. I’m thinking of the Enlightenment, the American Revolution and the Civil Rights Movement. Progress continues. Hope endures.